My First Experience @ Donating Blood!

Early morning, yesterday, KG got a call from a friend to join him and his club for a blood donation drive and he readily agreed.

Soon, we were ready and without having our breakfast, (yeah, we are like that only!) rush to the blood bank which was located in a major hospital of the city.

We meet our friend and happily he guides us to the registration counter where some kids in white coats check our blood pressure and weight. KG is cleared first and he gets into the donating blood thing, real quick. The process is a bit long for me as I am guided to a room where my blood group and haemoglobin content is checked.

Now, for a person who once…

  • aspired to be a doctor
  • had studied biology for 6 years
  • had no qualms in dissecting frogs, fishes, molluscs, cockroaches etc
  • even boiled dead frogs on the terrace to get neat and clean bones for making a model of ‘the skeletal system of a frog’…

… a prick on the arm to derive a syringe full of blood was way too much. This made me think as to how we change as a person over a period of time and how our priorities change too.

So, while the lab technician wiped the arm clean and was preparing for the onslaught on my arm, I decided to look the other way and read all the posters on my right thrice!!! It was not so painful but yes, a stinging sensation prevailed for a while.

My blood group is detected and the haemoglobin is just right for donation.

Next, I am guided to a relaxing chair. Another technician starts the process of cleaning the arm and finding the blood vessel, and suddenly he has a brain wave and asks, “Did you eat any breakfast?” I said, “No”. This is heard by the club members and there is a flurry of activity around. I am guided to a refreshment counter where there are cartons full of samosas, bags of potato wafers, boxes of sweets and bunches of bananas.

Now, the cleanliness freak in me is not keen to eat anything in a hospital, so I make a few noises which are audible only to me. Panic stricken I look at KG and am greeted with a wink and a smile! When I see, all my protests for not eating would not be heard, I resign myself to fate (and germs), and take out wet tissue from my bag to wipe my hands clean. What I see next gave me a mini heart attack. I protest finally and say, that I’d prefer to eat a banana. But no, our friend ‘handpicks’ a samosa with a generous helping of wafers and a sweet and thrusts the plate in my hands. I had seen that he had shook hands with so many guys, had seen him handling the various boxes, blood collection bags, opening and closing doors… so eating a samosa that was served by those ‘hands’ was a big ordeal for me. Anyhow, I swallowed all in my plate and rushed to donate blood.

Seeing me donate blood, made a lot of people happy…

  • The Organisers : They got the first woman to donate blood for their camp that day. So, like a celebrity a lot of mobile phones were focussed on me to capture the momentous occasion. They said, it was for Facebook!
  • The Blood Bank : They got a rare blood group in their kitty.
  • KG : He believes that usually I suck his blood with a straw, so, it was a happy moment for him that somebody was sucking my blood!

With 300 ml blood out of my system, I am made to drink coffee.

And we are presented with these mugs, which will be never used by us for tea or coffee!!

A few learnings from this day…

  • A blood donation truly is a “gift of life” that a healthy individual can give to others in their community who are sick or injured.
  • The ‘so called/imagined germ laden samosa’ didn’t kill me! I am hale and hearty. Letting go of a few idiosyncrasies is good for us!

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  1. Good for you, if only those wafers, samosas were hygienically covered and served it might have been very good and also tasty.
    I think when I donated blood , I was asked to eat something and come and after donation, I was offered some coffee and biscuits. i got a certificate saying I donated blood. Those mugs look awful, I am sure nobody would like to drink anything from them.
    Even I am very particular about people’s hands and other such touchy things, but my husband is totally opposite, he is not bothered about anything.
    Good description warning people to go prepared.

    • Yeah, if these were made, stored and served hygienically, it would have given me a lot of mental peace and happiness!!
      Though it was written everywhere about eating food before donation, we kind of ignored it and thus… you know the story! 🙂
      Certificate is cool…
      Same pinch, my husband is just the same and has no inhibitions about eating from anywhere!!
      Thanks 🙂

  2. A harmless but noble act. It is rather silly that people continue ton have wrong notions of donating blood.

    I think if the critical air is not given to blood donation and the procedure it is as simple as a anti-tetanus shot.

