2 Mar 2009

A day of blood loss

Individual photographs found here 

On Friday the 27th of February I finally got off my arse and gave blood for the first time.
I decided to live tweet the event, because I needed some moral support (virtual kick up the arse). So it went something like this:
1.Mumborg has just gone off to theatre and I have just stuffed my face with spinach and rocket in preparation for #giveblood session. from TweetDeck
2.Nearly at blood place now. Feeling nervous and dishevelled. #giveblood from txt
3.Filling in forms now and there is a big queue. #giveblood from txt
Reading booklet thing about blood safety whilst waiting to #giveblood from txt
4.Just been health checked and iron levels are good. Its on to the next stage #giveblood from txt
5.Palms are getting sweaty now its getting nearer to #giveblood time! from txt
6.I think its me next halp! #giveblood from txt
7.I am now losing blood feels okay! #giveblood from txt
8.Half way! Still feels fine. #giveblood from txt
9. - from TwitPic
10.I am done in eight minutes flat biscuit and juice time. #giveblood from txt
11.Do it for the biscuits they are yum! #giveblood from txt
12. - from TwitPic
13. - from TwitPic
Okay here is some filler, because sometimes a simple tweet is not enough, even though the needle twitpic was probably too much for some.
On arrival at the blood donation centre (a church hall), I was told that there would be a long wait for folks with no appointments. As I was one of those folks, I could of legged it then, but I was determined to do it. So I filled in my form and joined the other blood givers. The form filling wasn't difficult at all, just a brief tick list of recent travels, if you have had any unprotected sexual encounters and brief medical history. All very basic yes/no stuff, so if your a bit form phobic like myself, there is nothing to worry about.

Then after waiting awhile perusing though the facts and figures of blood giving, I was called for my basic health check. This involved going through the initial form in a bit more detail and a pinprick to test for iron levels. The pinprick was painless and they then drop a blob of blood into a phial, if the blood sinks, hey presto you can give blood. I think the spinach and rocket came in handy, as I always have to reassure people that I am not anaemic just very very pale.

Onto the next waiting area, which was two rows of chairs away from the first waiting area, alas no luxury for us blood givers. I have to admit that the palms were starting to get a wee bit sweaty at this point, but I wasn't left long enough to get too nervous. I had to hop up on a bed and then the nurse took my blood pressure. There were six beds in total, right in the middle of hall for everyone to see, but it still felt very relaxed. After a few making fists and releases, I then had to make a fist and hold it tight (not sure if that sounds right). I had to this for both arms to see which had the better vein, they were about the same. Which was good news for twittering! As I got to keep my right arm free. The nurse didn't seem too impressed by twittering, I think she thought I was just jabbering away nervously.

Now that she had a picked my left arm, I had to make a fist and release my hand a few times and finally make a fist and hold it.The area was then cleaned with an alcohol swab and the needle was inserted. I wont lie and say I couldn't feel a thing, because I could. It was not painful at all, not even horrid like the needles they use at the dentist. It was just slightly uncomfortable because you could feel the needle there.Once the needle is in and the blood is flowing you can relax your hand. To keep the blood flowing nicely, you just gently make a fist and release it constantly. I just lay there listening to the background music (Kings of Leon) and twittered a few times, before being told I was all done! Eight minutes was all it took to potentially save three people's lives.

After the needle is removed, painless again, the area is cleaned and plaster whacked on. You get up nice and slowly, wait for a moment to sit up properly and then you are released for biscuits and juice. The nurse recommended that your drink a cold drink at your first session, not sure why. The biscuits were yum and I found myself sat there feeling peaceful and slightly smug with the satifaction that I had done something nice. I have to wait a few weeks to hopefully get my card and see if my blood is any good. Then in four months, I will be giving blood again. I may video it next time!

1.Simple steps to blood giving found here
2.Virtual session here 

Thanks to the tweeps!
The folks on twitter really gave me the support I needed to do it. Sometimes it just doesn't work when you say 'Oh I think I will give blood this time'. By tweeting it, I added that little bit of pressure to live up to the promise I had made to myself. Also to everyone else that gave me support, god this is turning into an Oscar like speech, but it really helped honest!
I tried to keep track as much as possible using the hashtag #giveblood and following it on my tweetfeed.

Of course in the back of my mind was the mumborg, as I was waiting to give blood, she was losing it in surgery.The wound was successfully cleaned and the clot removed. To hopefully prevent any more clots forming, she now has three drains coming directly out of her leg. They look like mini hosepipes, rather horrid. So things are feeling uncomfortable for her at the moment, but the leg is otherwise fine, sort of! I think you should give blood regardless of personally circumstances, but it took this latest bout of mumborg surgery to really make me think about it. Please don't be like me and give blood when/if you can.


  1. Good for you: and, you have a point there - telling people you're going to do something (Tweeting it, in this case) is a great incentive.

  2. Congrats, and the pic was awesome (at least I thought so :) ).

  3. Fantastic post as always. Hope that was lovely enough :)

  4. I know it took more courage than you are letting on. Proud of you.

  5. No one but you could do such an outstanding job of describing your day! I love you, girl!!!

  6. Congrats to you on becoming a blood donor! Quite an awesome thing to do, ya know.

  7. Very well done, Claire :)
    I used to give blood more often, but it's been quite a while. I blame getting a tattoo/piercing just about once a year. I think I'm about able to give again, and I shall certainly do so at my next opportunity. *hugs*

  8. Claire! WOW! Very cool take on your day of donating! I just entered you in for the contest! I take it that since you're in England you can't get to Florida for the grand prize if you were to win. Do you have Targets there? Should I enter you for the other prizes? Please email me at to let me know!

  9. Gee, I could have sworn I just posted a comment over here ... testing one, two, three ... is this thing on???

  10. Well done - you are utterly awesome for giving blood.

    I'm also jealous because I would if I could but I can't - I'm utterly needle-phobic, and the one time I did go and try, I went so white and shaky after the finger-prick that they wouldn't let me actually give any more. :(

    Hope your mum continues to make very good progress!

  11. Well done you. Sorry I missed the live tweeting, I would have slagged you a bit and tried to wind you up about how sore it was going to be.

    Wouldn't have worked though, would it? :)

    Well done you (did I say that already)

  12. This is a wonderfully illustrated, informative and yet personal piece. It emphasizes the need for more of us to step forward, conquer our needle fears, and contribute a gift of life to those who so desperately need it. Thanks for sharing this intense experience with us readers Claire. You are a blogger who has won a special place in my heart.

  13. Well done you! Not that I had any doubt you would do it.

  14. Wonderful you got your arse (a favorite word of mine!) in gear and donated blood. It is an easy thing to do and it saves lives! I am a blood donor, and also an organ and tissue donor. another very worthy cause.
    Great article. Cathy
    I am new here, but wanted to wave and say hi, good luck on the studies.

  15. Good show, m'dear!

    I myself prefer donating semen. Much more pleasurable...

  16. That's great, Claire--I am glad you were able to give blood. Twitter is a great way for people to stay motivated and true to their cause. Endless possibilities, really.


  17. I should be following you on Twitter (but I don't do a lot of that). I used to give blood regularly, boring old O+, but it all helps.