The Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donation in Ohio. This is due to extreme shortage of blood in July. The most needed blood types are O-, A-, and B-. The need is constant, and every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood Just one blood donation can save up to three lives.
Sadly, not many people donate. They think that someone else will do it. Or, more often, they are stopped by their own fears. Fear of needles is common, as is fear of pain or bruising. Most blood donation stories that are shared are the rare bad ones, because who tells the story when something is absolutely normal? But sometimes a normal story had to be shared just to dispel fears or rumors. So, from an actual donor and not a red cross representative, here's what to expect during your donation.
When you walk into the donation center it blood drive you will be asked to check in. You will tell your appointment time to friendly volunteers and they will scan your blood donation card. If it's your first time and you don't have one, it's no big deal. I don't know what they do, but they put you in.
Then you'll be asked to read some blood donation information while you wait. You'll also probably be offered some water and a snack. If they have doughnuts, don't eat one before (I did once, aznd when they checked my heartbeat it was really fast. Too much sugar). Someone will call your number or name and you'll step into a enclosed space. This is usually just set up with foldable walls, but it ensures privacy.
You will have to show your blood donation card and drivers license or other form of identification and answer general health questions. They'll check your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. Then they'll prick your finger to check your blood. This is honestly the worst part. It's a quick, one second prick, but it hurts more than the actual needle. It doesn't hurt for long though. You'll then be left alone to answer more questions on the computer. The whole thing doesn't take very long.
You'll be asked what arm you want to use and will be directed to a chair. If you want to lay down, just ask. They'll do something while you lay there, usually checking all their stuff first. Oh, and they ask your name. Alot. Don't get annoyed. They're just checking and double checking themselves.
You'll be warned before they put the needle in, and if you want someone to hold your hand, that's totally fine. Personally, I always have someone hold my hand. I've recruited everyone from friends to strangers to my choir director. It's actually a bonding time. The needle stick just feels like a small pitch and then it's over. It doesn't take too long for them to collect the needed blood, and during that time you can chill out, listen to music, read, or talk to others.
After your donation you're expected to spend at least fifteen minutes sitting and eating a snack. This isn't just a treat to thank you for your donation, it's important. The iron in the snacks helps replenish your blood supply. Also, make sure you drink plenty of fluids before and after your donation. A few weeks later, you'll receive your blood donor card in the mail if you didn't have one.
To make your donation more relaxed and enjoyable, one of the main things I do is simply talk. Talk to the red cross workers. Ask them how long they've been with the red cross and how they got involved. Most have stories they will share. They also travel alot, so you can ask about that. Getting to know the people helps ease any anxiety you have.
So please, don't be scared. And don't think that someone else will do it. The gratification is instant. You leave feeling great because you know you've done something good. More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. Don't let there be a shortage. Give blood.