One of my goals for the holidays was to finally donate blood successfully. It’s been a year since I was last able to donate properly, even though I visited the Blood Bank a few times last year.
One time I had been sick, so went as a support person instead of donating.
Then they had issues with my veins and only got half a donation out of me (which is the minimum they can take, anything less than that and your blood gets discarded. I’ve realised just how strict the rules are with receiving blood, which I guess is sensible, given the importance of the process).
Then another time they couldn’t get anything out of me. AT. ALL. I was gutted. But the lovely nurse gave me instructions on what vein to tell them to try next time I was in.
So last week I jumped on the train and headed to the Blood Bank. It’s fun being in the city on a weekday when you don’t work there anymore. I wasn’t bothered by the people who didn’t understand the stand-to-the-left business on the escalators or the rude people who queue jumped to get through the turnstiles. I got to people-watch and visit my old haunts (hello, QVB card shop and Town Hall newsagent) and be grateful of my glorious ability to drive to work every day.
The Blood Bank at Town Hall is so easy to get to, much more convenient than the old Clarence St location. Can you believe I didn’t donate blood for 12 years because I thought the locations were inconvenient? Cripes I’m selfish. A “generic” blood donation of “whole blood” is used up to 7 ways to save lives. And there I was, complaining of the “zomg it’s so hard” to get to the Blood Bank.
It’s not until I get into the interview room that I remember that I’m scared of needles. But the nursing staff always pick up on it (must be the way I refuse to even look at the needle pricker, violently looking as far away as possible). I pass the iron and blood-pressure test and then make my way to the chair. I point out which vein they should try this time and ask for a heat pack to help bring up the vein.
Then, I sit, wait, watch TV, read a book, ANYTHING to not look at my right arm while they try to find my vein.
Okay, so it *does* hurt, but it’s really not that bad. I tell myself “suck it up, Princess”, I think of Ivy and stop being a whiney bitch about it all.
And then? They get the vein — a good vein — and I manage a full donation in nine minutes. A personal best!
I reward myself with chocolate milkshake and raisin toast (okay, so I have that *every* time I’m there, regardless) and I’m booked in for a plasma donation next month. It takes longer, but is far more useful for the Blood Bank and you can donate more frequently.
So stoked, I’ve been wanting to donate plasma for yonks.
You guys should totally donate blood too — if you’re able to — it really does save lives.