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Just wanted to give a quick heads up:
The blood donation went wonderfully!! I am definately going to try to donate again. It was very interesting process. There were plenty of kind people working there, as well as smiling donors. I got a sticker saying "1st Donation" (yay for stickers!!) although it was mainly for the staff to know so they could explain the whole process to me as we went along.
There was an initial blood test to check my hemoglobin/iron to make sure I was able to donate (they used a small lancet, very similar to when diabetics check their blood sugar levels). Once that was a go, I read an informative pamphlet and then went into a cubical to get my weight and blood pressure checked. After that was settled, I was left alone in the cubicle to answer some questions on a computer to further check if I could donate. For those of you who smoke, I asked the lady working there if smokers could donate and she said yes. :) When I used to smoke I was under the impression that we couldn't donate, but that isn't the case!
After everything was good to go, I was taken to a large area where there were these HUGE plush wonderful lazy-boy chairs!! When I sat in one it was so comfy, I could have seriously fallen asleep.
Beside the chairs there are these machines that hook up to the I.V.'s and hold the bag as it is filled with blood. It rocks the bag back and forth as it is filling up, to mix the blood with an anti-coagulent. It's almost hypnotic to watch...
I couldn't see the machine that I was hooked up to since the chairs were so big and really high off of the ground, so I stole glances at other donors machines. :P
I was pricked by (I'm not going to lie) a pretty big needle (I'm not very squeemish amout needles, I watched her put it in) and I barely felt a thing! Honestly, you know how it feels to go get routine blood tests at a clinic when they take several vials of blood? That actually hurts more than this!! Seriously!
After that you are hooked up to the tube going to the bag, which also has an attachment which allows them to take tubes of blood as well. I had 6 tubes of blood drawn before the donation, as they test this blood for problems before allowing the blood to be given to a patient.
The whole process took about an hour, but the whole giving blood part took only 9 minutes!! There was music, tv, things to read and people to talk to... it was a very relaxing atmosphere. I actually closed my eyes to relax for a bit but then a nurse asked if I was feeling ok (hehe). They monitor you closely but don't hover uncomfortably about. There are always several workers nearby so if anything goes wrong or if you feel a bit off you can flag someone down pretty much instantly.
After that I had to apply pressure to the puncture site for 6 minutes. Then I was off to the refreshment room!!
As soon as I got there a lady asked if I wanted something to drink, and at my request got me some apple juice. Oh yeah apple juice! Then I sat at one of the tables nearby and took a peek at the basket of goodies in the middle of the table (each table had one). Again there was t.v. and reading material. I partook in some Oreo's guilt free! :D They like you to eat something sugary and drink at least your 8 glasses (throughout the day, not all right away!)to get your blood sugars back up and to help replace the blood volume. The donated red blood cells take about 6 weeks to fully return, whereas blood volume and plasma comes back within a day or two (if I remember correctly). Also, if you are planning to donate blood, drink plenty of water the day before and the day of, and eat a hearty meal sometime before you go to donate. It can help make you feel much better.
Anyhoo, that's my story. I donated whole blood, and was told that my donation can help 3 people. :D What a great feeling!! I was thanked for my donation, I felt great, and I made another appointment to donate in December. When I was there I overheard a man at reception who was there for his 80th (!!!) donation. And he didn't look very old, either. Good for him!! :D
If you are a bit anxious about donating blood, I gently suggest that you go check it out, chances are it won't be as bad as you think! I was pretty anxious, and it went awesomely!! There are a lot of people who want to donate blood but can't for various reasons. There are also people who are extremely uncomfortable with donating blood, even if they can (and that's alright!). I just suggest giving it a look see! :)
Wow, this post turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be!! :O
Yum, I'm eating lasagna that my bf and I made. YUM!
Anyhoo, have a wonderful night!