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On Wednesday the 5th of June, I donated my blood. After completing my registration, the previous week at the Give Blood NHS stall at the black hair and beauty show, the day had finally come.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, It has been in my heart to donate blood for some time now as I was frequently hearing stories of people who suffer from sickle cell and needed regular blood transfusion. I feel as though if I can do something that costs nothing but my time to help someone else have a better chance at life, then why not.
The day before going to the donation Centre I watched a video of the process online. This was a terrible idea, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like looking at blood and needles. It did somewhat put me off, but I still followed through and attended my appointment. (If you’re already anxious about it, it is better to go with a clear mind. Read and listen to stories but I wouldn’t recommend watching. That’s just my opinion.)
My appointment was at 2.20pm the West End Blood Donar Centre in Oxford Circus. I arrived early and was asked to fill out a form about my health, which took at three minutes. The center was reasonably busy with a few donors in the waiting area. It was a pleasant atmosphere, and the staff were friendly and attentive. There were also baskets of snacks (to keep our sugar levels up) full of crisps, chocolates, biscuits, you name it and a few Plasma TV’s to keep us occupied while we waited. The atmosphere didn’t feel as nerve-racking as I thought it would be.
I was also told to eat a meal while I waited as I hadn’t eaten lunch. About thirty minutes or so later, I was so relaxed and forgot where I was for a while. That was until they called my name…
I was seated in a private patient’s room where my finger was pricked and my blood was tested for my iron levels. My iron levels were okay, so from there, I was then taken to an open space area with about ten chairs where I would be donating blood.
At this point, everything started getting so real. I was asked to lay down in the chair, and the veins in my left arm were checked. I was very honest and explained to the nurse that I was nervous, and she did her absolute best to make me comfortable.
She found a vein in my right arm and explained that now was the time to look away if I didn’t want to see any needles. She cleaned the area where the needle would be going in, at this point I was looking the other way and watching a vlog on YouTube not knowing at what point the needle would go in.
About forty seconds later, I felt a slight sharp, uncomfortable prick, but it literally lasted about five seconds. I was expecting more pain, but honestly, it was a very bearable experience. (especially considering the fact that I don’t like seeing blood or needles.)
It took about 15 minutes or so for my blood donation to be complete, and for someone who is scared of needles and hates the sight of blood, I actually didn’t mind looking at my arm. I was told to do hand and leg exercises just to keep the circulation of my blood at a steady rate. The time went by really fast as I spent it just chatting with the people around me.
When the donation was complete, I was seated in an area where a few other donors and I were given drinks and monitored just to ensure we were okay, and the bleeding has totally stopped.
My arm didn’t bleed much after the needle had been removed. I spent about a good twenty minutes in that waiting area and again consumed the snacks that were available.
I remember leaving at about 4 pm . I mention this for anyone who may be considering becoming a donor as before or after you appointment you still have plenty of time to go about your daily errands. I was advised not to do any heavy lifting, vigorous exercise or drink any alcohol for the remainder of the day. Also before your appointment, you’re encouraged to steer clear of any strenuous exercise amongst other things. Which can be found here : https://www.blood.co.uk/the-donation-process/preparing-to-give-blood/
My Blood Type Explained
A week later, I was contacted via text, a phone call and received a letter in the post thanking me for my donation. I was also informed more about my blood type. From my previous blog post, you will know that my Blood type is A+. However, I was also informed that my blood is within a unique 2% of NHS donors due to my subtype.
The letter I was sent stated in summary that my blood type is normal and I just have a very specific combination of blood group gene’s which can help black patients specifically. I was later sent a further text that my blood had been issued to Central Middlesex hospital.
I would definitely be donating blood again sometime in the future and would encourage others, especially people of afro-Caribbean backgrounds to donate also. The experience was extremely pleasant, and I feel very blessed knowing that I can help others in this way.
To register to give blood and find out more: https://my.blood.co.uk/Account/SignIn
By blessing others, you will always be blessed.
Till Next week,
Love of love