    • You are absolutely correct… it’s such a small harmless thing…
      I liked one of the posters from Red Cross Society which said, “Need is constant. Gratification is instant. Donate blood!”
      More awareness needs to be created about it, for sure!

  3. It feels great when you donate blood. Like you, I too have a fear of needles and I study the wall when the needle goes in but it is all fine after that. Did they have those machines where they put the bag in which the blood is collected and it keeps moving it up and down like a seesaw? My wife almost fainted when she saw so much of my blood floating like a turbulent sea. 🙂

    • Agree, blood donation, gives you the feeling that you have done the right thing!
      Aaah! Never saw the machine you mentioned. They inserted the needle, collected the blood in a bag and took it somewhere!!
      I read about this machine just now. It’s a mechanical tray which is used to prevent the blood from coagulating since the time it takes to collect blood varies from person to person. 🙂

  4. I am AB +ve. Thus I was always informed that I couldn’t donate unless someone with a rare blood related disease needed that group specifically. But I have convinced people in college to donate blood. Many people did that generously.

    LOL at the samosas and their serving hands. Those mugs look, erm, gross? 😛

    • Ok… never heard about this clause for AB+ blood donation.
      That’s great… even we called a few of our friends and they came for the donation too!
      I love samosas and eating them again will never be the same! 😐

  5. A very noble deed by you. it could help save somebody’s life. But whatever said, me thinks they should use sanitizers or any form of liquid soap before touching food as a safety measure.

    • It felt good after the donation… liked the feeling that your blood would help somebody during a planned operation or an emergency!
      The sanitizers, wet tissues, washing hands, I believe are used by a few women like us… majority of women and almost all the men are immune to such hygiene issues! 😐

  6. So lemme guess ur blood group is O-ve? If so u hv some company in me…

    N yea I love the after-feeling of a blood donation.. of hving nabaged to do atleast some good

    • Read that scientists have made a blood substitute (also called artificial blood or blood surrogates)which is a substance used to mimic and fulfill some functions of biological blood, usually in the oxygen-carrying sense. It aims to provide an alternative to blood transfusion, which is transferring blood or blood-based products from one person into another. Though it has a lot of advantages over human blood but has some risks as it may cause heart attacks and deaths. So may be some more research down the line may give us a perfect blood substitute! 🙂

  7. I think blood donation is a very noble deed ! Unfortunately it is one good deed I always chicken out of because I am terrified of blood. I can handle pain, broken bones anything .. but Blood No !!! I guess I would be useless in all emergencies 🙁

  8. Wow, good for you. My husband was a regular blood donor. I haven’t approached anyone for blood donation because my haemoglobin is always borderline. But, with the loads of poking that I’ve endured over the years, I am okay with syringes and needles. I just look the other way and wait for it to be over.

    • This July when my father was going for his gall bladder removal surgery, the hospital asked for blood donation. Since, I was the only one along with my Mom, I went to this blood bank… all the physical examination and Hb test later, I was found to be low on Hb by 0.2 g/dL. So I was rejected and had to call family to do the honors! Thankfully, it was fine this time!
      Needles are not so painful but that initial feeling of dread… that is a bit unsettling!

  9. At times eating foods like samosa, etc. even on street stalls can increase our immunity to such foods. At least that is the excuse I give myself to eat them anyway! 🙂 My blood level is too low for donation it seems. Not that I went anywhere to donate blood but my doctor said so while examining me for viral fever!

    Destination Infinity

    • Yeah, that’s right, people do say that eating street food gives you immunity… but in my case the conditioning for cleanliness was right from childhood and now it is going all the more strong! So all the street food, unhygienic places are a big NO NO for me!!
      Oh, in that case, you must take care!! 🙂

  10. WOW now that is true , giving blood is gift of life for sure.

    I have been regular since my first year in college, twice a year , in those days it was for my benefit too as we got 6 lectures for one donation 🙂 so did not have to attend college for 6 days and still be marked PRESENT 🙂

    I dont like syringes but being a man or SHOW Off i take it so shhhhhhhhhhhh 🙂 looking other way helps ..

