england · Giving Blood · Travel Blogger · united kingdom

Donating Blood- Why You Should

Luckily for me needles haven’t been a fear, more just a discomfort and especially with the lovely, wide and fat ones. But in reality, a fear of needles is nothing in comparison to being able to save someones life. To be brief, when you give blood that’s exactly what you’re doing. If you’ve got a phobia of needles then it’s a massive shame, but otherwise if the thought just makes you a bit nervous then why not? It wont kill you.

This little story isn’t to put people off but more to encourage you.

Whenever I go I have to bring someone as I like to hold their hand ok. I think my friends go to watch a needle get jabbed in me, its not for the support. Everytime I go i’m sure the nurses think oh god not her again because I have what they call “puny veins”. This just means my veins are smaller than the average person and a bit harder to find. The last time I went to give blood I almost wasn’t allowed to due to low iron levels. Your blood is meant to sink so you can give blood but my first blood droplet floated to the top like it was wearing a buoyancy aid. By this point i’m thinking one can of Guinness last night wasn’t enough to raise my iron levels (it was for a good cause). But somehow the second one decided to ever so damn slowly sink to the bottom, phew. I sat in my chair waiting for the lovely nurses who are always so chatty and eager to make fun of you for holding someones hand.

This time I had a trainee who was very nervous, and my little veins did not help. But non-the-less she found the most decent vein she could, pushed he needle in annndddd waited. Then waited a bit more expecting blood to flow through the tube and into the bag. Nothing. So I got told “this might sting”. She got the needle, pushed it in and out, twisted it and all whilst i’m grabbing on to my Grandma’s hand with which I wouldn’t have been surprised if her bones crumpled under my death grip. Unfortunately what had happened (WHICH DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN DON’T LET THIS SCARE YOU ITS JUST ME BEING A NUISANCE) was that when she pushed the needle in, my vein had lovingly decided to move away from the needle, like it was in denial of having blood taken away from it. After she’d wiggled it around this had ruptured bruising and so I couldn’t have blood taken from that arm.

And I felt so sorry for this nurse as she was so nervous and apologetic and I really didn’t mind as I understand people need to practice and these things happen. But she decided to get another nurse over who got my other arm, got the needle in and out came the blood woo!

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But despite this I have to clarify this RARELY happens. Normally you’re in and out within 30-50 minutes its so simple and leaves you with such a good feel factor. The best part is after a few days you receive text message telling you where your blood has gone and I remember mine went to a children’s hospital once and that’s when it makes it that much more personal and so worth those minutes out of your day. To the left is another message I received.

It’s so simple and easy and these are the steps of what happens when you go:

  1. When you’ve booked your appointment you arrive, fill out a form and then wait to be called for the iron test.
  2. Once you’re called you sit in a little blue cubicle with a nurse. She just asks you a few mandatory questions then wipes your index finger and uses a mini needle thing (great explanation apologies) which is just a little prick and doesn’t hurt. Then lets your blood drop into the solution and it either sinks or rises to the top.
  3. If your blood rises unfortunately your iron levels aren’t high enough and you wont be able to give blood. But if it sinks this means you get to go to the big seats to give blood.
  4. Then you sit down in the big chair and they’ll ask you a few more questions to check you are you and all that jazz. Then the pressure machine is placed on an arm to make your veins swell to find the best one.
  5. When a decent one is found the swabbing of disinfectant begins.
  6. The needle is brought out and then inserted into your vein. You wait between 5-14 minutes to get a pint of blood and then the needles removed. As simple as that.
  7. You wait on the chair for a few minutes so you don’t stand up and faint then go to the best part.
  8. You are then allowed to the table full of everything bad but you’re aloud for this one special occasion. Chocolate, biscuits, crisps just everything you normally debate to eat (well I don’t but I assume people with self restraint do) is available with either squash, cup of tea or coffee. All for free to get your sugar levels up and as a thanks for donating. You can even get a sticker for you good deed of the day, I always do of course.

My mums given blood over 20 times and I remember going with her as a child so I could go sit round the table eating all the “bad for you” freebies which weren’t for me (and I question why I was a chubby child). My Grandma has given blood 50 times and I’ve only done it 4 since turning 17 (17 is the legal age to give blood from) so i’m a bit far off from catching up and after travelling to Central America can’t give blood for 6 months unfortunately. But I will one day.

You can easily find the rules and regulations on the website for giving blood:
https://www.blood.co.uk

I hope this encourages anyone to give blood. It is safe, it helps save a life and is so simple and easy so please if you’re not registered then please do. Think if that was your life or someone in your family who needed blood donation to survive.

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