What happened last week? I am trying to remember. I did one thing for the first time in my whole life, donate blood. I did it on my birthday. My company organized group donation and I just put my name in. The donation center sent a mini bus to pick us up.
On that day, I had both breakfast and lunch, also drank a lot of water, which was totally not me. Firstly, I don't usually have breakfast, if I do have breakfast, I wouldn't eat anything for lunch. I don't know why, it is how I have my meals. No matter what, I still try to have my dinner though. Secondly, I don't drink water unless I'm sick or it is really dry, I drink coffee, coke and sometimes tea. However, in order to donate the blood on the day, I had to eat enough food and drink at least 1.5 liter of water.
The lady who drove the mini bus handed out a form for all of us to fill out on the way to the donation center. The form asks a lot of questions, such as if I have ever been admitted to the hospital, been overseas for the past few years, visited a doctor in the past year, had a tattoo during the last year and if I'm on any medication. Some I answered yes, and others I answered no.
After we arrived at the donation center, we handed the form to the front reception, and the girl asked us to weight ourselves and sit down, have some water (what? more water??), and wait for someone to call our names. I didn't wait very long, before I knew it, a lady called my name for interview. She asked me which country I been to for the past few years and what kind of medicine I'm taking. I printed out the description of my medicine, and then she asked few more questions, checked her files, and then decided that I'm okay to donate blood. Then she took a drop of my blood to put in a small device to do a small test, things must be turn out good, because she asked me to go to sit at the waiting area and someone would come to collect me to start the process.
I went to the toilet before going to the waiting area, I had too much water during the day. A guy came to collect me, he is Asian and he can speak Mandarin. He told me that the reason why they assigned him to look after me because the name I put down is my Chinese name, not many Aussie people can pronounceit over there.
He lead me to the chair, I don't know if you have seen those chairs for people who donate blood, basically, you just lie on it, and it is quite comfortable. At first, he tied something on my upper arm, so the vein shows up more clearly, he then rubbed some yellow color medicine on my arm to kill the germs, finally, he asked if I'm okay to start and I said yes. I had a look at the needle before he put it in, the needle was huge, much bigger than the ones I used to have at the doctors when I was sick in Taiwan. It only stung a little bit when it went in, then I saw blood rushing out of my body. I am not so sure what kind of feeling I had at that time, it was pretty amazing. The tube was placed on my arm, and I could feel the warmth of my blood through the tube. I told the guy the blood is very warm, and he said, yeah, pretty amazing isn't it? When it is inside your body, you have no idea how warm the blood is.
They took 430cc of blood out of me, and it only took 8 minutes. My friend came to see me before the needle went into my body, and she went to sit at the resting area to wait for me. When the whole process finished, I just want to find my friend and then go to toilet. I had a lot of water during the day, don't forget. However, the guy did not allow me to leave the chair, he said I had to sit there for five minutes before I could get up. I asked him if I could go to the ladies first, then come back and sit, he denied my request. I thought it was part of the process, so I just sat there and wait. Then I saw my colleague, she just left her chair straight after they took the needle out of her. I was like, why do I have to stay here?!
Five minutes past, a lady came up to my chair and asked if I was feeling okay, she was very friendly and kind. I said yes, no problem at all. Then she let me out of the chair and helped me to get my bag and coat, they were under a trolley. I thought, wow! Very good service, but I can do this by myself, didn't have to trouble her. She then lead me to the cafeteria, and I saw my friend there. There was another lady came to pick me up and gave me a glass of water with ice, this lady also handed a little piece of paper listed things I need to be aware after donating blood for the first time. Both ladies insisted that I had to sit down, cannot go anywhere until I finish that glass of water. I really really want to go to toilet at that time, but they didn't let me. So I just sat down and finished the water.
I was wondering during the whole thing, why everyone there treat me so nicely and kindly, seems like everyone knew I was a newbie at donating blood, so they took extra care to look after me. Then I remembered, when I handed in the form at the reception, the girl there gave me a sticker saying very first time in life and I stick it to my jumper. Do'h, how come I forgot that? And finally, I went to the toilet after I drank all the water in the glass. They have a big red button in every toilet and a big sign said if you are feeling unwell, press the button and a nurse will come to help you.