Friday, June 17, 2011

May 24: Blood Drive Day

On Tuesday, May 24, I had the opportunity to donate some blood to the blood drive at the local high school.

Overall, the entire procedure took about an hour and a half (11:05-about 12:40). However, I'd say a good 30 minutes was just waiting around doing nothing waiting for the nurses to attend to me, as well as 15 minute waiting period at the end.

So, first, they did a quick ID check, then they took my hemoglobin level by (rather painfully) pricking my middle finger.

After passing that test [and I'm thankful I did-- a number of people had low hemoglobin levels, so they weren't allowed to donate blood in fear that they would pass out] I was given a roughly 50 question survey which asked rather disturbing questions that I don't think are appropriate to post here.

Having answered my survey, I sat in a chair and did absolutely nothing for about 15 minutes, just waiting in line for an interviewer to become available. After the interviewer reviewed my survey questions and took my blood pressure, the interviewer gave me a basket full of vials and whatnot I was directed to a chair-- the blood-giving line.

Gee, was I excited, haha. There were a lot of students texting on their phones and looking extraordinarily bored. I was mostly nervous. Would it hurt?

Finally, a very busy Asian nurse came and directed me to a makeshift bed. She took my BP again and cleaned my arm with this very nifty sponge and water/alcohol dispenser. Finally, timidly, I asked her if it would hurt. She replied with a nonchalant "Well, we have to break the skin." (Gee, really?) She tied a cuff around my arm and slid a needle in a vein on my left arm. It didn't hurt that much, really, but I didn't look at it go in.

And then she had me squeeze a ball of tape every 5 seconds or so. Really, the needle just itched a whole bunch. But it was a bit cool and scary to see my blood filling a pouch. It really is, quite simply, a rather boring process. Squeezing the wad of tape got a bit boring after the first twenty minutes.

After around 10 minutes, I was done. The nurse quickly slid the needle out of my arm (I looked away again). Geez, having the needle taken out of your arm hurts a lot! I looked at the pouch of blood and I wanted to take a picture of it but the nurse took the blood away before I could whip my phone out of my pocket. She bandaged up my arm and told me I had to keep it on for 4 hours after that.

An entire pint. I felt rather accomplished. She quickly asked if I felt thirsty or tired or faint (no to all), then directed me to the waiting area at which I had to wait 15 minutes. Most lightheaded-ness and fainting occurs within 15 minutes of donating blood, I believe. The rest area had cookies and juice and crackers. I ate a lot (shhhh, don't tell). It was lunch time, after all.

All in all, I think that giving blood was a rather painless experience and it is definitely something I would do again. I'm glad that I was able to donate my blood to someone else. Someone probably needs it much more than I do.

Anyway, I called the hospital a couple weeks later via a card with my donor ID on it and I was informed that I'm blood type B positive (B+).

Finally, I just want to post a picture of my bandaged arm.

Red badge of courage, indeed.

If you ever get a chance to donate, I strongly suggest you do.

Have a good day.

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