Thursday, October 1, 2009

Donating blood

I donated blood today, and I highly recommend that anyone who eligible to donate also do so. But before I continue, I want to share a little two minute video.

Doesn't she make you want to go out and donate blood right now? By the way, to quote the Red Cross web site:

"Blood is needed for emergencies and for people who have cancer, blood disorders, sickle cell, anemia and other illnesses. Some people need regular blood transfusions to live."

As you see, blood donations are very important, and there is constant need. And yet, only 5% of everyone eligible to donate regularly does so. Think of the difference that would be made if every eligible person decided to donate. That would be amazing.

The first time I donated was last spring. I'd thought of donating before, but always said "I'll do that another time" because it seemed scary. In case anyone else is delaying for the same reason, I'd like to share what my experience has been, so that it hopefully won't seem as scary.

The first couple things they have you do was sign in, and read a little booklet type thingy with all kinds of info in it. They want you to be certain that you know what you're doing.

The next little bit is confidential. They take a look at your ID and your Red Cross blood donation card if you have one (if you don't they can mail one to you after you donate) and prick your finger to make sure that your blood is good -- they do further testing on the blood after they've gotten it to the labs, but they do this little one first. They also take your blood pressure. Next they ask perhaps fifty questions, such as if you've gotten a tattoo recently (henna tattoos don't count), to further make sure that your blood is good. If you give the answers they're looking for, you can donate.

Along the way they also ask frequently "Do you have any questions?" So if you're not sure about anything or want to know something, there is plenty of opportunity to speak up.

They have you sit in a chair so that you're almost partially reclining. They find where your vein is on the inside of your elbow and mark it with a marker so that they can find it easily. Next they clean the area, and then you're ready for you blood to be taken.

Before the first time I donated I was told by several people that you only feel a little prick, and that it's not really uncomfortable. Maybe that's how it was for them, but I find it uncomfortable. It's not too bad, though. I don't look forward to it, but I don't dread it too much either. And it's definitely worth it to help people like little Danielle in the video I shared. By the way, how long the actual blood donation took was being timed today, and I tied in first place at five minutes and twenty-five seconds. I didn't get too excited about it, but others seemed to regard it as sort of a race to see whose bag would fill up first. lol

After, they bandage up your arm, and you're supposed to keep the bandage on for five hours. (Mine is still on.) You then spend a minimum of five minutes eating snacks they provide, as well as drinking some kind of juice or water. They kind of use the time to make sure that you're fine, since sometimes people do have trouble after donating blood.

It's a good idea to drink plenty of liquids before you donate (I forgot, actually...) and you need to drink plenty of water after you donate. You're also supposed to take things easy for the rest of the day, which means that I'm skipping my Aikido class this evening. I don't think martial arts qualify as "taking it easy." lol

If you want to know more you can ask and I'll try to answer, or you can check out the Red Cross's page about donating blood. On that page they also make it very easy for you to find a place you can donate.

EDIT: I just have to share, even though I've already hit the "post" button, Top 10 reasons to give blood.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Good for you! That's a great thing to do.

Sarita said...

Yes it is, which is why this post turned out so long. :)

Oh, and it's so funny...

I first donated blood at PCC, and I guess Red Cross knows that, because I got a call from them during dinner, saying "We're doing another blood drive at PCC next week, and wondered if you'd like to participate." I was like "Well, I donated blood today, and I'm no longer going to PCC, so thanks but no." It's funny because it's the first time they've called me, and it's right on the same day I donated for the second time.

Anonymous said...

your writing is really nice..keep it up!