A few weeks ago I donated blood for the first time. In April I turned 17, the age you can start donating, and thought ‘why not go save some lives for the bant’ so I signed up. After donating (and plastering it all over social media just to prove that I’m a better human being than you) I had lots of people asking me questions about the process so I thought I’d answer them all in a post.
(Note: Obviously, this post isn’t exclusive to girls, so a huge winky emoji to any lads out there, I just enjoy the alliteration too much to be all-inclusive rn) (Another note: I will probs sound super preachy and tell you to give blood multiple times throughout this piece, obvs if you physically cannot give blood then don’t be like FML JESS I CAN’T OKAY because I get it, I’m just pulling my Debbie Downer face on everyone who can but hasn’t lol)
Does it hurt?
Forget Kylie’s lip kits because this answer seems to be the new thing everyone wants to get their hands on. It’s pretty much the default question that I’ve found after donating (except my dad who asked ‘did you get your free biscuit?’ but more on that later ffs Dad stop indirectly spoiling it). While it doesn’t feel like the ‘sharp scratch’ that they promise- although tbh nurses always describe injections like that and I’ve never understood why because a sharp scratch is what happens when I stroke the neighbour’s cat not when I’ve got a needle in my arm- it doesn’t hurt either. You might make an ‘ooh’ noise as it goes in (cheeky) but once it’s in I couldn’t stop laughing because it tickled so much. The most painful bit is probably taking the plaster off two days later… arm wax anyone?
How long does the blood-taking take?
Mine took 10-15 minutes, but I was super lazy and didn’t move my hand so my blood circulation was really slow. If you follow their instructions then you’d be done in about 10. Which gives you just enough time to catch up on my blog.
What does the room look like?
When I walked in to the town hall at first I was a little freaked out because there was a circle of swinging chairs with people laying in them, arms spread in some kind of ‘Jesus-on-the-cross’ position so I thought I’d turned up to a spiritual society. If this is your view when you walk in, don’t be alarmed. Appaz this is normal.
Could I donate if I’m scared of blood?
Honestly, you don’t see any blood. You’d think in a room full of people donating blood you’d at least see some blood, but it’s so clinical that everything is super discreet. Obvs, if you make an active effort to look for the blood, like me (because I’m soz but you’re not taking a pint of my body without me admiring how good it looks) then you can but it’s unlikely you’d accidentally stumble upon the blood bag under your swingy chair.
Genuine moment of silence to appreciate the swingy chairs, it’s like the dentist and the funfair cross bred to produce what can only be described as the best item of furniture ever.
Or I’m scared of needles?
I feel like this would be a great thing to do in order to overcome trypanophobia (thanks google doctor). If you build up from looking at photos of needles, watching them on TV,
maybe even watching a video of giving blood, donating would be a huge achievement. Especially because by overcoming your fear you’re saving people’s lives. That’s pretty bloody cool.
Plus, I experienced literally no scarring or brusing whatsoever, so no proof you were ever needled in the first place.
I just KNOW I’ll faint!!
Lol you always get that one who says this, but seriously if you follow the instructions on the website i.e. eating and drinking loads before, not doing strenuous exercise (an excuse to sit on my sofa eating Quorn sausage rolls yasss pls) etc then the likelihood you’ll faint is super slim. And ultimately, even if you do, everyone there is a trained healthcare professional, they’ll know what to do. But fainting is way rarer than people make it out to be.
What if I don’t have time?
Then boo to you. If you have time to read 900 words of my drivel then you have time to go save some lives.
I don’t know my blood type, can I donate?
Finding out my blood group was one of the most exciting things about donating! They write to you afterwards and give you a donor card (to clog up my purse with all the other shit in there) and a keyring with your type on it, so no need to know it in advance. If you were wondering where all the NHS budget goes, it’s probably right there.
Also, I literally just got a text telling me where in the country my blood’s been used!! How cool is that? #TeamDartford.
How long does the appointment take?
On the website it says an hour, but my appointment took about 40 minutes. You could probably do it in 25 at the quickest however I wanted to sit back with my free pack of Oreos and plastic cup of water and snapchat everyone I know telling them to sign up ASAP because this is great.
Where do I sign up?
YAS good question! The other day my friend said donating was ‘on her bucket list’ like babe this isn’t hiking the Grand Canyon or seeing the Northern Lights, just sign up TODAY. You can find all the deets on the NHS blood website (which I’ve cheekily hyperlinked) as well as the terms of donation. Obviously, there’s no point turning up to a donate if you know you’ve had a piercing/given birth/turned 80 in the last week because it’s a wasted trip. With that said, look into any categories that are preventing you from donating- like with the travelling abroad one- you can google it/ring up directly/ask me and I’ll ring up for you because I love a good phone call, and see if your country is restricted e.g. I went to NYC four months ago and I was fine. This is the only situ where no doesn’t always mean no.
I really, really hope this has reminded some of you to book your next appointment, maybe even inspired some of you to go (pls tell me if you do so I can apply for my sainthood) after all September is National Blood Cancer Awareness month so go n do your bit if you can!!
I’ll stop preaching now.
Lol, I’ll never stop doing that.