I Gave Blood

Today was my second visit to donate. I arose bright and early, filled out the questionnaire I’d been sent a few weeks ago, then toddled along to Chiswick Town Hall, which is to be my new donating site since moving back home.

What met me, other than a long wait (entirely my fault for accidentally turning up an hour early) was the standard procedure where you sign in, drink a big cup of water, and wait alongside all the other prospective donors. I would suggest, especially to anyone as foolish as me, to take a book. You’re then called to a short ‘interview’, where you’re asked if you’ve licked any mosquitoes as of late, or have been in contact with anyone who has been in contact with anyone who has contracted the West Nile virus. They also take a drop of blood from your finger to check your blood’s iron levels. Mine is great, apparently.

After a short wait in a different area of the Town Hall, I was ushered towards a bed, and told to lie down. My arm was prodded by a trainee who called in for backup to deal with my ‘pesky’ veins. A little sting later, and I was half man, half machine; or something. I was told to rub my thumb and forefingers together, as if I was trying to start a fire with them. I was also informed that I should flex my thighs and buttocks to help stimulate blood flow. As a long-distance runner, I took this as a personal challenge, and started flexing and rubbing with immense vigour, desperate to complete my donation quicker than those around me. I won, thankfully, but unfortunately didn’t time myself. When the donation was completed, I sat up and applied pressure to my arm, while a kind nurse stuck a plaster on it. A quick cup of water and a packet of crisps later, and I was off on my merry way, not before scheduling another appointment for February.

In all seriousness, if you’re in a good state of health, it’s immensely important that you give blood. The whole process which I’ve illustrated to you is very hassle-free. Subtracting the hour I sat around for being early, the whole donation process took thirty minutes. As I’ve said before, the Blood.co.uk site is also remarkably easy to use, and allows you to find and register for an appointment in your area in a matter of minutes, without having to sign up or register for anything.

You could really save someone’s life in half an hour, every four months. That’s an hour and a half of your time each year, leaving 8764.3 hours to do whatever else you desire. If you’ve signed up to the National Blood Service, please, make an appointment if you haven’t already. If you’re not signed up, then make an appointment at blood.co.uk. You’ll be making the best decision you’ll make all day.

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2 Comments on “I Gave Blood”

  1. I donate whenever possible, but I must say that I am amused and irked by the National Blood Service’s lack of administrative power at base level (understandably strong when it comes to the blood itself).

    Despite changing my address twice, I continued to get post to my parents house, and the leaflet with local donation sessions.

    Since I managed to change it and actually receive the mail, I still get the Hartlepool leaflet…

    • Aris says:

      Oh no! That’s not ideal. I suggest phoning them and explaining the whole situation. Also, you can find donation sessions in your area on the website, with relative ease, and just go along.


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