I was sceptical when I used to see adverts asking me to donate my blood! In my mind I went through every known excuse why I shouldn’t donate, things like “I need all my blood” “Why should I donate to someone I don’t know?” “All they do is sell it to foreign countries!” “I might catch a disease when they take it?” “I’ve heard your ill for weeks after?” Yep these were all my pathetic excuses, one after the other of why I shouldn’t donate, but not once considering why I should? I’d hazard a guess that most reading this blog have felt like that at some point and had the very same thoughts as I used to have? I kind of did the whole “Doesn’t affect me all this donating lark” I think as I look back it was fear and ignorance, fear of the unknown, ignorance because I didn’t fully understanding what happens to my blood and how urgently it’s needed? I kind of acted like “Ill never need blood will I?” mentality, looking back what a ridiculous and senseless observation and thought that was.
Until someone you love needs blood you never give it a second thought! exactly what happened to me and my family, to cut a long story extremely short, in 2009 my fiancée was giving birth to my little boy, everything going swimmingly until, he decided he was comfortable and didn’t want to come out, so there he lay hour upon hour, until things started to turn in the wrong direction, he became destressed so a decision was made to perform an emergency Caesarean Section, obviously this was upsetting to my partner as she desperately wanted to have him naturally, but all things considered think she’d had enough and needed it to be over, now I know Caesarean Sections are relatively common nowadays, but a C section is major surgery and certainly not given the respect it deserves, having stood there and watched it first hand, I felt like I was in and episode of Holby, all sorts going on things being cut, etc etc anyway I’m rambling on I’ve noticed! it was an unbelievable experience, but once my little man was delivered and the nurses were attending to him, my partner rapidly deteriorated and needed an emergency blood transfusion, due to loss of blood during the operation, let me say that again in bold capital letters “NEEDED AN EMERGENCY BLOOD TRANSFUSION” what would of happened if everybody thought as I did? she would probably of died, but people had donated hence why there was stocks available and her life as well as countless others are saved daily, I took it for granted that it would just be there, not for a single minute respecting those who bother to cast aside all doubts and prejudices and donate there blood.
A complete mind reset was to happen, after the events of my son’s birth I kind of shelved all thoughts of donating blood, not because I didn’t want to, I just allowed the flow of life to consume me, and being 100% honest I never gave it a second thought, which looking at the bigger picture, people struggling in hospitals desperate for blood, are kind of hoping I ‘am giving it a second thought and am considering donating my blood as they really need it! I remember sitting one evening and a news report was on the television, it was about our soldiers, not sure where they were? but the reporter was interviewing a senior officer, who was talking about injured soldiers in battles and how they often struggle for blood to support their needs, thus was the spur I needed, not just because it was our brave soldiers but it made the plight and importance of blood donation drives more real, not like I should of needed convincing, but it was the straw the broke the camels back so to speak, my need for information was well and truly aroused, a blood donator I was set to become!
Time to enrol and become a hero that’s what I kept telling myself, so I delved into the Donate Blood website gathered as much information as I could, answered the questions, and an appointment was set up, it was that easy nothing invasive, no endless questions about my entire life, very straight forward and easy to navigate through, I was completely surprised! I’d been working myself up for 10,000 questions when in fact there was 50 tick boxes done end of sorted, so jump ahead and the day of my first visit arrived, I was somewhat apprehensive and a little worried about what would happen next, my normal donation point is Leigh Sports Village so I mad me way up the stairs and into the area where the donations were taking place, I was met with a very large smile by a friendly nurse who welcomed me and talked me through everything that was going to take place, I immediately felt completely at ease and unworried, I was taken to a private area, for my assessment, my Blood pressure was taken, then I had to have an iron test, nice and simple little jab on the end of your finger, they drop it in to a beaker of liquid, mine sank like the Titanic so I was good to go, I waited for around 5 minutes then was taken to my donation chair, again everything explained in full detail, a few safety questions asked including my address and date of birth, my blood pressure checked again, then my arm where the needle was to go was swab cleaned for 30 seconds, once it was cleaned, the nurse popped the needle in and away I went, so easy I was shocked, after around 20 minutes my blood bag was full, they removed the needle, placed a plaster on and asked me to go over to a table, full of crisps, sweets and drinks, I was advised to help myself and wait for 10 minutes before I left, couple of bags of mini Chedders and an Orange Club biscuit and a cup of hot chocolate later and I was good to go, I felt like I’d really made a difference, I felt like a bit of a hero to be honest.
Nothing like knowing your blood group I realized that I didn’t even know my own blood type which I guess is really important nowadays, a week or so later an envelope landed in my post-box telling my blood group, it appears that less than 2% of the population have the same type as me, perhaps I’m unique who knows? After researching as much as I could about my blood group, and what donating does I felt even more determined to donate, around 3-4 weeks after my donation, I received a text message from the people at Donate Blood advising me that my donation had been used at Southport Hospital, it was so amazing to be told exactly where your blood is actually going, made it somewhat more real to know exactly where it was going, I knew that I needed to continue donating my blood whenever I was able, every time I went to a session thereafter, it was always the same, big smiles all round made to feel at ease, and a massive sense of doing the right things and helping somebody in need, I feel like a hero ever time I attend I really do, such a good feeling! You have to try it to appreciate the feeling you get afterwards, and again every donation I give, I receive a text afterwards telling me where my blood has gone, a lot of the time mine has gone to children’s wards or hospitals, which as a father myself gives me even more of a great feeling inside.
Thursday 11th February 2021 my 14 donation to date as normal arrived at my allotted time, slightly different format due to the covid-19 situation, but equally managed extremely well and very professional, all staff very frienfdly all wearing masks and all ready and eager to assist everybody attending, I was met by a wonderful Irish nurse called Emma, very friendly and explained everything in detail, after we put the world to rights between us, with a reassuring smile she disappeared to attend other people in the session, as my donation was finishing another friendly nurse came over he was called Justice he was from Ghana, again very nice to chat to, ultra professional and very appreciative that I was donating, it was all run like clockwork so easy and calming, once I’d had my mini Chedders and Orange Club Biscuit I was on my way feeling all proud and pleased with myself.
If you don’t donate you should really consider it, I’m not going to jump into a salesman’s pitch here I shouldn’t have to, please consider donating blood, they are desperate for donors as a clue to just how many people are donating and regestering these figures have been taken directly from “NHS Blood Donate” website
- New Registrations and Donations
- 2016/2017 – 362,619 – (UK population 65,650,000)
- 2017/2018 – 478,762 – (UK population 66,040,000)
- 2018/2019 – 509,009 – (UK population 66,440,000)
- 2019/2020 – 416,381 – (UK population 66,800,000)
As you can clearly see from the statistics the amount of people donating, versus the population of the country is a tiny percentage, they need more desperately so if this blog does anything after you reading it, I hope it makes you inquisitive and look into donating blood and start making enquiries here is a great place to start your journey https://www.blood.co.uk/the-donation-process/registering-online/ this address will take you to the page that talks about registering for blood donation, I hope this is an interesting read and I wish you all the luck on perhaps your journey donating blood, love you to share your experiences in my comments section, until then keep safe Paul 12.02.2021