Of Blood Donations and Such

I was reading Suranga’s post on Blood Donation

Have you ever donated blood? I have…only three times, but I remember the first time I did it very vividly..

I was a kid when the Latur earthquake took place…I remember rushing out of the house with the entire society gathering to discuss what can we do to help…One of the uncles suggested blood donation and I remember everyone going to the donation place without any issues, all of them trooped, all the uncles and aunties of the society…no one thought of ‘not donating’

And then again, I remember my youngest mama was a big donator of blood for a long time...I think there was this phase when he used to donate blood once in three months..religiously without any reason…just go donate and get to work..

And then I was in college…the Bhuj earthquake happened…we reached college the next day and one of my classmates went missing…we knew he was from there and just got to know he had gone there..for 20 days, we had no clue of his whereabouts and we werent the batch in which cell phones had made an appearance..very few people in college had it..our batch, I dont think anyone had it at all..

anyways, on the notice board, we saw a blood donation camp in the main campus commerce faculty area…

My friend N (the one who I wasnt in touch with and wrote earlier about here ) and I decided to go and donate blood..our parents were okay with it, as long as we ensured that the syringes used were new..

anyways when we went there, there was a long line of students who were waiting to donate blood..yes yes, long line..the thing that struck us was, we two were the ONLY girls..yes, about 100 boys but ONLY TWO GIRLS!! Dont ask me why? I have no clue…it stuck us a bit odd, but both of us were clear that we WERE going to donate..its the LEAST we could do..

So, we went and stood in the line..a volunteer came to us, the whole line looked at us…we were a bit embarrassed being the centre of attention, but we were still sure we would donate…anyways, so this volunteer comes to us

V:so want to donate blood
RM: Yes
V:Are you sure
N: yes ..why?
V: no, just asking
RM: yes, we are sure..

an older doctor came and he took us ahead first…obviously the guys in the line grumbled..both of us said we dont mind waiting, but he was like no I think you should just skip and go ahead..we tried hard to stop him from giving us special treatment..I mean everyone were students right? and everyone was waiting to donate, so why special treatment to us?? it never occurred to either of us, that may be it was because we were the only girls..we kept protesting but three of them practically wrestled us to lie down on the bed…hehee 🙂

anyways, we were not given adjacent beds..and this was the first time I was donating..

So I lay down…a very sweet lady came..

RM: Will this hurt?
L: not at all..just relax and let me find the right place to insert the needle

and then she searched and searched and searched..she couldnt find it..then she called a doctor..he too searched,…it was getting hilarious honestly…since it was not exactly a closed place (It was held in one of the classrooms) the whole crowd was looking at me and smiling…I was like gosh!

I gave them my right hand and said ‘Acha search here, perhaps you can find some blood’

Doctor: oh you have a lot of blood, we are just trying to find the right way to extract it!

RM: yaa right (I was overweight even then! though weight had nothing to do with his statement, but the cynical me took it that ways!)

Finally they found the right place, and started the blood flow into a bag

and this was the Eureka moment for me…

RM: OH MY GOD! MY blood is RED!

I actually said that so loud…that everyone started laughing..so loudly that one of the nurses had to tell a volunteer not to move as she was inserting a syringe 🙂

Anyways, the process didnt even take like 10 minutes…just as the lady finished removing the syringe and all…I heard a huge thud! I got a bit scared wondering if my heart was wanting to do some extra loud pumping for the lost blood, when I realised someone had fallen down…

Gosh! what funny people, they faint as well I thought..as soon as I thought I should get up and sit, I had three people rushing towards me, asking me to continue to lie down..

RM: but but, I already donated once…you want more blood???

As if the guy was a vampire asking me for blood..but then on second thoughts, a vampire wont ask me, it would just take it directly na…

Anyways, I digress.

L: no no, just lie down

RM: but I am fine

L: no no you are not

RM: WHAT?

L: Please lie down for 2 more minutes

Which I did..now remember that i was lying down in public so its not a very comfortable sight..but anyways,…as soon as I got up, I had someone hand me glucose biscuits in my hand and tea in my hand and I am like everyone else is going to the eating area, why are they giving me on the bed it self…

Uncomfortable with all the attention, I tried to refuse, when one guy practically pushed the biscuits into my mouth..I was like ‘What???’

are you fine, are you fine, are you dizzy and all that they asked me…I felt perfectly normal…I mean seriously, my mind didnt believe that my body lost blood or something…I was totally okay!

