Folksy Ltd

Are you a blood donor?

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to share my experience of my first attempt to give blood yesterday. I am a very squeamish person and I have never considered giving blood, although my father donated all his life and my husband used to be a regular donor until recently (he no longer can do it due to a medical problem). Just the sight of a needle makes me feel faint and this is something that I can’t control, no matter how many deep breaths I take or how many glasses of water I drink. However, as my dear uncle needed blood transfusions a couple of times this year and towards the end of last year, made me re-think my attitude towards donating blood. I have always admired people who did it and if I were in a situation that I needed blood, I would like to be at the receiving end.

So in January I took the plunge and registered as a blood donor and the first available date in Tiverton, where I live, was the 3rd of March so I put it in my diary thinking that this will give me enough time to prepare myself mentally. So yesterday I went in, all nervous and quite light headed thinking of what was going to happen, I made it through the medical questions, through the iron test and in the chair. After having both my arms examined and being told that my veins are not very visible, the nurse decided to try my left arm. The needle went in, but unfortunately, my blood wouldn’t flow! She moved the needle trying to get it in the optimal position for what I perceived to be minutes, yet nothing! I was starting to get light headed and sweaty by the time she decided to stop. As she couldn’t just take the needle out and try again, she said that she could try the other arm, but I decided it would be too much for me as I was very uncomfortable. So I left without fulfilling my purpose for being there. Why me? Why couldn’t it be more straightforward? I am not sure if I will book another appointment yet, even though I checked the next available dates as soon as I got home.

How about you? Do you donate blood? What is your experience? Any tips for me? Thank you :slight_smile: .

Teodora x

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I can only say, how brave you are to try, Teodora! I had a terrible needle phobia when I was younger and still won’t travel anywhere you need vaccinations.
But I’ve got so used to having blood tests over the years I reckon I could do it now. You just inspired me to look into it online, but it turns out I’ll be too old in two months time!
So I can’t give you any advice. Well done, though :slight_smile:

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Well done for giving it a go - so many people don’t even get that far. I give blood regularly but they’ve never had success getting any out of my left arm so it always has to be the right one.

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Hi Theodora,

I used to give blood regularly and had a similar thing happen in one of my sessions, with me it was due to the fact that I was a bit dehydrated before I went in to give blood, I had been so busy in work and hadnt really drunk much before I got there, (and I’m quite bad for forgetting to drink when Im busy, unless it’s cups of tea! ) I’m not saying this is the reason with you as I’m not a blood expert. I very occasionally have had the same thing with blood tests where if I don’t drink much beforehand my blood flow is very slow.

Louise

I’ve not been allowed to give blood for various reasons in the past (health stuff, travel to malarial regions) and am not a fan of needles either (one particular time I just lay on the bed with a pillow over my head and let them get on with it, didn’t feel a thing but afterward the OH said he thought they were going to drain me of blood given the number of vials they had to fill). But I used to have blood tests semi regularly and what I found help get the blood flowing was to make sure I was well hydrated (couple of big glasses of water before I left the house) and to cycle to see the nurse. Cycling may not be feasible for you depending on distances / terrain but a good brisk walk should achieve the same result which was basically to get the blood moving (the nurses knew about the cycling so would get me in a quick as possible before the blood stagnated again!).
Good luck with the next attempt.

Thank you. I drank 3 glasses of water plus the one they gave me, but I read somewhere that some people need to drink more, even a couple of days before the session not just on the day. I will try and drink some more.

Thank you :). I am a walker as I walk quite a lot everywhere, including to the donation place, I will try to leave home early next time and maybe walk around the park a bit and then go to the place. Also, drink plenty of water.

Next time I will tell them to try the other arm :slight_smile: .

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Thank you. My father is too old to donate now, but he used to do it twice a year for over 30 years!

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My husband gives regularly, and I have signed up to do so after a fainting “do” last time - I had walked to the centre and don’t really think I had drunk enough. I have also signed up as an organ donor as my dad has just had a corneal graft and the massive improvement in his sight is more than wonderful.

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I want to sign up as an organ donor too :slight_smile: .

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I had given blood for over ten years but have had to stop a couple of years ago due to medication but hoping to return one day. I always had slow flowing blood, no idea why, if I went with friends they always finished before me. So who knows, but never caused a problem. :slight_smile:

I’ve also signed up as an organ donor.

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I can’t donate blood as I am an insulin dependent diabetic, also, as I am the universal recipient, my blood would not be that useful. They like to have type O rhesus positive or negative because everyone can receive it.

Some people have difficult veins and it looks like you are one of them! I have the same problem. I have my blood taken once every six months and even at the hospital they occasionally miss the vein and I end up with a bruised arm. I would say that at the surgery, this happens every other time.

It seems as if you had a traumatic experience and I would advise you not to beat yourself up about it. If it makes you feel any better, the much publicized health benefits of giving blood only apply to men. To women the evidence shows that you could harm your health by giving blood, as you could become anaemic.

Sam x

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I’ve given blood regularly for over 40 years now, since I was 18, and have been lucky to have never had any problems. I think my veins are quite accessible and the blood flows quite quickly - I’m usually done long before everyone else!

But I do sympathise with you, as I know it can be very difficult for some people. I think they are the brave ones, to keep trying despite the difficulties. I have a friend who practically passes out every time she donates, but she still insists on going back. I hope you have better luck next time you go - in warmer weather, veins tend to be nearer the surface I think, so maybe you need to wait for summer.

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I can’t give blood anymore (I used to) as I received 3 units after my eldest son was born. I’m eternally grateful to those that do donate as I wouldn’t be here without donors.

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I started work last year for Velindre NHS Trust one of the divisions is the Welsh Blood Service. I had often thought of donating but never quite got around to it so last year when the local collections lorry was due I booked in. I’m not particulalry squeamish or worried about needles but I do have low blood pressure and they had trouble finding anything in my left arm, but the right was fine. I have donated twice now and so far had no problems.

A few weeks ago I visitied a colleague at the Blood Service and had an impropu mini tour of the site, it’s amazing how much work goes on and what is involved in processing, sreening, testing and preparing the donations.

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Thank you, I will book the next appointment in the summer :slight_smile: .

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I have gived blood twice - only started last year. With my last donation I got a text saying that my blood had been used at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Felt a bit odd but rather fabulous that it had made a difference to someone :slight_smile:
Good luck for next time x

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Well done for giving it a go, even though you weren’t successful this time there is always next time, so good luck for when you try again!
I have never given blood and I am really surprised at myself because as a child I remember constantly going to the town hall with my Mum as she gave blood on a regular basis especially around the Vietnam war, I remember she had a little book and she got several pins bronze silver gold (I think?)
On one occasion she had her thumb pricked and the blob of blood floated wrongly in the little jar, turns out she had put hand cream on prior to going and almost wasn’t allowed to donate on that occasion until they realized.
Afterwards it was a lie down on one of the beds with a sweet cup of tea and a biscuit!
Ooh I feel all nostalgic! :smiley:

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I bet my Nan and your Mum gave blood at the very same place Debbs​:smiley: I had big shoes to fill as Nan was the very first person in Leicester to give blood directly from her vein into her Mum’s - unfortunately they were shoes I was unable to fill. I did give blood a couple of times a year for about 4 years, but it made me feel so ill for the next 36 hours in the end they told me I shouldn’t do it anymore. @TeodoraPaintings it might be that you’re just not a good candidate but good for you for trying when you’re scared of needles - that’s very admirable and hopefully will inspire others to give it a go :blush:

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