Give Blood

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Been There, Done That

In December of 2008, I did something I never really thought I’d actually do.  Inspired by a friend who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and at the encouragement of another who’d organized a group donation on his behalf, I made an appointment to donate blood.  I even went by myself and did this somewhat ‘alone’, though I did run into a few people I recognized and was able to chat with them before hand.  It was an interesting experience, to say the least.  You DO get as many cookies and orange juice as you want.  I was able to find out, after years of uncertainty, that my blood type was O+.  I was hoping for something a little less common, but apparently it’s quite a useful blood type, so it can’t be all bad.  Allow me to elaborate on my blood giving experience, to the best of my year and a 1/2 old memory.

After a bit of form filling, testing, waiting, and more waiting, I finally progressed to the next step, which was talking with a Dr. or nurse to answer some personal questions to further determine my eligibility to give blood.  This was somewhat nerve-wracking, in that I was afraid of the ‘wrong’ answer, and it delayed the inevitable, which was the  needle and blood giving itself.  Thankfully I was deemed worthy, and approved to continue on to the other side of the half-wall, which was the waiting room that contained the cookies and juice.  From this room I was able to see the reclining chairs that were set up with a 1/2 dozen or so people on them hooked up to their drainers.  They were short staffed this night, so things were taking longer than usual.  It felt like a hospital type setting, so I should not have been surprised.  Finally, they called me up for my turn.

The girl beside me was also giving blood for the first time.  They ask you if you’re a first timer, so they know what to do for you, and what to watch out for, and what to warn you about.  You also get a sticker and a pin.  How quaint.  Anyways, the aforementioned girl beside me was not reacting well to the needle, and nearly fainted.  They propped her feet up, and gave her a cool damp cloth to rest on her forehead and checked on her frequently.  Thankfully, I found this more amusing than frightening.

As for me things were, I thought, going ok.  I’m not terrified of needles (though I wouldn’t say I LOVE them either) and find it interesting to watch them sometimes.  I remember the nurse tricking me and sticking me with it when I wasn’t expecting it.  She was excited about my visible veins and was apparently too eager since she poked right through one, which is apparently bad.  The blood wasn’t flowing properly and they had to keep checking on me often as well.  You’re supposed to fill up the bag full, or 3 bags full? I feel like a sheep… but I don’t recall that detail.  All I know is that mine was starting to heal or clot or something since she had struck me incorrectly, and the blood stopped flowing after about 2/3 of the way.  OH, I remember now… I think one bag was enough to help 3 people?  I don’t know now.  Either way… I was a bit disappointed and frustrated.  I know that could only help 2 people, not 3.  I remember it taking longer for me because of the stoppage of blood flow.  I also had some weird numbness and a dull pain in my arm happening.  At some point in the whole scenario, I asked the nurse if what was happening was ‘normal’.  On one occasion she replied yes, on the other she replied no.  One of the last things you want to hear is a nurse telling you that what is happening to you is not normal.

If you don’t believe me, I was left with this humongous bruise as proof of the fiasco.  The bruise lasted for quite some time.  That is not normal.

check it, before you stab it

I have considered putting ‘give blood’ back on my bucket list, and right now ‘Donate Blood Again’ IS on the list, but not sure if I’ll keep it there.   I now have a fear of it somewhat, since I don’t feel like this is something I am comfortable with, and had such a bad experience my first time.  I mean really, if something gave you THAT bruise and experience, would you want to do it again?  😐  I’m also not sure when I will be eligible to give blood again since I now live in a different country (depending on the country and your length of stay, it’s a factor on the questionnaire).  I do think that it’s something I should attempt again, to prove to myself that it’s not all THAT bad.  Besides, it’s such a useful and dutiful thing to do, is it not?  I feel like it’s something I proudly attempted, but failed at, even though it wasn’t my fault.  I mean, really… I failed at giving blood?  Is that even possible?  At least I can say I was brave, and I didn’t faint.

click here for the rest of my Been There, Done That list


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