“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Gift of Life

Yesterday I did something very simple, which I should have done years ago. It didn't cost anything, it hardly hurt at all, and it didn't take very long. But it could make a huge difference to somebody else.

Yes, I gave blood. I used to be a regular donor, back in the 1980s, but kept passing out after donating (I weighed considerably less in those days) so in the end they told me to stop going. Life went on, and I forgot all about it. Until a friend posted on Facebook that she had given blood, which gave me the nudge needed to go online and investigate.

I have to say, I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism of it all. I had to fill out a long form, and was then questioned about my answers. For example, we had been on holiday to Turkey in March, and they wanted to know which part I had visited, and which airport I had flown out of. I've also just been referred for possible minor surgery on my knee, so there were questions about that. I had to drink a pint of water before donating, and also have a finger-prick blood test, to see whether my iron levels were sufficiently high. Only when the staff were satisfied that I was fit to donate, was I led to a special reclining chair. The actual process took about eight or nine minutes, and I was given a bandage to roll around my hand to stimulate blood flow, and also told to clench and unclench my buttocks constantly (apparently this helps keep the blood pressure low). Between the bandage rolling and the buttock clenching, time passed fairly quickly. It was like trying to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time. Hilarious!

Then I was returned to the upright position very slowly and waved over to another part of the hall, where I was given a cold drink and told to help myself to any of a selection of high-carb snacks. When they were sure I was OK, and was feeling fine, I was allowed to leave. And was given a little leaflet Important Safety Information after you have given blood. The standard of care at every stage was impressive.

As I say, very professional. So I'm booked in again for the beginning of May - you're allowed to give blood every four months. I'm just glad to have done it, and only wish I hadn't waited so long. Donations drop over the Christmas / New Year season, which is sad, as it is one of the times of peak demand.

If you are fit and healthy, why not give it a try? The website is www.blood.co.uk  This is a case in which the advertising slogan "every little helps" really is true. Apparently, one donation could save three lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment