Giving blood is one of those things I have said I would do, but never actually got round to it. A friend from work was recently asked to do some promotional work for the blood team and she was telling me how once you have received a blood transfusion you are no longer able to donate your own blood. This got me thinking – would I accept blood for myself or my children? Hell yeah, hook us up and save our lives no questions asked. Well in that case isn’t it only fair that I bank a couple of pints now in case we ever need any? Seen as though once you have used the kind donations of others you are unable to repay the favour. So it made the list, and I’m pleased to say that I completed it within two months of starting this.
First thing I needed to do was google “how to give blood?.” www.giveblood.co.uk is a very comprehensive site explains EVERYTHING and I really mean everything. I registered and picked my location, then my time and received email confirmation for my appointment the following day. The nerves were kicking in and despite many of my friends saying they would complete this list with me I had no takers for this appointment (their holding off for the girlie holiday I think). Luckily my mum came to my rescue and booked herself in for her first time too.
The following day I met my mum at the community centre and I walked over to the blood van – except you couldn’t get on. Now in hindsight I realise how utterly daft my idea of giving blood was but I genuinely thought you bored the van, sat in a chair, gave a little blood and jumped back off! Apparently not. Instead I was told to go into the community centre where I was greeted by a sea of faces. I spotted my mum and made a bee line for her. I couldn’t believe what I sore next. It was like a scene from a make shift hospital after a disaster, or at least what I imagine that would look like. There was hospital style beds all in a circle in the middle of the room, a couple of make shift desks at various points, some cubicles to one side and a mini café area at the back. And to think I thought all this could happen on a truck!
After filling in our forms and drinking the mandatory orange squash we sat in the waiting area, well, waiting I guess. At this point I noticed there were some seasoned blood donors, those that knew the drill and had brought a book with them. My mum was called first and then I followed. I was taken to a cubicle by a lovely man called Mat who explained all about the procedure, went over the safety questions with me and tested the iron in my blood. I must admit there was a small part of me that was hoping my blood would be rejected, especially as I was now starring head on at a room full of people with tubes and bags of blood everywhere – surely they didn’t need mine as well.
But no my iron levels were fine and the vampire like staff were eager to take my blood, so now it was time for a little more waiting. Again mum was up first so I watched as they hooked her up and drained her dry (well one pint dry at least). Mum seemed to be coping fine so I felt a bit better when my name was called. I hoped onto the bed whilst a lovely lady explained the procedure to me and tried her best to put my mind at rest. She did everything with precision and speed and before I knew it I was watching the tube turn red. After a few minutes my machine beeped and another lovely lady came over and explained the blood flow was slowing down – see even my blood didn’t want to do this, but she held it in place and in no time at all I was done. By this point mum had joined me and was making sure I was ok – which I was. I was then showed to the café area and given some juice and biscuits, the best bit! I felt a little shaky in my legs but this was probably down to my nerves more than the loss of blood, and I felt really proud that maybe, just maybe, my blood could be used to help someone else. Although nerve wracking and a bit daunting the whole experience was a good one. I will definitely be donating again in 16 weeks (if they will have me) and hopefully next time I will take a few more friends along too.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my mum for helping me complete number 15 on my list.
I also want to say a huge thankyou to the blood donor team that were working at Frodsham on 19th November 2014, evening session. Every single member of staff was professional, informative, friendly and reassuring. Our blood is so valuable and can be used to save lives – please think about donating yours. For more information please go to