Yes, today I did something amazing…. I gave blood. You know their slogan that says that? Well, it is kinda true, even if it isn’t directly. It is the only thing that gets me going down there and giving up my time anyway. I make sure I do donate the red stuff regularly for a few reasons: I am fit and healthy, I feel OK after doing it and also I am a rare blood type (O- , which not many people possess but it can go into anyone). The thing is though, even the people who have ‘common’ blood (sounds like a mud-blood typed character from Harry Potter doesn’t it?!) then they are just as needed because there are people out there who need different types. It is something I feel quite strongly about and I do think that people who are medically and physically well should give. It should perhaps be a legal requirement to give. Because it takes an hour of your time just three times a year and yes sometimes I feel a little sore after an a little light-headed but that is all. In strong contrast it can save someone’s life just by giving something that can easily be replaced in 24 hours.
The statistics that go with giving blood are shocking. I had a leaflet delivered about a year ago (so apologies that the numbers may not be completely up to date) and it said that 5% of people who are able to give, do. 5%! I hope that that figure has changed actually and increased a lot. My blood type O- is only possessed by 7% of the nation. So I feel I need to do my bit for this small percentage!! Imagine out of the 5% who give with O-? 35% of the nation have A+ blood, this includes my boyfriend. I teased him saying ‘trust you to always get an A+!’ A- is also only 7% but the whole A group can go into half of the people out there so also just as vital. I won’t go into all the blood groups but I just wanted to give a taster of how important it is because no matter what blood group you are, someone needs it! So if this blog, encourages just a few people to give then I will feel I have helped a bit more.
This brings me onto another problem though, which brings me onto a bit of a catch 22 situation. They want people to give, need people to give and encourage people to give, yet there isn’t always the facilities to give. Today, I actually went to my old school (where I did my A levels and worked for 3 years too). I have donated at many different places in our small town, mainly because places stop doing it after a while and find another building. Really, we need all the buildings putting on regular sessions and the nurses to staff it in order to cater for these extra donors that they want. They encourage you to make appointments so that you don’t have to wait but then people who do not have an allocated time, get turned away. So really the appointment system is just a first come first served basis. New donors are then never going to get to donate. More places need to exist, certainly in our town anyway. I don’t know if anyone has experienced that in their towns? So, I could be encouraging you to donate your blood and you could then get turned away.
Today, there was six beds and 47 people had appointments in the first hour. Each donations takes roughly 20 minutes. Does that add up? My maths isn’t great but people would be waiting a long time I imagine. The sad thing is some would give up and go home after the long wait and those appointment free people, who got turned away, could have given. Hopefully, this will improve eventually.
The process of giving blood has changed a lot in the ten years that I have been giving. It’s funny how they change how they do certain things but that is the world of medicine improving and developing all the time I guess. It’s little things like them wiping you with an antiseptic wipe before hand. It used to be a quick wipe and now they have to wipe you vigorously for 2 minutes. you have to hold your fingers firmly on your wound afterwards for 3 minutes after to ensure it is not still bleeding. Everything is about time. The main change this time was the chairs/beds. They discovered that it is better to sit upright to give, yet they then found some people were getting dizzy so they recline people back in them anyway. Good to have the option though. You also used to have to lie there for 10 minutes after before you sat up but now you pretty much do straight away. Oh another change is that you have to drink a pint of water before you give now. To make sure you are hydrated. With this and the teas and biscuits (which happily have never changed!!) at the end, I am always dying for a wee! So I normally donate two lots of liquid in the building haha.
The hydration thing is a great thing. My friend once fainted when we went to give. This was a few years ago and me, my boyfriend and our friend went to donate blood after a night out the night before. Our friend was dehydrated from lots of drinking and hadn’t had a drink that morning. He gave blood and we were sitting having the tea and biscuits after and mid-sentence he fell to the floor. I thought he was messing about because it seemed to comical. He had fainted though. He was fine in the end but that is what can happen when you aren’t hydrated.
My main problem when I give, is my small or very hidden veins! They always struggle to find a juicy one, which means they have to probe and poke at me… sometimes both arms…. in order to find a suitable vein. This makes it very uncomfortable and my arm has been sore all day actually and I bet I will get a nice bruise. But it is a badge of what I have done and I won’t let it put me off. And you do get a real badge too if you do enough donations. I received my bronze award badge last summer, which quite frankly could be a silver or gold by now because there have been periods where I haven’t given. I didn’t give during my Uni years because quite frankly my blood was pure alcohol haha! No, seriously, I couldn’t give for 18 months after going to Dubai because there was a reason that ou couldn’t give back then if you had visited Asia. (I don’t think that’s so anymore.) Also, I had a tattoo so couldn’t give for a year and sometimes I have missed donations. So I feel guilty for missing the odd one, do you feel guilty for not giving at all??
I actually drafted a couple of poems a while ago when I received that leaflet. I wanted them to be persuasive poems and I was going to send them to the newsletters. A flaw in the plan though; only donors receive the newsletter! It is the non-donors that we need to get through to, so any ideas where I could re-post this blog or send my poems would be great. I haven’t actually finished the poems either but see what you think of what I have written so far:
Giving Blood – (orginal title I know! needs work)
We cringe when we see it,
in its deep red form,
but we need it to be fit,
from the second we are born.
You can be positive or negative,
you can do the right thing,
(That’s it so far of that one.)
I like to Give
Yes, I work full-time
do the housework too
but I never commit the crime
of not saving a life or two.
I remember birthdays
sometimes presents as well
I never forget those other days
when I give another gift … (needs work to rhyme)
It doesn’t matter what the type
A, AB, O or B
you need to listen to the hype
your blood is precious, you see?
Only 5% are generous
out of those who are able
so do think about it
and get up from the table.
Any feedback would be good. Today is a long blog, but it is a subject close to my heart (just like my blood is!) so if I have persuaded just one of you out there to find somewhere to donate then this blog has done some good. Go on, do something amazing!
Now, I will bloody well shut-up 😉