I assured them I was fine..when one lady came to me and asked ‘you know the other girl who gave blood’

RM: yes, she is my friend

Lady: She fainted..

RM: WHAT!!

That was the thud I had heard…apparently my friend got up without warning, not heeding to the guy’s advice to lie down till the pressure came to normal and got up like a hero only to fall down all over again…

I couldnt help laughing loudly…

N: Oye dont laugh

RM: You are so funny

N: Arey because I fainted, they even gave me orange juice

RM: lucky girl

Anyways, thats when some myths of blood donation were dispelled for me

1. Its not at all dangerous..
2. Never get up immediately after donating blood, slowly raise your body, ensure that you get your orientation right…some people have no issues, some people may not be able to take the sudden rising..you dont know what is your category, so just take it easy
3. It doesnt hurt AT ALL
4. Your body regenerates that blood is about 2 hours or so..so you are not going to feel faint or weak at all..also, mostly after donating blood, people do give you biscuits, chai, juice to make you feel better..and bring your body to normalcy so dont avoid that..drink and eat properly whatever they give you
5. Human blood is always red in colour, whether it oozes out of a wound or gets extracted into a blood bag..what made me think it was any other colour when it got donated is beyond my understanding!!
6. Girls can donate blood as well, if the minimum criteria is satisfied..the only thing the doctor asked both of us was, whether we were menstruating…which we werent
Apart from this of course, please read Suranga’s post for more knowledge

Anyways, after the donation drama, both N and I took our scootys and went home with no issues at all..she didnt faint after that…and me..well, all that poking and prodding in my hands, led to a greenish tinge and slight swelling and I had to take some pain killers for a couple of days…but boss, I was in college, so I just showed off the swelling saying ‘I donated blood’ and I am so proud of myself..

I did donate blood twice after that..once again in college and one more time, more recently, last year or so when RD was with me…

I surely think, I should do it more often..

So, go on, and donate as much as you can!

About R's Mom

Not-so-new-mom
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68 Responses to Of Blood Donations and Such

  1. R’s Mom, Thanks so much for posting this ! I had to laugh at that bit about searching for a place to poke the needle and access the blood. While in earlier times, there was never any problem, in my 50’s whenever I went to donate blood, they could never find a decent vein easily, and it always required several tries. I could see several veins elsewhere, but they didnt qualify according to the docs, who were highly entertained by my suggestions. For some reason, I too remember having some glamour issues with getting orange juice after donating blood while in college. I guess nothing really has changed. :-))

  2. The Bride says:

    I have always been rejected when trying to donate blood. So mysterious and they don’t even tell you why. Now, I have discovered that I have some weird blood anomaly, that looks like thalassameia minor but may not be. So I cannot donate blood but never know how to properly explain why without feeling like a freak.

    • R's Mom says:

      arey loads of ladies I know have a problem of low haemoglobin and often cant donate blood…you dont need to feel like a freak or anything….its a geniune problem right? I mean, why would you risk donating blood if its going ot harm you or someone else….the thought counts though 🙂

    • I too have thalassemia minor, Bride. It got detected only during my second pregnancy –my doc had me tested when my hemoglobin wouldn’t improve despite all those supplements. I got the shock of my life when I tested positive– I knew thalassemia major to be positively fatal, so i thought even minor must be pretty bad. Did a lot of research on the net and was finally convinced that apart from giving you a chronic mild anemia, it is a harmless condition. And yes, no blood donation for the minors.

      • R's Mom says:

        yaa? figured out only during pregnancy is it…I hope its nothing to worry as far as the kids are concerned?

        • Yes RM, T-minor generally has no symptoms apart from a slight anemia which gets pronounced during pregnancy for obvious reasons–that is why it is detected mostly during pregnancies in women and frequently goes unnoticed in the case of men.

          If both parents are T-minors, then the kids stand a one in four chance of getting T-major, which is potentially life-threatening and requires lifelong blood-transfusions. T-major girls rarely survive beyond puberty though boys have been known to live to their forties.

