I’m not the bravest person when it comes to all matters concerning blood. I have it, I need it, but I don’t particularly enjoy the sight of it. If there is a way I can avoid having to somehow ‘deal with it’, you can bet your bottom dollar (or euro) that I will find a way.
Why am I telling you this? Well, at work they recently organized some “Lunch & Learn” sessions, about organ donation and blood donation. It was very informative and I for instance learned from the people of the Nederlandse Transplantatie Stichting (Dutch Transplant Foundation) that in order for someone to donate organs (besides being a registered organ donor of course), you need to pass away in the hospital for your organs to be donatable. Did you know that? I sure didn’t, (although in hindsight it only makes sense). So even if you are registered as a organ donor, that does not guarantee that your organs will be harvested and used when you die.
About blood donation one of the things the people of Sanquin (the Dutch blood bank) taught us, is that the most required blood type is the blood type the majority of the people in a particular country (in this case the Netherlands) have, because of course that’s the blood type that will be asked for more frequently for blood transfusions. (When I think about it now it makes a lot more sense to me. ) For some reason mistakenly I thought that the rare blood types would be in higher demand for a blood bank. Both L&L sessions were very educational.
After the Sanquin L&L presentation we were asked if perhaps we wanted to be tested to become a blood donor. (In order to qualify to donate blood, they first make an appointment with you, ask you to fill in a questionnaire about your medical history and current condition, measure your blood pressure, test your hemoglobin level, and draw some vials of your blood for some other tests.)
After reading the first paragraph you probably didn’t think I would sign up, do ya? Well, surprise! I did! 🙂 I don’t know what went on in my mind at the time, but I signed up, and I went to the first appointment yesterday. Of course I was super nervous, although I’ve had blood tests done before, but just thinking about that moment when the needle pierces through your skin, and then the blood that comes out, makes my knees go weak. I woman-ed up, went through with what I signed up for, and felt really proud of myself afterwards. A nice bonus for doing a good deed: they make sure you have something to snack on before (and/or after) your donation.
If you do not hear back from them within 4 weeks after your first visit, then everything is good to go, and you will receive a card with a date on it, with the request to come in for a blood donation within 2 weeks after that date. If they call you within the 4 weeks, then you may not quality for some medical reason. When you donate blood, they take 500ml of your blood (which takes about 15 minutes) and they also do another test at the same time, to double check the condition of your blood on that day. Every donation or test is labelled with a bar code, so they can always trace the donor in case they need to. There are specific rules and regulations about when you can or cannot donate, and they inform you about this in advance and during your visit. If you are interested in becoming a blood donor and be bloody helpful, you can register via this link. 🙂