Last Friday I donated blood and I thought I would write about my experience donating blood For The First time
Why Did I Donate?
I have wanted to donate for quite a while now; probably for around a year. There are always adverts on Facebook and TV saying how they need more blood donations. Also a YouTuber I watch called Brogan Tate donates quite often and I felt inspired to also do it. Now, the reason I have only just got round to donating is because I kept tattoos and a piercing. When you get a tattoo or a piercing you have to wait 4 months until you are able to donate and every time it nearly got to 4 months I got another tattoo. After my last tattoo (22nd June) I was pretty sure my next tattoo would not be until the New Year (so I could use Christmas money) so I went onto the website to book a donation appointment.
How To Book An Appointment
It is really easy to book an appointment
- Go to https://www.blood.co.uk/
- Click Register
- Follow Instructions
- Click Search For An Appointment
- Follow the search steps to find the convenient time and place for you
Preparing To Donate
I will be completely honest with you; I was so scared and anxious as I drove to my appointment. When I got there I went to the check in desk where I was given a leaflet to read while I waited and directed to a container with a drink to drink before I donated (I cannot remember what it is was, it was like water mixed with something)
After around 10 minutes my name was called and I followed the nurse to a private screening area. Once there he went through the questionnaire I had filled out before arriving and made sure everything was okay. As I had ticked yes to getting a tattoo or piercing within the last 12 months he asked me what the date was. As it was over 4 months ago he said I was fine to donate. I think I must have looked really nervous as he asked if it was my first time donating blood.
Before moving to the donation area he pricked my finger to check my iron level. My iron level was fine so he said I was able to donate.
The Actual Donation
I was shown to my chair and asked which hand I write with (they take blood from the opposite arm) The chairs where I went looked like this:
When you are seated they tilt your chair back so you are at a slight angle. While the nurse is preparing your arm (cleaning and putting the strap around it) they give you a leaflet to read. It explains the hand and leg exercises you should do during your donation. Once the process has started they set a timer and leave you to it. Nurses are constantly walking around to make sure everyone is okay.
I was always worried that you would be able to feel the blood leaving your arm but I did not feel anything. I am not 100% sure how long it to took donate but it was not long at all (usually takes 5-15 minutes to donate)
After The Donation
Once the timer went off a nurse came over to finish the process and to make sure I was feeling alright. After the needle has been removed they place some tissue on your arm and you have to hold it tightly to stop the blood. She then placed a plaster on my arm and taped a bit of cotton bud on top of the plaster. She instructed me to keep the plaster on for 6 hours but I could cut the cotton bud off after 30 minutes.
Once my arm was bandaged up the nurse slowly tilted my chair back to the original position. She gave me a card to give to the nurse at the refreshment station. The card explained that I am a new donar. You then go over to the refreshment station where you can have a drink and some biscuits. You are advised to stay there for at least 15 minutes so they can make sure you are feeling okay.
I am really happy that I have donated blood. I will definitely do it again when I can. Men have to wait 12 weeks before they can donate again and women have to wait 16 weeks. It was not at all scary and made me feel really proud. If you are thinking about donating blood I would definitely recommend doing so.
Hopefully you have enjoyed reading about my experience donating blood for the first time. I hope it has reassured you or even inspired you to donate.
Thanks for reading