I went to give blood at my local sports centre earlier today. I've always wanted to do it but you have to be 17 years old and I have only just turned 17! You register online and just confirm it when you arrive. They give you some leaflets to read about the procedure and you drink a pint of water whilst you wait for a nurse to look at you. Then they ask you loads of questions about your health, whether you have been abroad etc.
After this they prick your finger and test the blood to test your iron levels by dropping it in some form of liquid thing (I don't know what it was!!). If you have sufficient iron levels in your blood then it will sink (which mine did) and if not then it will stay at the top and I think you have to contact your doctor.
Next you wait for about 10 minutes and then you're taken to the chair/bed things that they take your blood from.
This is where I had problems!! I have extremely small veins, which I discovered when I had to have a blood test a few years back. The first nurse couldn't find any veins in my arms and got another nurse, who managed to find a small one. Mine took a lot longer than most peoples because they had to put the needle in and keep moving it because they couldn't find enough blood! The actual blood taking only took about 20 minutes for me, most people around me took around 10 ish minutes!
In the end they couldn't get enough blood from me and they had to stop trying to get my blood flow going.
They plastered me up and told me it would be best to come back in around 2 years to see if my veins would grow. I'm going to be honest and say that I felt gutted. I don't really know why, maybe it's because my dad gives blood and I've always loved the idea of being able to help people unknowingly and in a way that doesn't cause my any real form of discomfort.
I saw about 5 or 6 nurses in total (which sounds a lot but they all do different things!!) and they were honestly all so, so nice and they talk you through anything you are unsure of!
I wrote this half just because it is something different to write about, but also because I would encourage anyone to go and donate if you can. There is obviously no pressure but even just considering it a good thing to do?! You do have to be 17 and the problem I had is very uncommon I think. The nurses are lovely and are happy to answer any of your questions at all! The only pain is the finger prick, which is literally the smallest pain you can imagine, in fact I'm not entirely sure I would consider it a pain! The other thing is obviously the needle which hurt more than previous blood tests or injections for me, but mainly because she had to keep wiggling the needle around to find a blood supply!! If you are fine with injections then this isn't any different and you can always take someone along with you!!
This is obviously a very different post to my previous blogs, but I just through I'd share it with you and don't hold back from doing it if you want to! Even if you just want more information then you can go onto their website and have a look!! xxx