Blood donating is, most people agree, A Good Thing. It can save lives. It is desperately needed, and we never know when it could be needed by us. And, according to the Blood Donation website, only 4% of people do it.
So, why do we not all rush down to the local blood bank? I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me?
It would have something to do with feeling queasy at the sight of a diagram of a needle.
Yup, not even a real needle.
When I was newly pregnant, the midwife wanted to take the standard blood samples; about six of them. I warned her I was Not Good with needles but I don’t think she truly believed me. She got to about needle number 4 and the conversation went along the lines of:
“I don’t feel well. You need to stop now.”
“It’s OK, I’m almost done.”
“No, you need to stop NOW.”
“Get It Out My Arm.”
This was the point that she discovered trying to get a needle out of a patient’s arm when the said patient is a dead weight against her and about to collapse off the couch and onto the floor is Not Easy.
I ended up with all the midwives in the department surrounding me. And by the time I recovered, my husband decided to join in the fun and pass out on the floor as well.
So, when I was muttering about being behind on completing 40 new things this year, and someone suggested I ‘pick off something easy to do this week, like give blood’ my first response was not, “Oh, yay!”
But then I thought about it, and realised that, yes, I could do it, and it would be a Good Thing. But it would not be Easy.
I wanted to do it, but how to make it happen?
First: Find a local donor drive that I could get to. An easy first step, and it fixed the date and time. I then also booked an appointment for something else, very close by, to make sure I would be in the right area at the right time.
Second: Tell everyone. Making the committment, and making myself accountable. I knew people would ask how I’d got on, and it would be worse to say I’d chickened out than to actually do it.
Third: Dress up. Yes, I was nervous on the day. Very nervous. So I made myself feel as good as I could, by what I wore.
Fourth: Admit I was scared but going to do it anyway. And took my toy tiger with me!
I admitted I was terrrified when I went in, but everyone was so matter of fact, and just helped me get on with it. There was a load of people waiting and they had a pretty slick operation going on – sit on the seats this side before doing the admin and having the pinprick test (Pinprick test? Pinprick test?! Not so much of the ‘pinprick’ and more of the ‘grab my finger and try and milk the darn thing’ test!)
Then onto those seats before being called and laid on one of the bank of beds along the side of the sports hall.
I clutched my toy tiger and squeezed him rather than a boring roll of bandages, donated my pint of blood, and *then* felt woozy. Very woozy indeed.
Really, the main problem I had was in getting back out the door. I would feel faint, gradually feel better and then a nurse would ask how I was feeling. As soon as I started to think about it, I felt woozy again and they made me lie down.
The only way I made it out the door was to tell them to stop talking to me and I would be fine.
Oh, and of course, it wasn’t a good time to remember I have given up all sugary products for Lent. Gah! A handful of pecans is all very nice, but look at that yellow-wrappered penguin waving at me from the bottom of the tub…
So, will I do it again? I honestly don’t know. But I know that there is now a pint of blood available to help save a life that wasn’t there this time last week.
And if everyone donates a pint, even as a one off and never goes again, that would make an enormous difference. Go on, give it a go. If I can do it, you can too.