Giving Blood…

Published 18/11/2012 by Lily Crussell

Being an author (unpublished or otherwise) involves a lot of blood, sweat and tears (mostly tears if I’m honest) Anyhoo, I figured as I was so used to ‘bleeding’ for my art, I might as well go get a needle shoved in my arm and give a little more.

Previously I haven’t been able to donate due to my weight, but since putting on a bit I can give (admittedly, I was thrilled being under weight as it meant I didn’t have to donate, but didn’t have to feel guilty) Anyway, I signed up a while ago and finally had the appointment on Friday. I went with an ex when he gave blood and it really wasn’t a big deal. Blood doesn’t bother me at all – possible due to all the horror movies I watch – but I really, really don’t like needles. We’re talking feel ill the night before I have to have a jab. ANYWAY! The meds were obv working as I felt perfectly calm when I got there; a church hall with beds, cubicles, a waiting area and a ‘recovery area’ for drinks and biscuits. I was told I had to read a long document (I didn’t take my glasses so pretended to – I’ve read it all online before) drink a pint of water (I’d been downing water all day as it’s supposed to help) and took a seat to wait.

I was eventually called into a cubicle by a male nurse called Oliver. Immediately the first question off the bat was; ‘How much do you weigh?’ I was going to crack some terrible joke about the fact that a man should never ask a girl that, but was too nervous. He was OBSESSED with my weight asking when I’d weighed myself, how much my clothes might weigh etc etc. He was finally convinced and stabbed me with a weird plastic thingy. I flinched and squeaked as it made a noise a bit like a stapler, and I could see he was thinking ‘If she can’t cope with this part, how is she going to cope with giving blood?’ He said my iron levels were perfect (I’m a Vegan, I have super powers) and explained that I might feel bad afterwards because they take the same amount of blood regardless of the person’s size. If a guy is 30 stone, they’ll take the same amount as from tiny, little me. I didn’t care, by this point I was getting nervous and nodding to everything even though he could have been telling me I was getting a frontal lobotomy too. I was taken back out to the waiting room to wait for the actual procedure.

Everyone giving blood was perfectly calm, reading books whilst lying on the bed things, needle in arm, blood bag on weird cradle thing that rocked slowly. No one looked remotely freaked out, or that this was weird. Am I the only person who doesn’t regularly have things stuck in their arms? Anyway, it was finally my turn and this scary nurse took me to a bed and made me lie down. She threw the clipboard with my details on onto my legs, along with everything else she’d need. She cleaned my arm behind the elbow joint with this sponge thing, and I felt a prick. I thought the needle was in so sighed in relief, but it was only the plastic edge of the sponge 😦 She wasn’t the most reassuring person in the world as I was hoping she’d chat away to distract me. She didn’t, she just looked at me like I was wasting her time 😦 She put a blood pressure cuff on (which I hate, it’s almost worse than getting jabs!) and sorted the blood bag out and all the tubes. My arm was on a rest at the side of the bed and suddenly the needle appeared from one of the tubes. My heart was going a bit mental. She told me to clench and relax my hand over and over, which I did, the whole time my eyes’ on the needle. And then it was in. I squeaked again, more out of surprise than pain as it was absolutely fine. Once it was taped to my arm, I felt ok as I couldn’t see the point of it anymore. Obviously I could still see the needle as it was sticking out of my frigging arm! But the point was hidden so I felt ok. All was good, just lay there clenching and relaxing my hand, staring at the ceiling and trying to pretend I was somewhere else. It wasn’t painful, just weird, you couldn’t feel the blood coming out or anything ( had assumed it was sucked out lol) but you can feel the needle which isn’t hurting, just….a bit achy, it was nothing really, I’d felt far worse trimming my nails.

Once the bad was full, another nurse came over and that’s when the problems started. She was talking to me, but it sounded like she was a long way off in the distance, and I felt really hot and weird. I told her and everyone rushed around to get me things. I felt like a complete idiot as everyone else was calmly giving blood and then leaving, but here I was playing the dying swan! My feet were put on a wedge thing, the bed head lowered a little. The nurse put cold paper towels on my head and chatted away reassuringly. The head nurse came over and explained that it was due to the crash of adrenaline. My body had ben prepared for the procedure, but once it was over and the threat was gone, the adrenaline was spent and I felt like this. I asked the nurse if they ever had anyone actually faint, and she said it happened quite a lot – and was mostly men!

They got me a cold drink and talked to me until I felt ok (though extremely embarrassed for all the fuss I was making) I hadn’t even noticed the needle being taken out as I’d felt so weird. They put a plaster over the hole in my arm and told me to leave it on for 6 hours. When I felt normal again, they helped me over to the recovery area and plied me with more drinks (I couldn’t eat anything as it all had milk in!) Then it was all over and I was heading home.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to give blood. 4% of the human population donate and I personally think that that is appalling. 96% of people will take the blood if needed, but won’t give themselves! If you do anything today, please, please consider donating and joining the organ donation register (obv if it’s against your religion, that’s a completely different thing and understandable) as you WILL BE SAVING LIVES!

Two days on I have a tiny, pathetic dot of a mark where the needle went, and a bit of bruising, but feel absolutely fine. Nothing makes me prouder than looking at that mark and thinking I have done something to help. I was scared but did it anyway. x

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