My blood has been approved!
Just after Christmas I finally got around to registering with the Blood Bank. The way it works in Bergen is you get registered on their page, they send you a notice and give you come in to have your blood tested.
I did that in February. I went to the hospital, got a little lost in all the corridors but eventually found my way there. You have to fill out a form every time with questions such as;
- "Have you had a new sexual partner in the past six months?"
(six month quarantine)
- Have you had a tattoo done since last time?
(six month quarantine)
- Have you been in the UK for more than 12 months in the period between 1980-1996?
(you are excluded and will not be able to give blood. ever.)
Then I had a talk with a friendly guy who kept looked for my pulse. He couldn't find it and proceeded to ask me if I was sure I had one. Eventually he found it and when he was convinced I was really alive, he measured my blood pressure - which is high. Apparently not too high though.
I was brought into another room where I was put in a big chair tilted back. The nurses weren't exactly friendly (will it kill you to sound more like a nurse and less like the head mistress from "Mathilda"?). There was a tiny pin prick and my blood flowed out. They put some in each of five or six test tubes, and that was it. I barely felt a thing and asked if "surely it has to hurt more when I'm actually giving blood, and not just being here for the test?"
She reassured(?) me that next time they'd use a much bigger needle. Oh yay...
I was told to wait about two months until the results came through, then I'd find out if I'd been approved. I just wondered what would happen if I wasn't - if my blood wasn't good enough to give to bleeding, dying people. Would they give me new blood? Replace it with good, approved blood? Anything?
But I've been approved! I'm healthy, my blood is healthy and I'm going back next week to give blood that will actually be inside another human being a few days later. I'll help someone. I just hope I get rid of this cold, because you're supposed to wait 7 days after you've had one.
And I can't wait to find out what blood type I have! What sucks is I'm going to Uganda in August and after that there's at least 12 months quarantine, after which I might not be in Bergen any more. Which in turn means I'll have to start this all over again. But at least 450ml of my blood might help a little and I'll be in the system.
It's such a little thing to do. It might hurt a little, it might be uncomfortable and take a bit of time. But my body will adjust and produce more blood, and I can help a person who really needs it.
I'd encourage you all to give it a go. All you have to do is look up your local hospital or blood bank. Give them a call, check out their web page. Get registered and help someone who needs it. Who knows, chances are you or a loved one will be injured and need surgery. And then it won't matter how many surgeons you have if they don't have enough blood to keep you alive.
By giving blood, you can help save lives.