No Pain, No Gain…

It’s always been a no-brainer for me… as soon as you can, you do. Donate blood that is. We aren’t all called to be doctors, nurses, paramedics or superheroes (yes I do consider them to be in the same category!) but provided you’re over 16 years old, weigh more than 50kgs (no problems here) and are in relatively good health you have the opportunity to share a precious resource that is used to save lives.

I firmly believe that only Jesus saves, but sometimes He uses blood transfusions in the process. Like the time He saved my mother’s life almost 30 years ago when internal bleeding nearly took her from us, and when He rescued my brother in the accident that took my Father’s life.

Each time I donate blood I try to imagine the recipient’s family… Is it a newborn like I was, a little boy praying his big brother will make it through, a husband trusting that the mother of his children will be restored to good health… It’s for them that I spend 20 minutes at the WP Blood Transfusion Service every couple months giving back.

Just like the rest of the population, I’m not a big fan of needles but if I didn’t do things that scare me sometimes life would get pretty boring. I gave my first pint of blood at 16 and do so every opportunity I get. My dad was a regular donor and a few days after my 16th birthday he took me along to donate.

The whole process is not as bad as people think it is…

For me the toughest part is the questionnaire… I live in constant fear of saying yes to the wrong question… Why yes I am pregnant (I’m not) or yes I am a nurse who has had contact with blood (I’m a teacher, not much blood involved most days), or yes I do operate heavy machinery (I drive the smallest car any tall person ever owned) or yes I do have malaria (I spray more mosquito repellent than deodorant!)…

The next stage, the prick on the finger where they test your iron levels hurts more than the actual needle! I feel like a big baby when they squeeze that tiny drop of blood onto the slide for the machine that tests it (that would be the professional medical term yes, blood testing machine thingy). Sometimes my iron levels are lower than they should be and on those days they won’t let me donate but I never let that stop me from trying again…

Once my iron levels have passed the test I choose a seat… Little secret, I always donate at the permanent clinic in N1 City Mall… No, not so I can do a bit of shopping after, although that helps… It’s because they have the most comfortable chairs ever! Like big lazy boy recliners, awesome. Last year I went to donate in the middle of my exam marking and actually feel asleep while donating! The nurses rushed over to check on me, I opened one eye and said, “I haven’t fainted. I’m a teacher and need sleep.” They laughed and let me enjoy my brief snooze.

The whole process from questionnaire to biccies and juice after takes about 20 minutes. It sometimes takes me longer than that to find a parking at Canal Walk! This is 20 minutes well spent, I reckon. 20 minutes spent in the service of others, strangers that you will more than likely never meet!

I did not venture there alone. My family, aka The Meyer Ladies, were my cheerleaders.

The little sister is ten years too young to donate…

The other sister had recently had bronchitis and was not allowed to donate…

But the Mother was a legend!

First time donating in over 12 years, she was a trooper! Despite feeling nervous and scared, she did it with a smile on her face!

So after about 900 ml of Meyer blood had been collected we were rewarded with juice, bottled water and biscuits. And in 56 days time, we get to do it all over again!

Advertisements