I had my first experience of giving blood last week. I have wanted to donate blood for a long time now, but have never had the opportunity before. I’ve either been anaemic or pregnant, and before that I had my ears and nose pierced at intervals that precluded giving blood. However, last week I finally made it to the local leisure centre where the Welsh Blood Service had set up temporary camp. My iron levels were checked and my droplet of blood plummetted through the solution – I was assured that this meant that my iron levels were very good indeed. So the spinach eating paid off!
I took Handsome with me for a bit of social education – he learned a lot about blood donation and why we do it while we were there. When we arrived though, his lip wobbled a little when he saw all the people lying on the beds. He thought that this meant that they were all ill, and was very worried that I would be ill and end up having to go to the hospital! I swiftly reassured him, but as we all know, children don’t always believe parents so I had the nurse explain everything to him, and then he was fine. He was very supportive, holding my hand the whole way through as I really don’t like needles. And I was able to hide my fear more in order not to scare him, so it worked out very well!
I was assigned a lovely nurse who sat with me through the whole donation, and we chatted about various things to pass the time. She really put me at my ease, as well as helping to convince Handsome that I wasn’t taking my life in my hands by letting them stick needles in me! She quite impressed him by telling him that I could be saving someone’s life by giving a pint of blood, and let him feel the pouch of blood once the donation was over and the pouch was all sealed and ready to go. And as for me, now I’ve done that initial donation, I’m not worried about going again as I was absolutely fine. I have a bit of a history of dizziness, and was quite worried that I’d be fainting all over the place, but I was perfectly well all the way through. I enjoyed my squash and a biscuit afterwards, and Handsome enjoyed the mini packets of biscuits that the nice nurse gave to him to take home and share with his brother!
Being in the blood donation centre reminded me of my first time in such a place. When we were in our final year of university, and I was about five months pregnant with Handsome, my friend Maria decided that she would like to try to give blood. Being the good and kind friend that I am, I volunteered to go with her as she was feeling the nerves a little. Once she was on the bed and the blood was being extracted from her arm, she was chatting with her nurse and was telling her about me, in order to take her mind off what was happening. She told her that I was expecting a boy the following spring, and that she was to be the Godmother, and that I had come with her even though I (obviously) couldn’t give blood, in order to help her to get home safely if she felt woozy. The nurse apparently looked round and asked which one I was, and Maria described me. The nurse said “That would be the girl who is slumped forward with her head in between her knees then, would it?”. As I have mentioned, I have a history of fainting, and had, earlier in my pregnancy, fainted into a freezer in Tesco, and I had indeed, even whilst sitting quietly, managed to faint whilst waiting for someone at the blood clinic! The next thing I knew was that I was lying on the bed next to Maria in the recovery area, being presented with a cup of sweet tea to help bring me round! But on the plus side, worrying about me completely took Maria’s mind off the needle and the first time blood donation and she was absolutely fine! On the minus side, she didn’t let me forget that episode for a very long time.