Everything you need to know about giving blood

This year I decided that I was finally going to do something that I’d been meaning to get round to for a while. In February I registered as a blood donor and booked my first blood donation appointment. It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do but I just kept putting it off.

Blood and needles have both always been a fear of mine and I dread dealing any sort of injection or wound. That being said, the NHS staff at the donation centre were incredible.

The donation centre I went to was at Islington Town Hall in Angel. I went with one of my friends and she was really supportive and even held my hand the entire time I was donating.

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When you have to check in, read a booklet about the process and drink a pint of squash.

I only waited a few minutes until my name was called. Before you donate, the haemoglobin levels in your blood have to be checked. This is just because if your levels are too low, you might don’t be allowed to donate. You can read more about why your haemoglobin in checked here. All you have to do is get your finger pricked and that part’s over.

When it was done, I had to wait for a couple of minutes and then I was taken to the donation part of the room.

At every part of the process the staff talk you through what’s happening and explain everything so thoroughly. I sat in one of the chairs and the nurse tested my left arm to see if he could find an accessible vein to give blood. My left veins weren’t co-operating so it ended up being my right arm’s time to shine.

Before you the needle actually goes in you have to have your arm scrubbed cleaned. This was uncomfortable but it didn’t hurt or anything.

The needle going in felt horrible. I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t feel anything and it was all fine. This is probably because it was my first time and I hate needles as it is and it didn’t put me off booking my next appointment – I’ve actually already booked it for August.

I think the donation part only took about 15 to 20 minutes. I honestly don’t really remember it. I felt quite dizzy and tired which was probably a blessing in disguise. It was over in no time and after I’d sat for a while, I sat with the other donors and had some biscuits and water. The staff keep checking on you and talking to you until you feel ok to go home.

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Afterwards I felt tired and had a little bruise on my arm for a little less than a week but it didn’t hurt. In fact, my arm didn’t feel any different at all.

When your blood has been used you get a message from NHS Blood and Transplant telling you exactly which hospital it was used in which makes the whole process feel worth it. You also get told what your blood type is if you didn’t already know.

If you’re able to, I really urge you to become a donor. I put it off for a long time but I’m so glad I’ve got my first donation under my belt. You can register here.

As always, thank you for reading!

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

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