I gave blood twice – once in university, and again few weeks ago. The blood clinic came directly to my work, so there was definitely no excuse.
I fill out all the forms, and offer up my index finger to a nurse who takes a little prick before sending me to the next stage. More questions. Blood pressure taken. Finally, I sit in a dentist like chair, as another nurse approaches me with a needle. Gee. I forgot how big these are. “Look away, honey”, has always been the instruction from medical staff. Instead, I stare as the needles pierces the vein, and a little test tube fills up with dark red liquid.
The nurse connects the thin tube to a plastic bag. The size of the bag is intimidating. The standard blood donation is about 500ml. An average woman has about 4.5-4.7 liters of blood. The process takes about 20 minutes. Apparently, I am a fast bleeder. Ummm… that’s a good thing, right?
Resting on a moving step, the bag rhythmically moves up and down. It’s a little strange to see my life essence sloshing around in a plastic baggie. I touch the tube with my free hand. It’s warm. Well, if anyone ever wants to call me a cold-blooded bitch, I can at least correct them on the first one. Warm-blooded. All the way.
The nurse disconnects the tubes and instructs me to sit still. For five minutes. Hardest part of the whole en devour. Finally, she gently takes me by the elbow and leads me to the table with snacks – cookies and juice. I am about to think that the whole thing is ridiculous, but at the same moment feel a little dizzy.
A jolly gentleman with dozens of pins on his lapel pulls up a chair, and hands me a napkin. He has donated blood over 200 times. As every blood donation is separated into three parts (red cells, plasma and platelets), and every part can be given to a different patient, this gentleman could have saved over 600 lives. A common every day hero…
I can do this again in 56 days. They say, “it’s in you to give”. Is it in you?