    I still give twice a year so its ok got used ot it now


    • Wow!! Twice a year, every year is so wonderful!! Very impressive! 🙂
      That’s an innovative incentive to donate blood in college!! 😀
      Yeah, looking the other way is the trick to face these piercing needles and syringes! 🙂

  11. im glad you wrote on this.. I’m meaning to write a few medical articles in coming months and one which is partly done in MY EVERNOTE is the need for donating blood and certain misconceptions of general public.
    As an anaesthetist in the operation theatre, I’m the one who gets these blood bags during surgeries when we need to replace active bleeding and I can assure you, it is then that you realise how much the simple act of donating blood can help save the life of an unknown stranger even… have struggled with so many patients so many nights and days with lack of blood/blood products

    • You must share your medical experiences, Roshan, it would be so enlightening, as it would be coming from a practicing professional. This one here is just an experience sharing post, with no advice/tips/techniques. Looking forward to the medical series from you! 🙂

  12. I have donated blood about four times, but in the last few years, a couple of bouts of malaria have kept me from doing that. We used to have blood donation camps in college and later at work. I must have to have something sugary after a donation, so a Fruity and a banana was pretty standard. Samosas and memorabilia are a new addition? 😉 But good for you, Shilpa. Like Roshan said, every little bit makes a difference.

    • 4 times is pretty cool! 🙂
      Somehow, we have not had these camps at college or even at work place!
      Oh, now, I remember, we used to have these blood donation camps at the various factory locations of Cipla, but never at HO, where I worked! 🙁
      Fruity and banana…I believe they make more sense than these samasa wafers etc!

  13. You “boiled dead frogs on the terrace “??? Oh My!! ha ha
    Blood Donation is something thats very easy on our part yet can really play a significant role in saving someones life…Kudos Shilpa…And yeah about the germ laden samosa, sometimes you just need to let go and too much analysis of microscopic details does not help 😀

    • Yeah, I simply loved Dissection period in school and college and thus the enthusiasm to boil the frog and get neat and clean bones! Gosh, I just realized that I had this cleanliness bug even then!! 😛
      Yes, have pledged to donate blood now twice every year!
      Letting go is not so easy but when you do so, it feels better. Agree! 🙂

  14. You went to donate blood emtpy stomach?

    Shat Shat pranam!!!

    And u surely were a prankster in good old days haan? 😀

    And kudos for donating bloood…I donated 1st time some 3-4 years back and it was a proud moment….now I do it once a year….

    • LOL 😀 First time tha na, so never knew the nitty gritties (despite being a science graduate!! Truly, shame on me!! :D)
      That’s so awesome… doing it every year and doing your bit to save lives!!
      We will make it a ritual too! 🙂

  15. good on you gal and yup even I ask the same question- on an empty stomach ? not on a blood donation day, not on any day (gee that was the food blogger in me). I can imagine how you might have stomached the samosas , however nice job shilpa !

    • Didnt had the yummy goodies that you prepare and post on your blog that day in our kitchen so… 😛
      Don’t remind me of that… I just managed to gobble it up without thinking about anything!!
      Thanks 🙂

  16. Shilpa,it is a very noble cause.
    Let me tell you..Sometime back,I underwent a surgery for which ten bottles of blood were needed and fast enough.
    Though blood was arranged by the hospital,it had to be replenished.Family and friends did that for me.Fact is,if hospital didn’t have stock of blood,may be I wouldn’t be commenting on your blog.
    Someone like you–a blood donor must have donated blood for some one like me or other needy people.
    Keep up the good job

  17. This is so good and one of a best cause a man could do and I wish everyone who is healthy should give blood. Your account on donating blood is fun reading… and being clean conscious is good.