I was fortunate that after having a COVID 19 booster jab, I only needed to wait a week before I was able to do recently my 26th blood donation. There is usually a waiting period of three months from the previous donation, and this is adjusted to accommodate additional time for the vaccinations, travel, health and related conditions.
As usual, I got apprehensive about my minute vein not cooperating. However, having followed the recommendations of drinking lots of water the day before and hours on the actual appointment day, the process went smoothly.
The moment I walked in the blood centre's office and got greeted by the friendly receptionist, I felt less nervous. Then I got called by Henry, a male nurse into the interview room where my my blood pressure and my iron level were checked. He found my vein easily and painlessly inserted the needle that was hooked up to the machine that took the bag of blood (approximately 0.5 L).
I found out later that the wonderful nurse, Henry is of Filipino heritage. He shared that he has worked in the blood centre for more than 13 years. He said that he enjoys what he does to ensure that there is a good supply of blood to help with health issues and at the same time looking after the donor in the process.
Another friendly staff member happily took a few photos for me to spread the word and share the life-giving feeling.
Before I knew it, the bag on the machine was full. I was attended to by another nurse, Cyndi who unhooked me from the machine, bandaged my arm and gave me tips on after donation care. It was fantastic to know that she too was of Filipino heritage. I asked her a question and for her comments to include in this sharing, to which she agreed.
"I joined lifeblood not long ago, it was just in September when I commenced employment with them. But it has been amazing being part of the team.
"I enjoy having the opportunity to meet donors like you, who are compassionate in donating blood. I love hearing especially the donors’ stories behind their first-ever donation. Whenever I meet a first-time donor this is one question I love to ask them: what inspired or encouraged you to donate? This compassion to help others is shared by all the members of our team, which I think is very special."
Thirty five year old Cyndi shared that they have been in Australia for 3 years and that she has been a nurse for 10 years. Having now a healthy baby who was born prematurely last year inspired her to work in the lifeblood centre.
Afterward I enjoyed tasty snacks in the cafeteria area as part of the 'recovery time' to make sure that there are no after-effects of the blood extraction that need attention.
Eligibility to Donate
Are you 18-75 years old, healthy and weigh over 50 kg? If you are and interested to donate blood if you have not already done so, you only need to answer another eight simple questions to determine if you are eligible to donate blood as save lives.
Check out the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood website to do the quick questionnaire.
Benefits of Blood Donation
Blood donation saves lives. It has also been proven that the donor also benefits from sharing this valuable health 'commodity'.
For example, you get a free wellness check - temperature and blood pressure taken, and iron level tested on the spot. There are other tests done on the blood before it is sent for use.
Each time I visited the blood centre, I feel blessed to be able to do my small bit to help and to meet the inspiring staff. I hope that you consider becoming a donor, if not already one and obtain the health benefits of being one. Tara let's!