Blood Donation; The Yays Not Nays

By Elie - 4:00 AM

I guess I've completely lost the flair for flowery words and direct titles to blog posts are much better to work with. In case you got too lazy to read the title (Wait...what?) I'm going to be talking about blood donations. If you didn't already know, donating blood with my dad by my side has become one of my resolutions for 2013 and I actually did it just before the year ended. It was only when I got home that I realized that some people has the wrong perception of blood donations thinking, "Why on earth should I do it?" while others have no idea how it goes.

Mum suggested that I should write a post about this and I thought about it for a while. I mean, why not? It could help save a life since every pint of blood is potentially useful and the feeling of giving someone a second chance to live could do wonders to your feelings. Seriously, I felt amazing all Saturday after the blood donation.So if you're simply considering to donate blood but you don't know how it works or you think how you shouldn't have to do it, here's a run down on how things will go.

You'll have to fill up a form when you get to the faculty...

Just like I did. Thank you for being the photographer of the day, mummy!

Then they would poke through your skin to get a little blood tested for hemoglobin levels to see if you're eligible. It almost looks as if I'm making a rude finger gesture to the nurse.

Cotton balls to stop the bleeding of the puncture obviously.

Then you'll have to get your blood pressure checked by the doctor.

The registration process is generally quick and simple and you'll be double checked before the donation starts. You'll be told immediately if you're allowed to donate on the spot and if you're not, it's fine. It's the thought that counts, really. These are the requirements if you want to make a donation though:
  • Only donors aged between 18 to 60 are eligible
  • You weigh more than 45kgs
  • You have had more than 5 hours of sleep
  • You are in good health on the day of donation
  • You have not been on medication over the past week
  • You do not have medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
  • You are not involved in drug abuse or having multiple sex partners
  • Your previous blood donation is 3 months ago
  • For ladies: You are not pregnant and you are not on your period
It's also pretty important for you to have had some food before donating otherwise you could always ask for a cup of Milo, coffee or tea at the faculty itself. They even serve sandwiches and Twiggies there which is why...

 We had our breakfast there.

We were a little pushed for time that morning so we decided to rush over to the faculty to donate our blood first because it was a Saturday and they were running on a half day basis. When you're done with the process though, you'll also be served with a drink of your choice and the last time I was there, I asked for orange juice which they would freshly juice out for you. I picked Milo this time.

Getting prepped for the donation to begin.

The donation begins!

Unfortunately the nurse felt uncomfortable having mum take pictures of how she worked so I'll just describe it to you. They would first inject a type of medicine in order for your veins to show and when that's done, they will prick the bigger needle in so the blood would flow and the blood donating process begins. Factoring in your body weight and everything else, the nurses will know for sure how much to take from your body so you don't leave feeling woozy and what not.

The most common question to this step is: Does it hurt? Considering how I am terrible at handling pain, I will tell you that it doesn't. The nurses are really professional and they're quick so it's virtually painless. Seriously, this is coming from someone who was so weak, she would rather eat porridge for an entire week instead of eating proper food after tightening her braces. I was nervous the first time around too because I had terrible experiences with blood tests during National Service.

A whole week's worth of blood tests, two hands and this is what I get.

And a blood clot after. Picture taken in August 2010.

I still cringe when I look at the picture above because I swear I remember how much it hurt, not just on my skin but also deep inside my heart. I was afraid the swelling would never leave, the clot will remain with a scar and other rubbish like that. Thankfully, the nurses at the blood donation faculty are all professional enough to not let this happen so there are no worries for you. I guarantee it.

With daddy Lam because we didn't get a father - daughter picture the first time I donated blood.

Mummy thought it would be boring to have a blog post of just my face so here's daddy Lam.

And he must have said something funny here, I don't know what but I laughed.

It takes just about 15 to 20 minutes for the donation process to finish, depending on how much is taken from your body. While I only could donate 300 ml of blood, daddy Lam donated 450 ml which is the normal amount but that could vary from person to person. Don't worry, the nurses will know what's the right amount so you won't be left dead.

Finished up and just waiting for the bleeding to stop.

It's almost like nothing has happened.

All in all, it takes just a little over half an hour to finish up so the excuse of "having no time" isn't valid to be used when someone asks you why you're not donating blood. If you're going to say it hurts, I've just reasoned out that it is almost painless. The equipments are sterile and the faculty in the University Malaya Medical Centre is newly renovated so you'll know it's always clean. It's a hospital afterall.

And did I mention, new beds?

Plus a place for you to eat. And the exit, obviously.

Oh and if you need to know about the after feels? Here's what's was left back for a day or two but is completely gone right now:

The puncture on my finger to test for problems before the donation.

 And the puncture where they took my blood.

Totally not what I experienced during National Service and I'm keeping a good lookout at it. Coming up to this point, I'm really hoping that eligible people would take the effort to do good and donate blood as it could just be that one pack of blood that's needed to save lives. Someone could live again, another would have someone to love. Someone could create more memories, another could be there as they're made. What bad could come out of this wonderful deed?

 If you've got more questions to ask, leave me a comment. If I know the answer to them I'd definitely help you out. If I don't I'd probably look for a solution for you too. My next donation should be in July and I can't wait.

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