Today is all about BLOOD! 🩸 I usually see this day after the event but this year I was organised enough to get a blog post done. So here it is!
Jumping straight in; to donate a pint of blood takes less than 20 minutes. To do the admin and the finger prick test is another 10. Half an hour and you’re done. It really is that straightforward!
The demand for fresh blood is constant as it can only be stored for around a month. Even with Covid-19 causing shenanigans you can still donate. It is just as vital that folk continue to do so.
Prior to having the boys I’ve donated more than half a dozen pints of blood. This isn’t alot I know. I’m anaemic so I would go along but often my blood wasn’t good enough so I would just stay and support my friends. I even occasionally blagged a free biscuit!
I can’t give blood anymore.
I wanted to write this post to explain why it is important to me, because if you can give blood, then I beg you to consider doing so.
This is why this matters to me…
Mid December 2015 I woke up just after 7am in a hospital bed completely disoriented and so weak I couldn’t lift my arms or even turn my head. I made some sort of noise and a Nurse sprang to my side from a chair she’d been waiting in, for goodness knows how long. The first thing she said was “don’t try to move or you’ll pass out”
I couldn’t move even if I’d wanted to. The Nurse quickly saw the panic in my eyes and went on to explain what tubes I was hooked up to and what they were for. IV fluids, antibiotics and 2 simultaneous blood transfusions. It took a while for that to sink in. I did what I was told and I stayed still.
So much blood.
I was covered in it. It was mine and it really isn’t supposed to be on the outside like that! There were patches of it all up and down my arms and legs, on my neck and face. I was uncomfortably aware I was sat in a pool of it and I could see it all over the floor. Some bits had been haphazardly cleaned off, some bits were smeared. It was bright red, wasted, useless and it was everywhere.
My hands and arms were incredibly sore and covered in bruises. I lay there and watched as someone else’s blood flowed into me and I have never been more grateful. It looked darker than mine and I could see it almost glowing with life as it pulsed down the tube (I’ll add here that it probably, possibly definitely, didn’t actually glow. I was absolutely off my tits at this point!)
Later on that morning, after a third blood transfusion and an iron infusion, the Nurse and I counted 18 attempts had been made to get a line in. All these little holes and plenty of angry blue and black bruises littered both my arms and hands. This was in addition to the 4 big clumsy cannulas they’d got in successfully.
A total of 22 puncture holes were needed to try and save me. 22 different needles and 18 frustrated attempts. I had lost so much blood (over 4 litres they estimated) all my veins had collapsed and I nearly died. Technically did for a moment…
It took 3 pints of donor blood for the medical team to be satisfied I would recover and there were two more bags in my room, in a wee special fridge waiting, incase I needed them.
3 pints of donor blood meant that after a couple of overnight stays and sleeping off the trauma, I was able to get up and walk (albeit very slowly) out of the hospital and back home to my boys.
Trigger warning ⚠️
*I had miscarried and then haemorrhaged. My body thought it was a good idea to flush my system out with my blood supply to try and help speed things along. Not particularly helpful as you can imagine! This is a very rare occurrence and my only advice is to trust your instincts.
Please look into becoming a blood donor!
It is a form or two, a finger prick test and one needle you’ll barely feel. You are looked after by specialist Nurses and trained medical professionals. You even get free drinks and snacks and it costs you nothing but half an hour of your time.
If you can’t donate or really don’t want to…
You can help in other ways! I can’t donate anymore and I struggled with this for the longest time. I feel like I’ll never be able to repay what was given. I know it is not about that but it’s a shame I can no longer donate. Here’s how you can help instead;
- SHOUT about it on social media! Share this blog post or share your local Blood Drive posts when you see them online.
- Support your friends that donate. Annoy them, remind them, go with them (bring your own snacks!) offer to drive etc.
- Offer to volunteer if a Blood Drive is held in your local area. There’s a good chance someone will need help hanging a sign or a banner, moving chairs, making tea/coffee. Be useful.
- Check to see if you can donate Bone Marrow or Plasma instead. In some instances you can still donate other bodily fluids even if you’ve been told you can’t give blood.
- Donate money instead of blood! There are plenty of charities that will take your pennies instead.
- Share your story. Tell people how easy it was to do. Tell your story. Listen to others tell their story. Chances are you’ll know someone who has received donor blood.
- SPREAD the word. Just talking about it plants a seed in someone’s mind and hopefully they’ll look into and go along to donate.
My neighbours, the 999 operator, the paramedics, the A&E team and the specialist medical team at the hospital all helped to save me. I was able to thank all of them but the 3 strangers who donated blood I never got the chance to thank. So…
I wouldn’t be here without you, my youngest child wouldn’t be here without you and I am unbelievably grateful to each and everyone of you. All of you who selflessly donate deserve our thanks, not just today, but everyday 💚
Below is the info you need to check where and when you can give blood. Please consider giving blood or give what you can and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
🩸Northern Ireland: https://nibts.hscni.net
Babipur Fun Fact sheet.
Thanks for reading,