It’s that time again, time to roll up my sleeves and donate that precious liquid of life.
The Red Cross donation van greeted me once again with its crimson rectangular trunk as I pulled up outside the Griffith uni bar yesterday morning.
After filling out several forms and taking my weight, Charlene told me to help myself to the selection of cakes, chips or drinks avalable.
The incentives start early right?
Within 10 minutes, Tom, an energetic nurse in his mid 20’s had appeared at the top of the stairs – and beckoned me up.
Had plenty to eat and drink today?
Yeah heaps, I responded.
Truth is, I never know if I have. I had been guzzling water like a madman since yesterday- but it never felt like enough.
The cold blasts of aircon made me shiver, and, being dry air – it didn’t help my hydration status.
As they started strapping on the torneque and increasing the pressure around my left bicep, I suddenly felt like I hadn’t drank anything at all.
Was I dehydrated already? My mouth was dry as the nurse started laying on the yellow antiseptic ointment above my median cubital vein, the nurse – Anna (my namesake) furrowed her head as she poked around trying to find the little bugger.
Such small veins, lady-veins I call them, she chirped.
As she prepared the little sachets containing the needle and tubing I heard the steady ‘beep’ of monitors nearby.
As the needle came close to my arm I looked away,
A sign to my right read:
‘What does donating feel like? Like getting the best biscuit ever!’
A big cartoon cookie with the classic bitemark in it’s side was under the caption.
I felt a pinch, and flinched – a reflex. Almost like a mosquito bite right in the crevice of my arm, then it was gone. The needle was in and all I had to do now was stay still and squeeze a stress ball to keep my blood flowing.
I had a wonderful conversation with Anna, we talked of the crazy diet fads that dominated the health industry, the strict regulations following safety, the curse of vitamins, and days gone by.
Before I knew it, my 10 minutes of donating was up. Anna was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t give the full 500ml, but since my veins are so small (and my blood pressure a constant 80/60), the blood flow through them is slow at best.
Now the next part is easily my favourite.
Cakes, cookies, iced coffee and bowlfulls of chocolate.
Now I’m a Nutrition student so I really should’ve just said “no thanks” and been on my merry way, but they insisted,
You need to have 450 calories after a donation like that, it takes it out of you! said the volunteer lady overseeing the food.
And out of me it did, as soon as I went home that afternoon I slept for 10 hours.
Now this is the part where I rant about how so little people donate. And it’s nearly always persons who have family members affected by cancer, leukaemia, renal complications or a particular chronic disease who do actually roll up their sleeves every now and then.
1 in 30 donate.
That’s like, me out of my entire class.
When you think about it, it’s really not much. You could say 3 in 100 or 33 in 1000.
For an hour of your time you can save 3 lives! Everyone wants to be a hero, well here’s your chance.
Little Sally or Tommy in hospital rely on donors to get better, YOU can make a difference! Over the course of our lifetimes we pump enough blood to fill 3 Olympic swimming pools.
Surely you can spare a measly 500ml bottle full every 3 months?
and the needle is nothing to be scared of really! a tiny pinprick if that 🙂
Donate today or call up to find your nearest donation centre.
The free food is always a bonus too of course.
13 95 96 is the number, you know what to do.
Have a great day,
===Anna Freeman ===
=== Student Dietitian ===