by Judy Littau
As a first time donor I have to admit that I was a little nervous about giving blood but felt that what Dustin went through being a recipient of over 125 units of blood in his battle, this is the least I could do – put on my “big girl panties” and put up with a little pain. BUT I have to say that the anticipation and not knowing how things were done was worse than the actual giving. A little tour – you register with the lady at the computer inside the door, she then sends you to another person who takes down your personal information and gives you a bar code. You head to another computer where you sit down and answer many questions to see if you are eligible to donate. Once that is done you wait to speak to a nurse who reviews your questionnaire, takes your temperature, blood pressure and pricks your finger to make sure your hemoglobin is high enough. Once that is done she gives you a nice package with 4 bags in it – don’t let that scare you cause you don’t fill all 4 – just one bag and they use the rest later to separate the blood components as one donation helps up to 3 people. Your next step is to sit on a comfy lounge chair – much like you sit on at the pool or beach. They then put on tight band on your bicep, feel around for vein, wash your arm area then insert the needle. These people are the best in the profession so I really did not feel anything. Once the blood is flowing it takes between 5-20 minutes to fill your bag. Once done, you hold gauze on your arm and rest in chair for 6 minutes then you get a cool bandage and then sent to the food table for a treat and drink. It is like a buffet table in Kemptville – cookies, muffins, donuts, chips, strawberries and many choices of juice, soft drinks, coffee/tea, water and of course great hostesses that wait on you. Nice time to have a chat with fellow donators. Once I finished donating my biggest question to myself was “Why did I not start doing this earlier in my life – why did it take my son getting sick to make me open my eyes to the importance?”. I have my next appointment booked for December 29th and will book every 3 months to give. I hope my story helps those that are sitting on the fence because they are nervous about the unknown of giving blood.