Tuesday, March 24, 2020

All donations gratefully received

I saw the call for blood donors, happening in Mullingar all this week. Having seen the shortage of blood in Italy during this pandemic I figured it was time for me to do something for my country.

I had never given blood before. Now anyone who knows my medical history knows that I had major problems holding on to the blood that I had. I did go to donate twice but I was rejected! In fact I think they were going to give me some!
Thankfully that period of my life is over.
Pardon the pun!

So off I went to the Annebrook Hotel to see what I could do.
I had two worries.
A) Would my blood levels be up enough to be useful?
B) Would it be safe to be in such a social gathering?

I was very happy with the social distancing procedures put in place. I arrived at around 5.30pm. You had to wait in a queue ( spaced 2m apart ) and then  register. They took my name and phone number and said they would call me when they were ready to take me. And off I went.

Mullingar was a ghost town (good sign) so I just managed to get a newspaper and go back to sit in smoking area outside the hotel. Got talking to a few people who were waiting at other tables.
Realised that I had only spoken to people by phone in recent days. Also good sign.

I was called in after an hour and a half! I didn't mind waiting as it showed that they were taking all precautions. I just hoped I wouldn't be turned away after all that.

As I was a first timer I had to be assessed by a nurse. She was so lovely. She was asking me a list of questions.
"In the past 12 months have you had sex with someone who has taken drugs?"
"In the past 12 months have you had sex with someone who .........?"
"In the past 12 months have you had sex with someone who has ......?"
"In the past 12 months have you had sex with someone who has.....?

After the fifth question I just said
"Look I haven't had sex with ANYONE in the past 12 months, does that answer your questions?"
She started to laugh and said
"I have to ask you them anyway!"
Fair enough.

She then took a blood sample to see if my iron levels were good enough. She looked at the result and said
"Oh they're 14.7"
"Is that good or bad?"
"It's very good. The cut off point is 12.something".
Phew!

So off I went to a bed. The nurse there knew I was a first timer. She took a look at my arm and said
"Oh you have lovely veins".
"Thanks very much"
At this stage I'll take any compliments that I get!"

She said the blood was spurting out of me and that it would only take a few minutes, which it did. Afterwards I was given a nice cup of tea and a Kit-Kat. Much appreciated.

I came home feeling very pleased with myself. I know Dad had given 50 pints of blood in his lifetime. I don't think I'll catch up with him. But every little helps especially in this strange and difficult time.

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