In April, I gave blood for the first time, and it was a really enjoyable experience. I remembers always wanting to do it since I was little, probably some episode of ‘Boy Meets World’ popped the idea in my head. Anyways, I’ve only just got round to it, but as they say, ‘better late than never!’ If you’ve been thinking about it, but not got round to it yet, I implore you to sign up.
Registering was quick and easy. Because I now seem to analyse websites on site, due to my interest in front-end development I must say the site is beautiful and user experience from registering interesting to booking you first appointment is so seamless and smooth.
Once you register, there’s plenty of information for you to read regarding the limitations of donors. Beyond this when you’re ready to book, you’ll find a plethora of places in your area you can do so. I was surprised there were so many, what you may also be surprised by, is how far in advance you’ll have to book an appointment.
I registered to be a blood donor in December and the first available appointment wasn’t until April! I went ahead and booked in, feeling like that date was ages away, but soon enough it creeped around.
I headed to Bromley Central Library after work where my appointment was booked, and it was such a surreal experience.
If you’ve ever been to Bromley Library, you’ll know it’s a little bit like stepping back in time. The building is gloomy in decor and the hallways leave little to the imagination. It’s fit for purpose and they do a great job of what they need to.
The donation centre was on the fourth floor. As I walked along the quiet desolate hallway I started to feel dubious; ‘what had I got myself into?’ but as I approached the room all my concerns were alleviated.
The room was bright and modern and felt like a cross between stepping into a hospital bay and your local doctor’s office.
On entry to the right of me we’re rows of school chairs all poised facing forwards. A few mismatched people occupying them. To the left, a sign in table.
Straight ahead were maybe 8 people on what looked like recliner chairs hooked up to machines, and there were nurses with bunny ears attending to them. Playing softly and filling the quiet room ..”what if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us” it was the surrealist sight I’ve possibly ever seen.
I gave my name and appointment time to the bunny at the registration desk. She welcomed me and thanked me for coming, whilst handing me a information booklet to read and instructing me to get a large glass of water and take a seat.
The pamphlet went through all the risks of giving blood. All the side effects you may feel as a result. Before too long, my name was called and I sat in a little cubicle for the pre-donation interview. At this point I was asked for my questionnaire and asked further questions about any of my answers that were cause for concern.
Once that’s done they’ll check your blood to ensure you can donate. If you pass the test, then it was time to wait for a free recliner. After maybe 10 mins I was collected by a nurse bunny and escorted to my chair where I was then hooked up and giving blood. The insertion of the needle was a bit painful as I’m quite a baby but after that nothing. I very happily lay in the chair as my blood seeped into a bag slowly rocking from side to side to the right of me.
I reclined into Sarah’s Mclaulaghin’s Arms of an Angel, reading another pamphlet about being a bone marrow donor and was having a very jolly old time. Before I new it, it was time to be unhooked.
A few biscuits and a sugary drink at the recovery table, I was done. I’d given blood for the first time, and it was such a wonderful experience. I’m booked in again in August, and look forward to making this a regular thing.
As you’re reading this post, I’m actually giving blood for the second time in the West End! I realised after I get back from India, I won’t be able to donate for 4 months, so rescheduled my September appointment so I could get in before hand. So, “Hi, from the donation chair!”