Something very special happened today.
Thing 1 donated blood for the first time. What a mature, selfless thing to do. He’s only 17. He joins a long line of donor’s in this family including his Dad (10 years) and Grandpa (who was a donor since it started until his death in 1999.)
Click here to find out: Who does my blood donation help?
Two other teens we know were there as well. Yay teens!
Each month Thing 2 volunteers at the blood bank and plans to donate as soon as she reaches 17.
It was a long wait so I decided to put together a blog post to help inform people about the process. Each step is helpfully labeled along the way when you are there.
Click here to find out: Can I donate?
Step 1: Register. Here they get you signed in, check your health card, give you a red placard to carry around and in Thing 1’s case – give you a First Timer’s sticker. They then thank you for your gift.
Step 2: At this station they poke your finger and check your iron level. You are given a confidential survey to fill out in a private area. They talk to you about the process and thank you for your gift.
Step 3: Fill out your questionnaire.
Step 4: Here you are given the opportunity to have a private conversation with a nurse. They review the questionnaire, answer any questions you have and let you tell them if you are there of your own free will. You are given the option to privately decline to have your blood used. Odd but I am told some people use this process as a test for diseases like HIV. They then thank you for your gift.
Step 5: Finally at this point you are waiting for a bed to come available. In the case of Thing 1 he waited for maybe 10 minutes. The needle is similar to those used when drawing blood in a lab. Also similar is the feeling of a prick, or pinch as your arm is punctured. The rest is easy. Just lie back and relax.
The staff is there to comfort and care for you. If you are cold they will give you a blanket. There is no rush. After the unit of blood has finished being drawn, you are gently eased up. They then thank you for your gift.
Step 6: Treats! Now a lovely volunteer, possibly resembling Thing 2, will offer you a drink or snack. You sit until you feel ready to leave. You can browse the paper or have a nice chat with the volunteers. Your blood donor card is filled out now and you might be given a pin to say it’s your first time or maybe your 200th. As soon as you are sure you feel back to normal you can go. On the way out you are thanked again for your gift.
It’s a very civilized, methodical and pleasant process. My husband is in and out of here in less than an hour. For your first time you need plan on being there a little longer.
Thing 1 has never even had a blood test before but he donated. Everyone should check to see if they are eligible. And if you do donate, please let me know in the comments so I can personally thank you for your gift.
For more information or to book an appointment to donate, click on the word gift in this post. This will direct you to the Canadian Blood Services web page.
Here’s an official recap:
The information contained in this post is based on my observations at a blood donor clinic. I am not medically trained. It was done independent of any government agency and intended purely to help encourage people to donate blood.
I apologize if there are any errors made.