My First Time To Donate Blood

I just did what I thought that time was crazy. Last night, I finally donated blood.

If anyone else is reading this, pardon for the rather long narrative. I’m documenting as much detail as I remember while it’s still fresh.

Earlier during the day I found out one of our company’s maintenance people was shot. He was rushed to Makati Med.

Near the end of my shift, some of our bosses messaged everyone to donate blood. He needed about 20-24 bags, especially blood type O.

I thought to myself why not since I’m type O+? Out of curiosity I checked online to see if I can donate.

If what I read and understood is correct, it turns out there’s a catch. O+ blood is supposedly not compatible with O- blood.

At first that was a letdown, although I must admit I was hesitant also. Fine, maybe a little scared, although I’m not scared of needles.

Then a supervisor messaged again saying that it’s fine; that the blood we donate can “replenish” the blood bank’s stocks while the maintenance guy used their supply of O blood. (or something like that.)

Then I found out that everyone in my row (3 of them) also has type O blood. So, we all volunteered. (and at least I’m not alone.)

One of my officemates related her experience. One thing that stuck in my mind was her description of the needle used to extract the blood: its thickness is roughly that of a Zesto straw.

Admittedly that got me a wee bit scared again. But I figured heck, I might as well do it and get it over with.

Besides, lots of people (even in my former team) volunteered as well. So come end shift, we all marched to Makati Med.

When we got there, lots of people were at the waiting area. I got a form, filled the necessary blanks, but laughed my ass off at some of the questions.

Question #2 asked, “Am I feeling well?” Uh…maybe.

Some of the other questions asked if I was involved in any recent “passionate” activity. One in particular asked if I did so recently for…wait for it…

…monetary gain. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Anywho, I teased my officemates on some of the questions. We all got some good laughs, although I understood why some of the questions were rather phrased the way they were.

I gave my sheet to a doctor. I then chatted with five other officemates (from my former team) who were waiting for their turn.

Unfortunately all five of them said they weren’t accepted for a variety of reasons. Oh well, at least they all tried.

Time passed by. My colleagues and I swapped stories, and we teased one colleague in particular who’s also donating blood for the first time.

Of course, I told her she’s not alone. Small consolation.

Soon, I was called in. The doctor asked me a few more questions, then checked my blood pressure.

130/80. Wow, I haven’t had a blood pressure like that in the past maybe five or six years!

Then the doc told me to look for the next guy to take a sample of my blood. I found the guy, sat, and he did his thing.

At the moment he injected the needle into my left arm, his cellphone rang at the ringtone of…

…an evil clown laughing.

I thought: guy jabs a needle on my arm, and an evil clown laughing at that exact event? Then again I pulled off my share of “evil” moments on others, just didn’t expect this one.

Guy told me to wait outside as they screen my blood. My colleagues look at me in surprise and ask if I’m done, and I answered that they just took a sample to see if I can donate.

(Darn, I should’ve replied with something like, “Done? I’m just getting started.” Heh.)

Out of the 4 of us who volunteered in our group, only one was not accepted. She was told her blood count is still recovering from the last donation she did last June, so she sat by the sidelines.

Soon enough, I was called again. It’s time for the actual blood donation itself.

Just like what my colleague described earlier: the needle was about as thick as a regular juice drink’s straw. However, the length looked just about standard for a hypodermic.

Guy prepared my right arm because my left was already jabbed into earlier. Not to mention my veins are more prominent in my right.

Then the guy gave me a rubber ball. He instructed me to count every five seconds after the needle’s injected, then to squeeze the ball.

Then, it happened. The guy injected the juice-straw-thick needle into my arm gradually.

Damn, it stung. More painful than an ant bite, I thought.

But, the pain lasted only for a few seconds. Either that, or my personal threshold for pain just kicked up a notch.

My other colleague soon came in. Same thing was eventually done to her.

So there I lay for what felt like eternity. Fortunately the TV was on, so at least I got something to grab my attention even for just a while.

It was on ABS-CBN news. The segment detailed how Psy’s Gangnam Style supposedly got into the Guinness Record, and showed that his YouTube video got about 294+ million views as of that time.

My other colleague and I talked about that. She said she was really thankful for particularly the Gangnam Style music playing as it helped her to relax.

Our 3rd colleague followed soon after. She lay down, got prepped, and joined the party.

I counted like every 5-10 seconds and squeezed the ball as instructed. Over time, it (expectedly) got harder to squeeze.

Guy put an apple juice drink beside me and told me to take it later on. He also put a clipboard beside me and instructed what it’s for.

It was probably after 10-12 minutes when he finally and gradually removed the needle, cottoned the injected spot, then said to rest for at least 5-10 minutes more and hold the cotton bud in place. Done.

I soon got up and grabbed the clipboard. Read the papers, found no problem with them, then signed.

Or at least, tried to. Expectedly I couldn’t write well, so I had to do it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeal slow.

I drank the apple juice, walked to the waiting room, and related my experience with my colleague who sat it out. I told her it honestly felt normal except for the needle part.

I texted my siblings to let them know what I just did. My elder brother told me not to go home alone because I might get dizzy, which is what the paper also indicated.

I replied that I won’t be alone. Besides, I honestly felt fine….so far.

The other two eventually came out. I cheered the other one who also donated for the first time, saying it’s a personal new 1st for her as well.

Then, we all ate at Burger King. A way to treat ourselves for doing a good deed…and sort of surviving through that episode.

One of them said we should visit the maintenance guy. She led the way, we saw him, and we were glad he looked A-OK despite what happened.

He even gave the thumbs-up. We waved at him and his wife, gave our best wishes, then left.

We talked a little more. I saw them all off before going on my way.

As I walked to get my car to drive home, I looked up at the sky and thanked God for everything that day and last night. I also said a short prayer for the guy to recover.

All in all, it felt like a normal or routine experience for me. The only thing was the needle, but it lasted only for a very short time.

I felt good, of course. Another first-time thing for me, and I helped someone.

I look forward to donating blood again someday. Meantime, rest yet enjoy life.