I gave the desk my name, signed the waiver and went to the waiting area. It was a meat locker in their! It must have been 50 degrees at the most, but that was fine because I only waited about 4 minutes. Not even enough time to tweet that I was giving blood! So they called my name and I went to the screening area. The nurse took down all of my vitals and information, and then handed me the computer to answer all of the screening questions. The only question that slipped me up was about having been to an African country. Well, I was born in South Africa, so yes, I have been there, and I am not about to lie to the Red Cross.
When the screening nurse came back, she was purplexed by the situation. I would not really think that having some one born in Africa is all that unusual, but I digress. She quickly made a note that I was not “at risk” and we were off to the blood donation beds!
Note to readers: Do NOT wear a skirt to donate blood. You will be lying on a table, and there will be a creepy person lying across from you enjoying the fact that you wore a skirt! However, the nurse sensed my intrepidation and produced an extra bed cover for a little extra coverage! Thank you nurse!
Apparently I am allergic to iodine, and there are signs all over the center stating to make sure the nurse knows if you are allergic to iodine or latex. I must have told the nurse 8 different times, each time fearing I wouldn’t be able to complete #31. But never fear allergics out there, they just use an alternate prep method to get you ready. I can not discribe the next part of the process to you, because my head was firmly turned in the opposite direction in the hopes that the “ostrich” method works with needles too. If I don’t see it, it can’t hurt, right?
When I was done, I am happy to report I did not pass out like the time in the Doctor’s office. I sat up slowly, took my juice and cookies, and headed to the car…only to be followed by a running nurse screaming at me that I can’t leave right away and have to sit for at least 15 minutes…oops. The other donars at the “post-op” snack table made a snyde comment about me being young and thinking I don’t need recovery time. Whatever, it just means a second pack of Oreos!
6 weeks after donating blood, new donars receive an ID card in the mail stating their blood type (A-) and containing a bar code for quick check in on future donations. Did you know that only 30% of donars return to give blood again? I am not sure why. It saves lives and only takes an hour (at the most) out of your day. I can give blood again come September, and I fully intend to do so. I remember my mom giving blood as much as she could when we were little, and thinking I couldn’t wait to grow up and be able to do that much good with that little effort.
If you would like to find out about donating blood in your area, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org