One pint may serve better purpose outside you than inside you. If you think this is about alcohol you will be right, but not totally.
I have always loved to donate blood. I want to do so not for the likely reasons people donate blood. I wanted to donate blood purely for the experience.
For the first time in my life I donated blood and it is a worthy experience. I think I am not too proud that after bleeding about 50 blood donors and still counting, I just had my numero uno blood donation. Even though there are many reasons not to donate blood, one reason I have always given as an excuse is the fact that I have had need to be donated for and transfused.
Before I continue, let me quickly list some motivations and reasons people donate blood.
Motivations and Reasons Why People Donate Blood:
- Relative or beloved in need
- Emergency. Being at the site of an accident or in cases of massive disaster.
- For the experience
- As a dare
- For gain
- For educational purposes
- On order.
My motivation, as I earlier mentioned was for the benefit of the experience. This way I can better motivate people who are reluctant to donate blood.
Excuses for Not Donating.
- I have a busy schedule (an average donation process is 30minutes. From the screening to bleeding)
- I am lean (but I weigh more than 48Kg)
- I have had surgery before (that was more than a year before and no medical advice against blood donation)
- I have had need of blood (but not now)
- I am scared of the whole process (everyone’s reflex is normally away from pinches and pricks)
- I am scared of the needle (every honest person is at one point or the other)
- I don’t know what they will do with my blood or to whom it is going to be given. (Come on! Stop being fetish in your mind. We are not cannibals and we don’t do rituals)
- My blood may finish (Where did that come from? Not on our watch)
I have used the first six excuses. Yes, I was also scared of needles but I learned to overcome those by the fact that I should only be allowed to do to others what I can allow to be done to myself. If I can insert needles into others, I should allow needles inserted into me too.
The last two excuses can be due to ignorance and too much viewing of horror movies. In case you are still ignorant of what will be done with your blood, it is simply going to be a drug someone in need will take to be whole again. This is the reason blood, like drugs have expiry dates (usually 30 to 35 days at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.)
Reasons Why You May Not Donate:
- You are pregnant
- You are breastfeeding a child
- You are having menstrual flow
- You are a “sickler” (Haemoglobin SS)
- You are ill
- You are an underage or overage individual. ( for most parts < 18years or >60years which may vary slightly per locale)
How You Will Be Qualified Or Disqualified For A Blood Donation:
You have overcome your excuses and now have arrived at a blood bank or a venue of a blood drive (by the way, a blood bank is a special refrigerator for keeping blood and not a building, but we are still pardoned for calling a building that.)
After the Medical Laboratory Scientist/Technician or the phlebotomist has come to terms with your age, pregnancy status and other reasons why you may not donate but have passed, he goes ahead to test you viz:
- Assessment of general health status via vital signs. Pulse rate of 100beat/minute or less, but regular. Weight ≥ 48kg. Blood pressure: systolic 100 – 180mmHg, diastolic 50 – 100mmHg.
- Assessment of red cell volume via Heamatocrit/PCV, Haemoglobin concentration or copper sulphate
- Assessment of transfusion transmissible infections eg HIV 1&2, HCV, HBV, VDRL, and in some instances Malaria.
Failure in one of these individual tests renders you unfit for blood donation. It is an “all or none” deal. You either qualify on all grounds or we are taking none of your blood. This strict policy is needed for your health as the donor and the health of the recipient of your blood donation.
Assessment of blood group serology. This is considered separate as it will not prevent you from donating as a voluntary donor, but may disqualify you in some instances of family replacement donation where a specific blood group is needed and you do not belong to that blood group.
The blood group usually assessed is ABO and Rhesus (Rh) factor. The ABO system classifies people into A, B, AB and O blood groups while the Rh factor classifies people as either NEGATIVE or POSITIVE (none of these qualifications or appellations is more or less desirable because it does not mean a healthy or diseased state). These mean you can be of blood type “O Positive” or “AB Negative” etc.
Why you should consider voluntary donation
- It is healthy
- It is therapeutic
- It is noble
Unlike organ donation, you are not losing something permanently. You don’t have to die before you donate blood as in heart donation. Donating a pint of blood ensures and preserves life. No one loses, everybody gains.
It is said that adult men have approximately 75ml/Kg of blood and the women 65ml/Kg.
It is also known that an average single blood bag has volume capacity of 450ml (but already contained 65ml of anticoagulant)
When you are donating, you are not necessarily donating 450 ml, you are actually donating from 390ml – 420ml.
So what fraction of your blood are you donating really?
When I first donated I weighed 57Kg (that is actually small compared to my height, so if you weigh more and have never donated…) which means I have about 75×57 ml of blood which is 4,275ml.
Let’s assume that I donated 420ml, what fraction of my blood have I given?
4,275 ÷ 420 = 10.17857 ≈ 10
This means I have only given a tenth of my blood.
Have I finished all of my income by giving tithe? No. therefore, my blood cannot finish for giving a tenth of its volume.
So give one pint and the rest will still be yours.
What you are about to read may not be an exact assessment, but that is how I felt after donating. I felt more relaxed and could breathe deeper.
I don’t know how you felt when you first donated or how you will feel after your first or the next donation but I am almost certain it will be worth the while.
I thought I will just be contented with the single experience, but I see myself doing this quarterly because it is healthy, therapeutic and noble – sharing is caring.
Share your blood donation scares and excuses but also the experience.