How Not to Give Blood (but eat biscuits).
An email went round the office late last night (from our MD no less) with a call to action for something that might help the survivors of the horrific Grenfell Tower fire.
Everyone offered up ideas. Clothes and toys? We’ve read that’s not the most urgent need right now. Money? Yes – let’s organise a bake sale quick sharp. Donating our payday beers (yep it’s a super cool company) to the firefighters and emergency services? Awesome idea. Give blood? Yes yes yes. I’m up for that I answer, and book an appointment the same afternoon at a clinic round the corner from us.
Well what a buzz at the donor centre. Perhaps the smiliest receptionist I have ever met gives me forms and tells me they hope to get me in and out within the hour. I’m barely sat down for 5 minutes typing in the wifi details (username: ‘donor’ password: ‘thankyou’ – high five for that nice touch) and I’m being thumb pricked and quizzed on my health by a chirpy and super grateful young chap who reassures me about my small veins and happily passes me to the other team.
5 minutes of drinking old school squash and watching a steady stream of incredibly smiley and busy nurse-bees buzz around each other and I’m taken to my very comfy chair ready to be rigged up. “Ooh lovely, better now I’m lying down” I josh slightly nervously. Nervous only as I do have very fine veins and have been bruised to buggery in the past by attempts to get a line in… “Has someone tried already and you’ve come back?” The nurse asks with big, scared eyes. “No no! It’s just been a busy day at work and it’s quite nice to put my feet up!” I reply and explain the fine vein thing to her too.
Man next door’s machine starts beeping alarmingly and she rushes over to sort out his low blood flow while I hum and practise the leg exercises on my laminated sheet like I’m doing intricate ballet footwork from Swan Lake.
“Sorry about that, where were we?” Sharp prick and all that and she’s in – hooray! Thank God. More gabbing from me now I am watching the blood come out trying to play it cool – and I learn that they see on average 200 donors a day. Wowser! Then I shut my eyes ready for a nice 15 minute chill, and…
“It’s coming out very slowly and this is just the sample bag.” Hmm. OK. “I’ll just fetch my colleague.”
Immediately brilliant Senior Nurse swoops over and banters loudly with me about being difficult.
“Have you donated before?” I confess that years ago I had one difficult but successful time of it and another failed attempt. She wiggles the needle around while I grit my teeth and insist that I really want to donate and I’m rubbish at baking so she has to get the blood out somehow or I’ll have to attempt fairy cakes for the work donation to Grenfell instead.
“I’m sorry love but we just aren’t getting enough. And as it’s your third time I’m afraid you’ll have to recruit your friends and family instead, you and your veins are just no good for donating! Thank you so much but go and have a biscuit.”
I pull a really sad big lip face. I’m genuinely sad I can’t donate (not so sad about the biscuit bit). “Do I still get a sticker though for effort?” I joke.
She looks at me with that mischievous glint that only awesome matronly nurses have and scurries off pen held high in the air.
And comes back with this bespoke treat:
So… seeing as I’m a loser who can’t donate, please will you?
Find your local blood donor centre here: https://www.blood.co.uk/
You can donate to the Grenfell Tower families here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/familiesofgrenfelltower
Thanks to the brilliant nurses at the West End Donor Centre, Margaret Street, London W1, and sorry about my stoopid veins.