*Warning: Not for the faint-hearted*
Do you know that when you donate blood, your blood is deemed quality blood if it takes less than 12 minutes to get a 1-pint (equal to 450ml) from you? Quality means it will be much easier for blood technicians to separate your blood into parts, usually red blood cells, plasma, and platelets, since most recipients need only a specific component for transfusions. Anything more than 12 minutes and they'll just take the blood as a whole.
I got a 10-minutes record. Not bad. (I practically had to keep pumping my veins using a given grip because listening to the doctor dictating what is or isn't a quality blood actually gave me a challenge).
Here's the thing: Blood has always fascinated me. Not in a psychotic freak way, but more of like a pull of constant curiosity. I could have made a very good scientist, instead - and I'm trying not to digress here - I am not.
Was it painful? Only the initial sting when they first prick you, but if you could survive a mosquito bite, you could survive this. And then about 2 seconds of a feeling akin to a high when your blood started flowing, or maybe that was my excitement talking. *Vamps come to mind*
The needle wasn't huge... don't believe everything you hear. Imagine a tiny thumb tack, it's that small. What's huge is the drip, that's probably what you saw. But if you're going to let a tiny pin like that stop you from doing a great thing, then what can I say. Maybe it's not your thing. Cheer up. But know this: Every minute of every day, hundreds of persons need blood. Who was it that said sharing is caring? This instance, nothing is truer.
Anyway... here's the funny thing about that whole ordeal which almost didn't happen: I forgot when I had my menses. You see, the friendly doctor cum blood technician, interviewed me beforehand asking the final question, which I didn't give a thought to until it was asked. So I had to strain my brain trying to remember when my last er womanly course was because they will not allow you to donate if you're a week away from your monthly friend's visit. And I initially gave a wild guess and it was the wrong answer. And then another wild guess, and still the wrong answer. The doctor said "Sorry dik aa, come back after you've had it." And I couldn't believe I was disappointed and desperate! To cut the story short... with a red face, I called a friend to check my calendar, and phew.....! Almost stranded there. Imagine what an overkill that would be to be so excited and not have it done with.
So recounting that moment of pure bliss and pleasure and not to mention a tad too heroic for a simple girl like me who craves exactly this sort of charitable adventure, here are a few other benefits other than the obvious physical ones you have probably read in the Internet:
- You get to meet new friends ... the blood technician and the doctor were really friendly and nice. And you feel their sincerity, not just because they probably understand your fears. And it's a great way to network too.
- Donors get designated parking lots at the Blood Bank.
- You get a book - a ticket to your medical needs later. Oh, and if you donate for the second time, you are entitled to a free Hepatitis B shot... worth RM50 each in clinics or specialist hospitals. And you have to take 2 shots, remember?
- You get a kick knowing you're doing a good brave deed.
- And knowing I have a quality blood makes me feel real good.
- Don't do it for the goodies or souvenirs. You're volunteers, remember? But if you do want goodies, go to any Blood Drive. Like if you go to Jimisar's Blood Drive, you probably get a car free. Who knows?
- You can nap too, if you like. Comfortable bed and cool atmosphere, although it is too short for that.
- You hear and get all sorts of tips from the doctor in residence. Sort of like free medical consultation, although delivered in a much relaxed way. Stuffs like that you would normally pay for in any clinic.
- You will be on their record as heroes... No, I'm kidding. But seriously, you will be on call for emergencies like when people need your blood type and there are none. Especially if you have a rare blood type.
- You get free snacks. :-) Yeay.
And I am O positive by the way.
The young and pretty miss taking my blood samples altho I did tell her it was O...
Prick-a-pratt... needles going in, blood going out...
My friend ... he did his in 7 minutes! Whoa... very high quality blood..
On a high and steadily flowing...
That all that came out of me?
Post-bleed free snacks ... protein.
And this is my tiny insignificant souvenir... a hand towel.
Another three months before my next bleeding session is due. Care to join me? We could hold hands if you're scared.
Anyway, for those interested to donate or to enquire further on Blood Drive, please contact:
Blood Bank, Sarawak General Hospital
Tel: 082-276795/ 276797
Did you faint already? :-)