At the blood donor centre in Manchester, I had many people (both nurses and the donors themselves) asking me why I chose to give blood for the first time.
One reason sticks out for me loud and clear. A very personal reason. But in general, why would I not? As a healthy, young female with the goods to give, I think it would be foolish not to.
I had first signed up about 9 months back. The idea seemed so evident to do so at the time, yet it was only now that I had decided to go through with the plan.
The answer is why I am writing up this piece.
No one likes needles. No one like the doctors. No one wants to be in a clinic unless they really have to. The hygienic smell, the peach coloured walls, that nervous twitch you get in your stomach when you see all those ‘scary’ machines beeping away…
It is only scary because it is the unknown.
I wanted to know EVERYTHING. Not only because I was fascinated by the whole process, but because I could go through with it a little easier being that bit wiser of the situation. I could probably do it myself now with all the leaflets and online information I got stored up there in the old *noggin (not that I would..!)
At the centre, everyone was so helpful. The nurses were always nearby and the other donors included me into ‘their circle’. Not to mention you get lots of snacks! (A time to not feel guilty about eating chocolate). A lovely experience overall.
It takes an hour of your time. That is with all your pre-tests and documentation work included. The taking your blood part is not even 15 minutes long! The amount of blood they take from you can help up to three people and a vast amount of it is used for blood loss and cancer patients.
Not going to lie, the needle part is not a barrel of laughs but I can honestly say I didn’t really feel a thing after the initial sting!
All in all, it was worth every second. In fact I was just getting used to it all and my session had ended! I had to ask the nurse “Is that it?”
I had also learnt that 8,000 donations are required each day just to meet hospital demands for accidents and serious diseases such as cancer. Plus many more ailments.
When I left the building, I had gained so much information about donation in general. Things like… They can use the serum from your bloods to give to patients with dry eye disease, which is MUCH better than the required medication. Also after a certain amount of blood donations you are asked if you would like to be a platelet donor. Only a small percentage of people can and do this type of donation. Platelets are only fresh for 7 days, compared to the red blood cells which have a life span of 35 days.
– And apparently dogs can now donate too?! Who’d have thought, ey!
The one thing I can only wish for is that ALL capable candidates are granted the power to donate, regardless of their sexuality.
To conclude, I will be returning to give blood again. The nurses were thanking me left, right and centre, yet I am not a ‘hero’. The whole experience was very overwhelming (I know, I am a big sap!) but it does make you really think.
Knowing that I can save another’s life for one hour of my time is incredible.
Interested in Blood Donation? (UK) Check out – http://www.blood.co.uk
Want your say? Feel free to comment!
*noggin. – A slang term for head.