I Donated Blood!

*If you're not a fan of needles or blood, this post is not for you! You have been warned! 
Since the age of about 10 years old, I have wanted to donate blood! When my Grandad was extremely ill in hospital, they gave him blood transfusions and it made him well enough to go home. I remember feeling incredibly happy that someone else's blood helped him feel that little bit better and made him strong enough to literally live another day! This made me want to donate even more... so finally this year I made an appointment to donate blood for the first time! 

On the 14th June 2016 (yesterday as I am writing this), I donated a pint of blood! I had been sooooo excited up until the actual day where I started to feel more anxious. As I went into the church where I was donating, I handed in the questionnaire which they had sent to me in the post a week or so before; and sat down to read the welcome booklet that they gave me. After a short wait, I was taken to be tested for my iron levels and they went over the questionnaire with me. Then I was told to basically down a pint of water and then less than 2 seconds later I was taken to the chair to donate. 
I didn't think they'd rush to do it that quick so I didn't really have time to fully prepare myself, but to be honest I don't blame them... it was nearly 8:30pm by this point and I was the last donor of the day so they probably wanted to go home haha! I would recommend if you are a first time donor that you get an appointment earlier on in the day when it's less busy and it'll give you the rest of the day to relax and rest up. 

As I sat in the extremely comfortable chair (I want one for sunbathing... perfect sunbed haha) the nurse took my blood pressure and found a vein... she then sterilised everything and put the needle in; which may I add YOU DO FEEL. It is the weirdest feeling ever. It's not like an injection, it's a full on needle. The only way I can describe it is that it feels like someone is slowly stabbing you with a small knife. But it only lasts a few seconds and you soon get used to it, so please don't let that put you off! To be honest, it's probably the same feeling as a blood test, but I have never had one so I wouldn't know; I was going into this completely unaware of what to expect. The nurse had to move the needle around a bit once it was in my arm in order to move it into the right position, which was not the nicest of feelings. She then set up the bag and tubes etc and left my body to do the work. 
At this point, the 'needle' pain had gone but I now had the biggest burning pain where the needle was. I have no idea if that is normal or not but it was soooo sore. It felt like someone had put a hot rod into my arm and left it there; I tried to keep myself distracted so I couldn't feel anything. It only took about 5-15 minutes for the bag to fill up, to which point the nurse came over to take the needle out, which you do not feel at all. You then have to hold a piece of cotton over the top to stop the bleeding and your chair is pulled backwards so you can relax and rest. 

After about 5 minutes, I started to feel a bit sick and light headed, which was to be expected. I suddenly got really hot and sweaty, which is also normal and I felt very spaced out. I had never felt like this before so I was not sure how to react. They moved my chair back even more to allow the blood to get to my head and to make me feel less faint. After I had stayed like that for about another 5 minutes, I sat up and felt a lot better. 

Well... I THOUGHT I felt a lot better. I was so wrong haha! I walked over to the refreshments table and was given a cold drink, which is what you have on the first time you donate. I felt fine walking over to the table (which was literally less than a metre away) but as soon as I sat back down, I began to uncontrollably shake. I didn't really realise I was shaking so much. I then got really hot and sweaty again, and I had a massive headache. I then began to feel really faint and spaced out and everything got really bright very quickly. My sister asked what does it feel like when you feel like you're going to faint and my response: "You see the light"... which you do... all you can see is bright light and everything is a blur.

The nurses reacted so quickly, they put me back into the chair I donated in and pulled it back as far as it could go and I stayed there for another 10 minutes. My friend Kate fed me (literally like a Greek Goddess being fed grapes) a chocolate bar and the nurse gave me some mini cheddars (which I was very happy about because FREE FOOD). 
The nurse also fanned me down to cool me, while she was doing that, she was staring at my face and then said "How long does it take you to do your makeup?!... It's perfect!", every beauty bloggers favourite thing to hear haha! She was having a general conversation with me to take my mind off how I feel and after a while, I felt a lot more normal. They slowly got me back up and checked I was fully ok before I went home. The nurses were so friendly and were so caring; which calmed me down a lot! 

As I got home, I had something to eat and drink and felt a lot better. I had the best sleep and my body got a lot of well needed rest! I woke up feeling a little bit rough. I guess because I donated late at night and basically went to bed a couple of hours later, I didn't have time to drink all the water my body needed (obviously because I was asleep). So when I woke up I just felt weak and had a bit of a headache. I have felt nauseous all day, but I have managed to eat. You need to make sure you don't have too much sugar, as you have less cells to break down the sugar, so stick to water and low sugar foods (which I have not done and I am kicking myself for it). 

My arm hasn't bruised much but it does feel very bruised. I think I was allergic to the tape or plaster they put on it because I came up in a rash and it was very itchy and still had the burning sensation. It still feels very sore and tender and my arm feels very weak. I read up about it and it said it should take around 8 weeks for your body to fully recover. You will feel 100% again after a few days but inside your body is still recovering, so take it slow and get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. 
Even though this was quite an eventful experience and I feel very nauseous and weak, it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I am extremely proud of myself and I can't wait to donate again! I will hopefully be donating again in October/November. Women have to wait 4 months until they can donate again, so their bodies are fully recovered. You now get sent a text telling you where your blood has gone, which I cannot wait to receive; you also get a letter sent in the post of your blood type, which I am interested to find out! I strongly urge you to donate if you can... it's such a simple process but it can save someone's life! You may feel like death when you've donated but it's nothing compared to how the people feel who NEED the blood! 

If you would like to donate, all you have to do is register here and make an appointment in the nearest centre to you: https://www.blood.co.uk/

I hope this has opened your eyes to the world of donating blood! I hope I haven't scared some of you haha, I wanted to be completely honest about how you feel so you can expect what's to come!

Thank you to everyone who has donated... You are truly amazing people <3

If you are unable to donate for any reasons, then please do you bit by spreading the word about donation... share this post and encourage people to donate! 6000 blood donations are needed daily but there are not enough donors, so please take an hour out of your day and help save a life <3

Have you donated before?
What was your donation experience like?
Let me know in the comments below 
(Thank you to my sister Hannah and friend Kate for keeping me company)


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