          If only one parent is a T-minor and the other is normal, as in my case, then the kids will either be normal or T-minor which is nothing to worry about.

  3. Smita T says:

    As you said go out and donate… that is only thing if it goes out, comes back again… only a word of advise, if you have a rare blood group… pls register yourself with a bloodbank instead of donating the blood, so that they can contact you in emergency…. one of mama’s works for a blood bank post-retirement, they have a registry of such people with rare bloodgroups, and they advise them not to donate at the camps but be on stand-by till a phone call comes…

  4. I have done it only once till now….. 😦 and that was quite eventful.. After I joined work, I had the chance to donate blood (our company organises blood donation drives in the office itself).. the very enthusiastic me went ahead and gave blood. My weight was right, my Hb count was good too. I was eligible for the donation – a very happy me. No difficulty finding the vein too and the process completed in 10 mins. I lied down for some 10 mins and then had a sandwich and lemon juice… came back to my desk.. the next ten mins were blur.. I was in some meeting and fell unconscious on the desk.. my neighbor came to check.. gave me some water and I felt better. after some ten more mins, I was feeling thirsty again.. so I walked to the pantry and fainted there.. banged my head on the wall.. three ppl took me to the clinic.. I had no clue how 3 hrs passed later.. got up to have my lunch and in next hour again fainted.. somehow reached my hostel (I didnt have anyone here with me) couldnt sleep through the night due to the pain from banging my head and next day, situation was even worse as I couldnt stand for 5 mins also. had to take 2 days sick leave 😦 I did all this without telling my parents who were in Chennai then. Once they came to know, they were very scared for me and very angry too. I am no longer allowed to donate blood… after this incident.. even now my office talks abt “the girl who fainted multiple times after donating blood” sometimes even I get to hear my story as if it happened to someone else from my friends and I later have to admit that they are talking abt me which shocks them and is found funny.. but it was too bad to go through then… 😦 I am still enthusiastic abt donating blood.. my blood group is one of the rarest.. O-ve…so, i really want to help those in need.. but I will strengthen myself and then go back with a bang! 😀
    *sorry sorry for such long comment*

    • R's Mom says:

      oh yes, just as I was telling Smita, O negative is very rare, so you should not go about donating like she says..just register at a blood bank..

      you dont have to be sorry for a long comment…its nice that you decided to go ahead and donate blood…not many people would do that…big hugs to you for what you experienced..methinks you are brave!

  5. Nithvin says:

    I would have definitely been rejected in college had I volunteered to donate blood as I was ‘underweight’.. Now, I have gained enough weight to donate it to someone and will definitely not be rejected 🙂 but still haven’t donated (blood) till date..not sure why I am not so enthusiastic about it..may be I am kind of scared..even when I give blood sample for some testing, I always look away from my hands..Just can’t bear to see my blood being drawn out 😦 and since my bloodgroup is very common, I comfort myself that there are lots of others who are interested and can donate ..
    V has a rare blood group and had registered himself with a blood bank and used to doante actively before marriage.. but he hasn’t done since marriage though I have no issues with him donating blood.

    • R's Mom says:

      oh Nithvin, trust me there is NOTHING to get scared..if you are scared of seeing the blood being drawn out, dont look there..just generally chat with the person doing it without looking down, smile at the guy on the next bed, etc etc, most of them are so good in putting the needle in, that it doesnt even hurt…go on do it

      Salutes to V!!

  6. Jazz says:

    You know I used to be little scared to donate blood earlier, and my mom toh was a strict no.
    Last yr, we had a blood donation camp at our office and me and my friend C were so determined to do it. I’ve to say that C had recovered recently and I was the healthier one, atleast I felt so.
    We went proudly, did it and were on cloud 9.
    Then we went to canteen for lunch after sometime, and I stood in queue for the token and guess what, I fainted, just like that, I went blank, the biryani vendor came to my rescue and made me sit. It was bit embarrassing with almost whole office around and my friends laughing as usual.
    But the certificate I got was all worth it. 😉

    • R's Mom says:

      so so proud of you Jazz…of course you can do it..

      About the fainting..I guess, you should have rested a bit more..may be you should try eating something additional apart from what they give you..

