Week 2: Giving Blood

Buoyed by all the supportive messages from my first post, I went into week two with an invincible optimism that I could take on the world.

Week two’s task would consist of turning up, giving blood, take a picture, and go home… So I thought.

Having filled out all the forms and having had my blood checked, I was all good to go. “Just go back to the waiting area, it’ll be about a half hour wait” the nurse told me. I received the above tweet, from my friend James Potten, in this half hour wait. I chuckled to myself as the welcome forms tell you that a very small amount of people faint after giving blood.

Half an hour with a nervous energy flowing passed, and it was my turn to give blood. I took my jumper off, sat down and the nurse started to find my vein on my left arm.  It all happened quite quickly, before I knew it there was a sudden prick from the needle into the vein, which wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Once it was in, I was congratulated,  and I started to give a pint of my Group O blood. Giving blood certainly felt weird, but it didn’t hurt at all.  You are then encouraged to do some exercises to keep the blood flowing, including clenching and unclenching both your fist and your buttocks. I found myself clenching my buttocks in time with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – ‘Uptown Funk’ which happened to be playing in the background. The nurse took a picture and explained how the demands of blood have doubled over Christmas, so I really was doing a good thing. This made me feel even better as I clenched and unclenched my buttocks away to Bruno Mars.

All going well...
All going well…

The machine beeped, and I’d given my pint. It had taken me about 10 minutes to give blood, which I’m told is about the average time it takes. The nurse slowly got me up to my feet, and escorted me to the refreshment table, where I was offered a drink of squash and a packet of crisps from the table.

I felt great. I was sat down, munching away on my crisps whilst Keane were on in the background. Thinking I completed the task, I thought I’d better check my work emails, just in case I’ve missed anything whilst giving blood (showing the constant professional that I am). Seconds after opening an email, I felt very light headed, and was asked one of the nurses “Are you okay?”.. “I’m fine, I just feel…..” was my reply, as I fell into an amazing dream with Keane continuing to sing. I was later told, I managed to reply to that email, with a blank email!

I woke up with my head being cuddled and a woman’s voice softly saying “Can you hear me?”.. I think I replied with a weird grunt and then they quickly put my on my back with my legs on a ramp, and started to fan me.

Whether it was the lack of blood to the head or the general comedic value of the situation, for the next five minutes I could not stop giggling! Everything the lovely Sister Evelyn asked me I found hilarious. She also found it quite amusing when I decided to take a selfie, moments after fainting (I wasn’t thinking straight okay!). She explained I probably didn’t drink enough water in the run up to giving blood, and being my first time I was probably anxious.

The post faint selfie!
The post faint selfie!

The best part of this story, and maybe the kind of reason I want to do these challenges, was what a gentlemen said to me once I had recovered.

“Don’t worry mate, I fainted and pissed myself after my first time and I’ve now done it 91 times. Don’t let it put you off!”

What a great message to leave on and take from this experience. Turn a setback, into a comeback. With this ringing in my ear, I’ve booked my next appointment to give blood on May 7th and hope maybe I can make it up to 91 times.

Week 2 – Already fainted. Pray for Tom.

Keep your ideas coming in guys… One new experience out side my comfort zone, for each week of the year.

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