Monday, 25 June 2012

Feeding the Vampires, aka Give Blood

If there is one thing I will bug people to donate, it's blood. I understand money can be hard to give, especially on a regular basis. But, we all have blood in equal measure, and if you are eligable then you should seriously think about it!

Especially because NZ donor numbers have dropped off and we have a shortage of blood in our hospitals.

I recently donated for the first time in four years. It's been a while because I've had a few health issues, but they are all sorted, and I'm back on board!

You go in and fill out a form asking basic (sexual and general) health questions. You meet with a nurse, who takes a finger prick of blood (the worst part!), to check your iron levels. Then the nurse will go over your questionnaire to check you're eligible to give blood.

Some of the main reasons you might not be able to, are if you have had an invasive medical procedure, or a piercing/tattoo in the last 6 months. Also if you're unwell (have a cold etc), you won't be able to donate. You can find more eligibility info here
(I was on a few different medicines and I could still give :)

Then, its off to donate! Its not painful (apart from the sharp prick when the needle goes in), and it takes only 10 minutes

My arm. Good times

My blood. Hope you're not feeling icky
Ok, so its not painful, but its not the most fun experience, of course. But, I always tell myself that this is SO SO easy compared to what someone who might need a transfusion is going through.

And, lets be honest. It's nice being treated like you are SO AMAZING for giving blood (all the staff are so lovely and encouraging).
 After I gave blood, they have a nice little cafe for us to relax in and we get free coffee (machine, not instant!), bikkies, and get this... crackers with Marmite on! So if you're missing your marmite fix (here in NZ it's out of stock), you will want to get in quick.

I got a big sexy bandage cos I am allergic to the little sticky ones. Fluro pink was a colour option. I declined.

If you have extra time, and meet the criteria, you could also donate plasma or platelets. I can't donate plasma (I need to be a bit more chunky), but got my blood tested for being a platelet donor. For both you have to be there a bit longer, and they take your blood out, take out the plasma/platelets and return your red blood cells to you. You can do this every 3 weeks-ish, as opposed to whole blood which you can only donate every 3 months. If you have spare time, and are healthy, you should look into it.

If you're in NZ go to this website, and book a time to make a donation. (Come on, do it, don't be a wuss!). If you are in Wellington, I'll come with you and hold your hand!

If you're overseas, I'm sure your country needs blood too - go out and give it a go!

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