Earlier on today my good friend Karen and I decided on impulse to go and give blood after uni!
So I thought I’d share our experience with you for those who would like to know more or are interested in giving blood in the future!
I got an e-mail in my uni inbox a couple of weeks ago notifying me that there was to be a blood drive in on campus in a few weeks time. I think if you can giving blood is such a great thing to do, but I have to admit like many of my friends, I’m not a massive fan of needles! And yes admittedly, there are probably very few out there who actually enjoy the feel of a needle in their arm but you know what I mean? I think… Anywayyy – basically I wanted to do it but wasn’t thrilled at the idea of being stabbed in the arm. you get the jist.
Roll on two weeks later, I honestly thought the blood drive wasn’t ’til a few weeks yet but I got off the bus on campus this morning and lo and behold there were two ‘Give Blood Today’ buses parked up. During our class I toyed with the idea of it and eventually told my friend Karen about it and she was all for it a raring to go.
We did a couple of online tests beforehand and determined that we’d probably be eligible so I decided just to suck it up and do it. We grabbed a Subway first and then headed over to the sports building where the event itself was taking place. When we got there there was a massive queue, which is great in one sense, but I was already incredibly nervous my heart was going crazy and my eyes were nervously darting around the building planning my escape route yet here I was being presented with the perfect getaway.
‘Ohh, such a big queue, won’t be able to do it now.’ I found the devil on my shoulder saying to Karen. But she was insistant that she wanted to stay, so I did what any friend would and waited too. And wait we did. About an hour and a half later we were called in to give our details and I got a special badge for having been to give blood before.
I have to admit, I honestly did try to give blood back in 2010 but I had a piercing that hadn’t yet healed so they just took a few samples and noted my blood type (I’m O+ which is the most common and can can be given to most other blood types too) for their records. So although I felt at the time I didn’t really deserve my prize Karen said I was being silly and that as I had went with every intention of giving it I definitely deserved it, so I don’t feel so bad now! Now that I had my prize there really was no turning back and I knew I’d stick in it for the long haul.
Once we’d given our details and filled in the forms (which basically just check if you’re eligible to give blood) we sat and waited for a further fourty five minutes and read the little brochures you’re given and put good use to the free juice being given out. We discovered whilst reading that only FIVE percent of those eligible to give blood in Scotland actually do, which completely took us by surprise. If you can give blood I strongly urge you to, I’m pretty sure it equates to a good amount in the karma bank and it’s just a great thing to do for someone and can help save lives!
So the final stage before you give blood is going over the questions answered on the form with a member of staff which is pretty straightforward to be honest. Then a teeny sample of blood is taken from your finger using some evil finger pricking device, which stings for about a second then you’re good to go. Now, in the UK to be able to give blood your iron readings need to read at least 125 and my first reading was 121 and my heart literally dropped. I had not waited all this time to be turned away, but luckily the nurse took it again and this time I was hitting 129 so was in the clear (Karen got 141… I’m still jealous.)!
The final stages involve the blood giving itself. I was called to the bed and talked through the procedure by a lovely nurse who totally put me at ease and as I was under 20 they had to quickly estimate my blood volume, which again was a near miss as I’m about 5″3 and a bit and wasn’t entirely sure of my weight so estimated myself to be just under 9 stone which is the cut off for my height! When I got home I double checked and it turns out I’m just under 8 and a half but I’m still standing so it’s all good.
The process of having your blood taken is actually pretty painless aside from the initial pain of the needle going in, which I can never watch eurgh, you don’t really feel anything. There was one point when my blood stopped coming out but all they had to do was move the needle a little and give me something to squeeze to aid pumping, which can be quite common. It literally only takes five minutes so it ran pretty smoothly.
Afterwards the nurses thanked us for coming and Karen and I gorged on the free juice and biscuits before heading home. All in all the whole process took around three hours but last time I went it took an hour. I think it just varies on location and how many staff are available but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s the link if you want to find out about giving blood in an area near you.
What about you guys? Have you given blood before? Do you think you might now after reading this? Let me know!