However, the latest bizarre twist in my Mum's on-going saga is that (we think) she isn't producing enough blood. Which means that, every few weeks, she has to go for an infusion and get topped up.
I never thought of blood being used like that. Surgeries, accidents, transfusions...That's what I thought of when I thought of people needing blood. Not people who need it just because they don't have enough/don't make enough. I decided that well, if Mum's going to use it, someone had better put some back! So after meaning to for months I gave my information to the blood donor stand that appeared where I work, the call came, and a month or so later off I went.
I'm not going to lie, it wasn't exactly fun. But who honestly expects being stabbed with long needles to be fun? It wasn't hard either! If you're scared, tell them you're scared. They were lovely anyway but they were even more lovely when I said that I was a bit nervous! I have to say though, it's probably easier for other people who are slimmer. The nurse kindly said I had "bashful veins". Which I believe loosely translates as "being pudgy makes it harder to find your veins, especially when they try their best to hide anyway". Which translated to them spending about 25mins trying to find a vein.
First you have a little finger-prick iron test, which I failed, meaning that they had to do the big iron test (apparently this is unusual/not normal, so don't worry). A nurse tried in vain to find a vein (teehee) for about 10mins with no success. So little success in fact that at one point, as I was breathing deeply and staring fixedly out of the window trying to think happy thoughts, she said "Oops!" Now, I don't know about you, but pretty high on my "Things I Never Want To Hear From Someone Putting A Needle Into My Arm" list is the word "Oops!". The extent of her oops is still revealing itself on daily basis in the shape of an expanding bruise on my arm:
Tuesday night...Entry and surrounding bruise.
Friday night...It seems to have finished growing (3-4", not bad for one needle hole!), now for it to fade! :S She did a damn good job on me!
From what I gather from the very kind (and much better at vein-finding) man who she called in to help, she went through the vein instead of into it. Gross. But hey, now you know that even if things go a bit wrong, you don't die and it's not that bad. :) Of course, Super Vein-Finder Guy did the actual donation (after my iron levels were approved. . . You can't donate if your iron levels are below 125). It still took 15mins to find a vein, at one point he tentatively mentioned giving up and trying again another day, until I pointed out that I'd spent longer looking for a parking space than he'd spent looking for a vein (and paid £2.40 for the minimum up to 4hrs hospital parking), so could he please give it a few more tries. Which he gamely did, and eventually set me up.
Surprisingly it's very quick to get a pint of blood out, and what with all the distractions (did you know you are supposed to keep clenching/unclenching not only your hand to make the donation smoother, but also your butt when you donate blood to stop you fainting (or some such side effect)? Me neither) I was pretty surprised when they came to un-hook me.
So basically, it's not gross, if I hadn't have looked I wouldn't have even seen any blood OR any needles, it doesn't really hurt (even though the nurse ran me through with the needle it's just regular bruisey sore), no fainting, or puking, AND you get drinks, a biscuit and a sticker. What more reason do you need? If you do need more reasons, if you give enough blood you get a keyring, and different coloured donor cards, and eventually a crystal trophy for 100 pints. Plus, you're automatically an awesome life-saving type of person. But don't forget the sticker and the keyring and the trophy. ;)
Please, please think about saving someone's life and signing up as a blood donor. I hope I haven't put you off (no-one's squeamish about bruises, right?!). You'll be fine. Nothing bad will happen. Only good things will happen. Great things might happen. Someone might live because of you.
One day you might be glad someone else gave blood . . . make someone else glad that you did too.