24. Give blood

Scenario A: I’ve been having far too much fun with these challenges of late, it’s about time I did something really brave…

Scenario B: I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps at the moment, I’ll do something to cheer myself up…

Actually, I think I’ll try both of the above. But today it was Scenario A, as I decided to give blood.

I’m quite sure that my Mum / Dad / Sister / Daughter / Son / Ex-husband / Doctor / Dentist (*insert here the name of anyone who has either known me a long time or heard stories of my history with needles), would find this challenge frankly unbelievable as I have suffered from a needle phobia for almost my entire life. I have to say there were moments when I thought myself that this was a step too far. But galvanised by the wish to have a tattoo and knowing that if I did I would have to wait until December to be able to donate blood, I decided that the time and place was right.

I had seen the signs go up, I had registered online (www.welsh-blood.org.uk) (they only take the good stuff) and had a donor number. In fact, it was difficult to find an excuse not to go, since I would be driving right past the donation station at Pontprennau Church Centre on my way home from work. And so, at 4.15 this afternoon, aware that my heart was beating slightly faster than normal and my palms were a little clammy, I presented myself at the check-in desk. A nice man called Alan gave me an information leaflet to read and an electronic questionnaire to fill out. Then we went into a booth to talk through my answers and the procedure.

I was surprised to learn such things as … they were losing so many donors as a result of their regulations on tattoos and piercings, that they have had to revise the rules… it’s not just Africa and South America that can be problematic if you want to give blood – there is now a 28 day post-visit waiting time for travel to European destinations such as Greece and Italy… and don’t take ibuprofen less than 48 hours before donating. I was also (pleasantly) surprised to learn from the finger prick test that my iron levels are above those of your average bloke!! Good for a woman is 12g, for a man 13.5g… mine was closer to 14/15g. Alan told me that a good diet was probably responsible for that. (Pats self on back for continuing to insist on cooking meals from scratch when pre-prepared meals would be so much quicker and easier!!). Alan kindly put a plaster on my finger, and ushered me to the next waiting area.

A few minutes later, I was called over to one of the beds. Which arm did I prefer they used? I resisted the urge to say ‘someone else’s?”… No going back. Time to be brave.

I lay like a good girl, listened to and followed instructions. The favoured phrase of “sharp scratch” was uttered and so we began. Clench and unclench your fist…yes, that’s flowing nicely. 6 minutes of blood, as I lay there watching the clouds go by…

I was doing *so* well. (You know there’s a *but* coming, don’t you?!)

No sooner had she stopped and begun to bandage up my arm, than I began to feel decidedly faint. Memories of having to be tipped upside down on a hospital bed flooded back to me. Suddenly there were nurses all around me, with cold compresses, fans and a sick bowl. I felt like such a wally!!! I lay on my side for a few minutes until I felt myself cooling down. Thankfully I wasn’t going to pass out / be sick / otherwise embarrass myself further! A cup of orange squash was administered, and I was allowed to sit up. Another couple of minutes and I was allowed to get off the bed. Over to the table for another cup of squash and a choccie biccie…or two.

Well I had been brave 🙂


Blood donor


[24 down, 26 to go]



2 thoughts on “24. Give blood

  1. Now…..This must be one of the bravest things you’ve done/will be doing this year (… and your brave encounter that I know is happening today, Sat 6th Aug)…..
    For most of us reading these blogs we know you very well and will be unbelievably proud of you for undertaking blood donation….. I can definitely vouch (?sp) for your absolute dread of needles…remembering the time we were housemates…strangers initially when I answered your ad in the local rag…. Still to this day I’m not sure how you didn’t send me packing when you found out that I have diabetes and 4 times a day came the, essential for me yet dreaded for you, injection!!Even the click of the pen would send your fingers into your ears and a rendition of some song or another…… thank goodness medicine has progressed and insulin pumps invented…I think I can still just see a faint hue of puce green appear across your face whenever we go out for food! 😂😂
    Well done hon….. keep on braving it this year! Xx


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