Sunday 5 January 2014

Do Something Amazing....Give Blood!


So about three months ago I went to go and try to give blood again. I went about 7 years ago and couldn't give blood because my veins were too small and they wouldn't have been able to get an (almost) full pint of blood out... I tried again at uni a few years later with the same result! Nothing quite like being told you need to wait until your veins are big enough!! I think a lot of it is to do with the fact that I'm always cold. It constricts the veins and a) makes them really small and b) makes me need a hot water bottle all year round... Anyway, this time I popped along to meet my mum after work and she wasn't finished yet, so I decided to have another go....third time lucky right?? I filled in the form, drank a pint of water and then went into one of the cubicles with the nurse to check my iron levels (a small pin prick on the end of your finger) and to go through a couple of the questions that might have been a bit of a red flag to them. I explained that I was on Citalopram, which was fine, that I'd had a tattoo in June, which meant they'd just send my blood for a couple of extra tests, which was fine with me...a free extra health check? Yeah I'm ok with that! I now know that I currently don't have: Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, HTLV, any form of disease from my tattoos, and a couple of other STIs that they checked for too (gonorrhoea etc - although through my dreaded "hey you're 25 let me make your birthday uncomfortable but ultimately life saving for you....let a nurse scrape your insides a bit!" appointment, I already knew I didn't have Chlamydia...or cervical cancer either...phew! Ladies - if you haven't had this test done yet and you're over 25, please please please take the time to have 2 minutes of slight discomfort and know that you don't have cervical cancer rather than leaving it and finding out too late.)

Anyway, a free health check isn't what it's all about really (although it is a huge bonus I think!) it's also about the potential to save lives. I do think that it should be mandatory to give blood because it's such a simple thing to do and yet people don't take the hour out of their day once every 4 months to do it. I know that some people can't give blood, and that sucks if they want too but are told they can't, but I know people who would happily take the blood if they needed it but wouldn't even consider giving blood. My inability to give blood for quite some time was a bummer but i did get 4 other people to donate instead and they all still donate! Anyway, rant over for that bit...I found out that I am O Positive so can help a lot of different blood groups (any that are positive so A+ etc) so that was cool as I've aways wanted to know my blood type!

The actual process of giving blood was very easy and all the staff were absolutely lovely! After you've done the "Do you have enough iron?" test, you go and wait until you are called over the the fancy new chair bed things that they have so they can prep you for giving blood. I absolutely HATE people touch the inner part of my forearm, so imagine how much I cringed when I had to have THREE people come and check each arm for veins. BLEUGH!! After the senior nurse had found a vein that she knew would be good enough to give a pint of blood the giving commenced. Now then, I got a flu jab every year and have my Depo jab once every 12 weeks but by no means do I like needles. I'm not scared of them but the thought of whats happening makes me a little cringy! Haha! however, the thought that I could save someones life spurred me on, and the lovely nurse's kept me distracted and were so upbeat and nice it was difficult to freak out at all. They tip the chair back and you have to squeeze your head to pump your blood round, and you also have to tense and untense your thighs and bum (exercise too?! Aw man....!) to help with the blood flow. The words "You'll feel a small scratch" always makes me laugh. I won't feel a small scratch...I'll feel a small needle poking a hole into me....don't lie to me nurse!! but after a second it's over and you're too busy concentrating on tensing part of your body that you don't even notice that time has gone by and that you're a pint of blood down. The guy in front was clearly a pro and had thought to bring a book. Next time, I'm doing that as there isn't really much to look at in the hall I was in... Anyway, after having the needle removed, you sit for a little while to make sure you don't feel faint and they slowly bring the chair back up to the sitting position. I felt a little woozy but was fine after sitting for another 5 minutes. You then have to go and sit at a table and have a snack (penguin bar! Hadn't had one in years!!) and a drink before you can go. All in all it took about 45 minutes from start to finish but next time will be quicker as I will have a booked slot, which means I don't have to wait around until someone is free (which should take about 10minutes off the time to be honest)

Yay!! Free sticker! I was dead proud to wear this!

You get a little leaflet and a date card for the next session. Mine will be on the 10th of February - 4 days before my birthday!

The hardcore plaster that you have to wear for 4 hours after giving blood. I felt like I'd been in some sort of battle! Haha!

The bruises the next day. now then, I bruise EXTREMELY easily. It's actually a bit ridiculous how easily I bruise. Basically this shows where the needle will have moved a bit as I tensed my hand to pump the blood didn't hurt or anything but clearly left a few bruises!!! I also scar very easily so you can still see the needle mark even now, 3 months on. My Mum gives blood and you can see any scars on her inner elbow and she barely ever has any bruises! I start to feel like I'm adopted sometimes....haha! 

If you want more information on giving blood then have a little look over on their website to see if and when you can give blood near you! I hope I haven't grossed you all out at all and I'll let you know how my next session goes! Please do take the time out of your day to give blood if you can, you may just save someones life :)

Until next time,

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