      Congrats on making it

  7. Bhagyashree says:

    Same pinch. Whenever I go for a blood test, they have to search for a nerve. 😀
    And no I have never donated blood but have always been at the receiving end. Hopefully one day I will be the giver too.

  8. My Era says:

    I have done it and I totally agree to all you said.
    As far difficulty in finding veins in my arms and hands, it’s my problem at all times that nearly killed me during my pregnancy when the doctor’s had to find a new vein every second day for infusions all through the second and third trimester.

    • R's Mom says:

      Gosh! you are great ME..for going through what you did…I am sure Pari will appreciate it all her life!!

      big big hugs and so so proud of you

  9. That was a hilarious account, RM. I laughed out loud at the thud sound and you thinking your heart was acting strange and all that. I was ROFL at the ÓMG! My blood is red!’ Of course your blood would be red.. What colour did you expect it to be? Purple? 😛

    On a serious note, I have never donated blood myself. Not something I am very proud of. Not scared of the process of donation itself, but of the medical tests that will be done before and after the donation. I know I should get over it and just go ahead. I am trying, and I know I am going to do it very soon. 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      I dont know TGND..it just came out so naturally…OMG, its red!! I dont know what I was expecting!

      but usually in a blood donation camp, they just take a bit of your blood from the finger and confirm the Haemoglobin levels…thats alll..baaki kuch nahi..dont be scared rey…next time you see a camp, remember RM, and how she made you laugh, smiile and go ahead and do it okay?

  10. Smita says:

    I donated blood for the first time some 3 years back and realised that it isn’t painful but manages to give you a sense of satisfaction that you have helped someone somewhere. After that I got pregnant so there wasn’t any opportunity but I donated last year when there was a drive at office and surprisingly I was the only one to do it from my floor.
    Your post will be very helpful for people who are scared to donate blood.
    As far as girls not donating is concerned, I guess it stems from the fact that we are always told that girls mensurate so we are short on blood *i know a stupid arguement*.
    BTW What happened to that guy who had gone missing after the Bhuj earthquake? Was he later found?

    • R's Mom says:

      So so proud of you 🙂

      Well, the doctor did tell me that he wont let us donate, if we were menstruating..and also, when my uncle in baroda was suffering from cancer and we went to donate blood, they refused to accept mine, because I was menstruating..so I guess, there may be a reason behind it

      Arey, I forgot to write, he did come back after 20 days, major loss in his house, but he has bounced back and now works for a great company and is a big shot 🙂

      • Smita says:

        When I read another comment down below I remembered that we woman are usually discouraged to give blood because apna Haemoglobin count is usually low

  11. Mathangi Vijay says:

    Yes my mom is also O negative and she was registered with Blood Banks. There have been several occasions when my was contacted at her Office (that is the only phone number we had those days) and taken for blood donation for serious cases. I have felt so proud of my mom whenever I see her going for such emergency cases.
    I also always have this problem of not getting the vein. Any time I go for blood tests, I have had a tough time and they would prod me in minimum 3 places before locating the vein. The nurses tell me that I have very small veins. I have always been marginally low on Haemoglobin so never done blood donation 😦

  12. Visha says:

    There was a blood donation drive in our college once and I was very excited to attend it. Just 2 min into the room and I was sent out. The people standing outside were first-timers. They asked “itni jaldi ho gaya”?? I was like “naa re…mera haemoglobin count low hai”. Sadly till date, I have never been able to donate blood due to this reason 😦

    “OH MY GOD! MY blood is RED!”

    LOL RM…you are so cute 🙂

  13. Arch says:

    RM, thanks for posting this. I have donated regularly when I was there too ( except the time I was dangerously low weight). One more weird question, when was your last period? As if that determines my level of blood to donate! But, having periods or not does not determine blood donation. It is safe to donate during mensuration.

  14. Such a hilarious account RM. had fund reading it totally ! he he. i would have surely said something like “my blood is red” definitely ! So, hugs on that 😛
    I haven’t ever donated blood. Earlier I’d be scared of whether they were using proper needles and now I have been told that I have some anaemia. I must get myself tested for eligibility sometime soon. I hope I get down to doing it 🙂
    Nice post RM!

