Vlad’s back! 

It’s that time again, time to roll up my sleeves and donate that precious liquid of life.

Blood!

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.

  
The nurse positioned outside – Charlene, smiled as I approached the undercover zone. A clipboard in hand and a tray of sea salt chips and small cakes on the table.

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.

giphy
cred. giphy
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.

Damnit!

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.

well, a little cookie never hurt nobody.  cred red cross.
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.

snapchats were of course, neccesary
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.

The food!!

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, 

really….

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.

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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.

 

cred. Aust red blood service
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.

cred google

Have a great day,

===Anna Freeman ===

=== Student Dietitian ===

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I WANT YOUR BLOOD

Not literally.

But that is how i felt today when the friendly Bloodvan came along to Uni and parked quite squarely into my usual parking space.


What’s a bloodvan you ask?

well, It’s pretty much; a van.

A van that takes blood from willing volunteers.

Now, before you run off telling all your friends that vampires are real and they’re making a comeback with six wheels, lets not get carried away.

The Bloodvan, lets just call him Bloody, comes along maybe every 5 months or so and he stays for around a week before it’s off to get more blood from somewhere else, kinda like a massive mechanical mosquito.

without the malaria.

Or the wings for that matter.

Or any weird high-pitched screechy noises that wake you up in the middle of the night and make you hyper anxious and flap your blankets wildly in the air at any attempts to thwart the little bastard.  And you’re just like….

kill_it_with_fire

where was I.

Oh yeah,

Bloody is roughly a trapezoid shape with some windows, about 10metres long and completely red. It’s got a massive Blood droplet on its side with some very happy people on the side with a speech bubble saying

I survived x because of you, thanks!’

and on the other side;

‘save a life today!’

 

Bloody couldn’t have been more  propagandistic if he tried.

I remember the first time i donated blood…. It was only a  year ago. it was with my best friend, and we were well, young 18 year olds with a newfound sense of independence and daring.

No idea what to expect….

So we rolled up our sleeves, we drank at least 4L of water before and patiently sat outside, waiting for the unknown. I swear we ran to the toilet 10 times within a space of 2 hours that day.

The process was relatively simple, you sign up, or call. Tell them what day and what time you can come in, and then wait….

Alot.

When you walk into the van it takes a little while to adjust to the area. When i was young, I attended musicals and theatres where the dancers disappear behind the curtain after their part is done, I found that entering the Blood van is a lot like that.

From the outside looking in, it looks really mysterious, your mind drifts away with imagination. What are behind those doors? are there blood bags lying around everywhere?  are the nurses who run the program actually mad scientists who strap you down and poke you with things like they do in those horror movies? Are there blood drained bodies and vampires lurking around?

Let me just say…. it is nothing like that.

It’s also very interesting. As you walk inside you find it hard to believe that in such a confined space there is SO much room!  As one of my favourite TV characters says ‘

‘It’s bigger on the inside!’

See what i did there David Tennant…..

Doctor-Who-doctor-who-for-whovians-28293698-426-240
Why do i even bother

There’s no straps or blood bags lying around, there’s no mad scientists and certainly no vampires.

In fact the whole procedure is over in around 5-10 minutes, they’re VERY accommodating and make you feel very comfortable. If at any time you feel uncomfortable they let you go

And I know a lot of people will never give blood, because the mere thought of needles is enough to freak them out…. but!

Watching the venous blood drain away from my arm, it was fascinating.

Not in the freaky, psychopathic kind of way, but in the way that this blood, MY blood was leaving me and going to someone else.

Someone who could be a few hundred metres away ( the local hospital is attached to my University). And it was my life force, my precious scarlet fluid.

Thousands of litres of it circulated around my body every year, tonnes of it in a lifetime, a tsunami worth of blood; held captive in us all.

And what do we do?

keep it all for ourselves.

When they only take around 400ml of it, that’s less than a water bottle worth. Once every year, if everyone did that we would NEVER run out of blood. Hospitals wouldn’t need to plea with the public to donate a portion of your blood.

Everyone wants to be a Hero.

And saving a life?

Well, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty heroic to me.

TIPS AND TRICKS

– don’t go if you’re tired, afraid of needles or dehydrated

-don’t go if you’re anaemic

– drink HEAPS of water, like you’re literally going to explode amounts

– you need to be ATLEAST 50kg and a healthy weight.

Update: this is how your arm looks a day after…

PROS!

– you get your blood results and blood type!

– you get FREE FOOD!!!!

– your blood ( that’s free in your body) IS SAVING A LIFE!

CONS:

needles ARE pointy.

– no exercising that night.

– you feel a little tired afterwards.

Remember! the number is 13 14 95