Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Project Kindness 2014: Give Blood

Last week I wrote about finally getting my Organ Donor card and staying with a similar theme, this week I'm sharing with you the day I gave blood for the first time!

I was incredibly nervous about giving blood. I researched it all a lot and asked people who had already done it. I don't think people are all that truthful about the whole process, in fact they take great pleasure in over dramatising the needle which is inserted on the inside of your arm! Not very kind when you have a fear of the things! Here i'll tell you honestly about the day I gave blood for the first time. I hope it helps someone decide they would like to give blood too. Or perhaps you're waiting to do it and just as nervous as I was!

I was late to my appointment, on Valentines Day, because I couldn't find the center it was held at. Luckily though the nurses were okay with this and gave me a slot anyway. They really don't often turn anyone away because the need for blood donations is so high. They really are grateful for each person who comes through their door.

I handed over the form I was sent in the post, a simple questionnaire to make sure I wasn't unwell, had any diseases or at risk of any diseases. As I sat and waited for roughy 20 minutes I read 2 leaflets presented to me. The first was about the procedure and what my blood would be used for. The second leaflet was for me to take home and browse whenever I wanted to. The nurse explained both leaflets to me.

Then it was my turn! Eek! I went into a made up cubical where the nurse asked after my general health, went through my questionnaire, asked if I had any questions and presented me with a large cup of water. It's really important you eat and drink well before donating blood to ensure you feel the best you can both during and after donation. The next stage was to take a blood sample. A very simple finger prick, a little squeeze and then the blood is dropped into a sample pot. Your blood sample should fall within 15 seconds to ensure you have a good iron count. (Mine dropped 'like a rock' *gold star*)

I proceeded to another cubical where I nibbled on some biscuits and finished my large water. In under 10 minutes it was time to give away just under a pint of my blood. I was seated in a rather large but comfy chair, fully adjustable to my height which helped! Firstly, the nurse placed a blood pressure cuff on my upper right arm to check how easy it was to get a vein for the blood donation. This involves some hand clenching to exercise the muscles. I was handed a sheet with various exercises to perform during the donation process such as crossing my legs and uncrossing them (just one example) again, this helps you to not feel woozy during the process.

Now the part I was most nervous of. Everything was set up, bag labelled, arm sterilised and needle ready to go. Now the needle. I'd say this needle is as thick as two regular needles put together. Not that thick then really. It has a shaped, open end allowing blood to run through the needle and down the tubes into the bag collecting your donation. It's about as long as my little finger. No, not 'massive' and only the very tip is inserted into your arm, not fun but not painful. Perhaps unpleasant.

I was then left to daydream, exercise my legs (which felt pretty heavy so I liked to keep them moving) and open and close my right hand to ensure my blood flow kept steady and didn't slow down. The nurses are there to offer help at all times, they were all friendly and especially reassuring to those of us who had never given blood before.

I spent 10 or 15 minutes giving my blood donation. When I finished I had 2 cups of juice (I think this is normal for first timers because regular givers had one drink) I also had a few biscuits (my own- they should provide a free from option I think)

That was it. Done and dusted I felt really pleased with myself. If you have any questions, just drop me a comment or you can tweet these lovely people @GiveBloodNHS


Now, what next on my Project Kindness list!?

Cupcake Mumma


  1. Well done on giving blood. It's not as scary as people make out, I've been doing it for about 15 years now and not once have I had the courage to look at the needle - so your descripton was interesting! I turn away, then ask them to cover it, and I read my book to take my mind off what is actually happening. Just think, you've quite literally helped save a life x

  2. I have given blood twice and fainted shortly after.....lol Probably my own fault for not eating enough beforehand....
    Well done you x