I grew up going with my parents when they donated blood – it was a special treat (mostly because as the daughter of a donor you could blag biscuits!!) As soon as I turned 18 I started donating – particularly as by blood was useful. I’m O negative – ‘the universal donor’ – because anyone with any blood group and rhesus negative or positive can be given O neg (to sound like I’m in ER!) blood, so it’s often used in an emergency before the blood type of the patient is confirmed.
Right through university years I carried on donating – although I would be wary of what alcoholic proof content these years of blood contained!
Like my mother, I am a slow bleeder (it gushes out of my Dad) and so sometimes I would time out before giving a whole pint – but it was still useful (although probably not a full armful!!)
Being a proud Brummie you can’t mention donating blood without reference to the famous Tony Hancock (who was born in Southam Road in Hall Green where I used to have piano lessons) sketch…….
“A pint? Have you gone raving mad? I mean, I came here in all good faith, to help my country. I don’t mind giving a reasonable amount, but a pint? Why, that’s very nearly an armful.”
I remember when I started work as an accountant that one Friday lunchtime everyone else went for a pint, whilst I went to give one *polishes halo*.
When I had my first child we found out that the husband was O negative too. This meant that our children had to be O negative – and also meant I wouldn’t have the complications some mothers can have if the child is rhesus positive (something to do with antibodies #notadoctor!) Interestingly I was believed that my husband was the father of my children in all 4 cases, and so wasn’t forced to have the anti d injection post births (their faces as well as their blood groups definitely confirm their parentage!!)
My first birth was pretty traumatic (there’s a whole separate blog post in that!) but I lost a lot of blood and had to have a plasma transfusion. All was well – thankfully – but that now means I’m not allowed to donate blood any more. It’s all to do with CJD – more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease (and let’s face it – it’s probably something I’ve been referred to at times!) – and other diseases that may not have been screened for historically. I thought there might be a time limit on giving again – but 13 years on, I’m still not allowed to.
I’m quite sad that I can’t donate any more – as the relatively painless procedure can save lives. So many people have to have transfusions – be it post accident, operation or going through other treatments for diseases like cancer – that blood supplies often run low.
I never looked at the needle going in to my arm (I look at operations etc through my fingers on the TV – I am ridiculously squeamish) but it wasn’t an unpleasant experience – and you really could save a life.
Not often you can say you’ve saved a life by lying down for a bit and then consuming a biscuit and a cup of tea! Definitely my preferred way to be a superhero!!