Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Giving Blood

"I see it's your first time today. What made you decide to give blood?"

A question I was asked twice this afternoon: once during the initial consultation and once as the nurse was preparing to push the needle into my left arm. 

Number 25 on my list was to give blood, and as with signing up to be a donor, it was something I'd never really thought about. 

signed up to be a donor after being taken through to a webpage after buying my car tax, and I signed up to give blood after a leaflet came through in the donor pack. 

So, just before 3pm I left MPAD HQ and walked through Truro to the Carrick Sports and Recreation Centre near Hendra park. 

As I got closer to the building, I started to feel nervous.

The Give Blood van outside the sports centre

The feeling grew as I stepped inside and handed over my appointment letter. 

I was given two leaflets to read, asked if I'd eaten plenty during the day and was given 500ml of water to drink. 

What surprised me as I walked into the building was, apart from the consultation booths, how open the set up was. You could see people in reclining chairs giving blood. 

As I sat down to read the leaflets, which gave a list of reasons why shouldn't give blood, my nerves grew. 

I was soon called in for the initial consultation where the nurse went through my health questionnaire, took a pin prick of blood from my middle finger, and said I was good to donate. 

I was taken to another area where in front of me there was a table with drinks and a bowl of biscuits.
I delved deep and found a Mint Club, a biscuit that I'd not had for a long time. 

As I was unwrapping the Club, I was called by the nurse to go over to make my donation. 

I was sat into a chair, where donor carer, Clare, checked if she could find a good vein. Test passed my left arm was strapped in and the chair was reclined. 

Clare handed me a leaflet advising me to do some simple exercises while the blood was being taken. As well crossing my legs, I was also advised to clench my legs and buttocks.....

It was time to insert the needle. Clare told me to keep opening and clenching my hand, and that the whole process would take less than 10 minutes. 

The needle was a bit uncomfortable to begin with, but once the blood started to flow, it felt fine. 

She filled three sample tubes to start with before attaching me to a bag. 

While I was being drained of a pint I asked Clare how much blood they expected to take during the session and whe it would go. 

Clare said they are set a target to collect 90 pints, and that they took 99 yesterday, and that blood from the morning session would go to Derriford. Blood from the afternoon and evening slots would go to Bristol, after picking up the morning's blood from Plymouth, where it would be tested. 

And that was it - the blood was taken. 

Clare took me over to the tea table, but I was told that as it was my first time I was unable to have tea (in case the heat made me feel lightheaded), so I stick to water and tucked into a packet of cheese and onion crisps and some digestive biscuits.

My sticker

Stickers for the girls

I did feel slightly emotional at this point, and I couldn't tell if this was to the blood loss, or the fact that all the blood donor team were so grateful and said 'thank you' at every opportunity. 

After 15 minutes I rolled my sleeve down and headed back to the office. 

I gave blood selfie

But not before I signed up to do the whole thing again in March.

All patched up

The girls chuffed with their stickers

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