  15. Did your friend from Bhuj return later?

  16. ashreyamom says:

    i never donated blood till now.. as i was and still underweight.. but would surely like to do it, at least once in my life.. but my hubby does it every 6 months with out fail..

  17. yes I have twice every year 🙂 when i was in college it helped doing it because for each donation you got 7 lectures 🙂 so twice a year meant 14 days worth of lectures and I always had so many lectures short .. so needed them desperately

  18. Ashwathy says:

    LOL! You had to go and be a cartoon there also! 🙄 😛 Some things never change!!

    And why on earth would you think your blood is any other colour??? 😯

    Only you can start laughing when someone says your friend fell down. Hopeless! 🙄

  19. anisnest says:

    yeah I am happy that I have donated blood too.. 🙂 I did it for the first time recently.. I will donate whenever possible from now on..
    Appreciate you and your friend’s guts yaar and a big round of applause for you guys..

  20. AaeKay says:

    You know RM! I went to donate blood five months ago and they didn’t let me! They said I couldn’t donate while menstruating. I was so sad 😦
    I’m waiting to donate blood. I usually do it during NSS Camp in my college 🙂 I hope I qualify atleast this time!!!
    Mere ek dost ne blood donate kiya paanch mahine ke pehle and she also fainted! Even I couldn’t stop laughing, it was so funny 😀 And she was like mujhe orange juice mila and I tasted it aur usme shakkar nahi tha! Toh we teased her so much 😀
    And what color did you expect your blood to be?? 😀
    You know even they poke me zillion times before they actually take blood 😦

  21. Smitha says:

    Your account is hilarious, RM! You make even blood donation sound so much fun 🙂

    I’ve never donated till date 😦 I’ve been rejected because of being underweight! That was ages ago though. Ever since I have gone well over the other side(nicely weighty), I’ve not donated. Hopefully once I am back in India.. Funnily enough, I haven’t seen any blood donation camps here -I wonder why..

  22. techie2mom says:

    LOL at Blood is red!!!!
    you have a way of conveying serious things in a funny way….
    Our college too arranged the blood donation camp at the time of earthquake, and that was the 1st time i donated blood…at that time almost 50% girls of our class came for donation but, many of them were rejected for donation, because either they were underweight, had less hemoglobin count, or had a recent illness…
    After that i donated blood many times, almost every time there was a camp in college or work place. only time didn’t donate when i was pregnant…

  23. Sangitha says:

    Nice, much needed post. There seem to be a lot of myths related to blood donation. Why do people think women can’t donate? Women think this too?

    One other point that needs to be mentioned is that you shouldn’t donate more than once in 3 months.

    I have donated blood pretty regularly since I turned 20, I think. And the thing with fresh needles – the only thing I make sure to take with me if going to some place I normally don’t donate at is new, sealed needles. Giving blood is one thing, getting something else in the process is not on!

  24. hitchy says:

    I have done quite a few times now… but I still remember the first time… I think it can be a post ! so I will wait and post it 😀

  25. Scribby says:

    This one thing is on my list to do,which I badly want to,but somehow, honestly,something stops me…and I know there is nothing wrong/bad going to happen to me post that..what with Husby donating blood at regular intervals 😦 and so many friends like you who have shared their experiences…on top of that I’m an universal donor 😦 😦

    But soon I’ll overcome my inhibitions and will certainly do it …I’ve made a promise to self!

  26. Jo says:

    Hmm.. Makes me jealous of u RM 😦 I seriously wana donate blood atleast once before I die. But u know I m under weight. Sigh!

    My college was near the medical college, and in case of need of blood, they use to call up our volunteers. And you know, those volunteers will come running class to class, asking for guys with that particular blood group. And everytime I stood up, the whole class will break into laughter and my teacher will say, “No, no, i didnt mean you. You can sit down.” And I sit down and bury my face in my book. This happens 2-3 times and I thought not to rise up again.. 😉

    But I have decided to donate my eyes.

  27. Kudos! It does feel good, doesn’t it? I donated for the first time ever in my life last year in December…just before the Xmas break. I blogged about it too and was very chuffed as doing it!

  28. Pingback: The Bloody Truth…. « Mothering Multiples………

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