BEN’S ZONE: Making the Decision to Give Blood

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Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness.  You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy!

Making the Decision to Give Blood

Patient getting blood transfusion in hospital clinic

At the time of writing this post, in about an hour I’m going to do something that I have not done in over 20 years, I’m going to donate blood.  Although I have a number of tattoos, for some reason the thought of needles in my veins worries me and I’ve used that as an excuse, for a long time, to avoid giving blood.  I don’t feel like I can do that anymore as both my wife and my dad have had to have blood transfusions in recent times.  I don’t wish to influence anyone else in their thinking or decisions around giving blood but I feel that I should contribute as other people’s contributions made a difference to people I love.

Booking an appointment locally was easy and stress free, there is an app for iPhone and Android that allows you to locate and book an appointment with a lot of convenience.  I work from home and often work late so I don’t feel bad taking time out in the day to go and donate.  I’ve been feeling mildly nervous for about the last week and so now, as much as anything, I want to donate to override that nervousness and, hopefully, normalise the whole process (I hope this is the first of many donations).  I’ve checked that none of the medication I am on will impact the process and it didn’t.  I did have to rearrange the appointment after my recent trip to India as some overseas travel can affect your eligibility to give blood.

My preparations today have been to dress in nice loose clothing and to make sure I eat a decent meal before donating.  I do feel a little silly about being afraid of something so mundane (that both of my parents did regularly) and experience has shown me that the best way to deal with somethat that you are afraid of is to face it head on.

So, I’ve now been to my appointment but I did not give blood.  I passed all the normal checks (medication etc) but was not able to donate this time due to having a cold.  The nurse was very kind but pointed out that while I am more than able to fight off a cold, if my blood was given to a person undergoing chemotherapy, for example, it could be very harmful to them.  I did know I’d had blocked sinuses and a sore throat but I’d not made the connection between this and a lack of safety in the blood I donated.

I did find the organisation of the whole process extremely smooth and practical.  I felt pretty bad when I could not donate.  I’d spent the day looking for reasons to not be able to donate (because I was scared) and when the moment came I just felt really disappointed.  I was able to make an appointment for just after Christmas and so I will be back there soon enough.  If anything today was a good output as, when the moment came, I was reminded  of how much I want to donate and how trivial my fears were.

Find out more about giving blood at Blood.co.uk

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