donation 112

I gave my 112th blood donation today.

They take half a litre every 56 days.

Someone asked me, “Is that a pump?  Are they pumping it out of you?”  No!  It’s not a pump!  It’s just a bag of blood sitting on a platform that moves back and forth every few seconds to stop the blood from coagulating, or whatever blood does when it sits still.  The heart is a pump.  It pumps it all around; and if you put a hole in a vein and let it out into a bag, your heart doesn’t know the difference.  It just gets pumped out.  No biggie.

“Do you feel … woozie after?”  No, not since my 3rd or 4th time.  It doesn’t work that way.  The body replenishes the blood.  I feel no different afterward.  We’ve got about 5 litres of it.  Giving a half litre won’t do much, unless you’re my Mom’s size or a child or you’re weakened for some reason.  But for me, I’m fine.  Plus, I have a juice and a little bag of cookies afterward.

I held the bag of blood in my hand a few times.  It’s really warm.  Pretty nice feeling, actually.  If it’s cold in the clinic, I sometimes hold the tube of blood as it comes out.  It warms the fingers.

“What if the blood still keeps coming out?”  Uh … I had to stop myself from laughing when someone asked me this.  “Uh … no – it doesn’t do that.  When they take the needle out, it doesn’t just keep spurting out.  Haha!  Holes have a way of closing up after.  It’s called skin.  Plus, they put gauze on it and tell you to put three fingers on it, hold it down, keep pressure on it.  …  Okay, I sprung a leak (so to speak) once.  Not really, but sprung a leak sounds dramatic.  I just bled a little bit, so they put another chunk of gauze on it and wrapped it up.  Three or four minutes later it stopped.

This is my favourite.  “Does it hurt when they stick the needle in?”  Well first of all, they don’t stick it in.  They gently slide it under the skin and into the vein.  Yes, I can feel it.  No, it doesn’t hurt, at least not like ramming your head into a cupboard door or hitting your thumb with a hammer.  It’s more like a mosquito bite … but a little more intense … but not much.

I think it was Bob from Idaho who asked me if we get paid for blood donations.  They do down in the States, I’m told.  No, we give blood to help people.  That’s kinda the whole point.  But I did get a nice pin today.

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