“Now that’s a big needle!”

Last Tuesday, I told my class about the upcoming blood donation drive happening in our school. At first, I was pretty confident and looking forward to the blood donation drive and also encouraged other students to participate in it. Unfortunately, not many students were interested, only six students from my class were, including me.

So three days passed, and that morning, I was happily sitting in class, oblivious to what “today” has to offer. Some students then started walking out of the class, I did not pay much attention to it, because there’s obviously no reason why I should, there was no emergency. Someone then called me from a far, it was “today,” the day the blood donation drive was taking place. Oh no, I completely forgotten about it and instead of looking forward to the whole blood donation thingy, I was weirdly panicked about it.  I wanted a little bit more time to actually process the whole idea, especially allowing them to puncture my skin and vein to reach that blood of mine, the blood is rightfully mine! But that wasn’t the only thing bothering me, I still had not taken my breakfast and the scenario of me collapsing after the blood donation raised too.

I soon marched into the hall to keep to my word, I was not going to back down, not after encouraging other students to donate and mocked those that didn’t. So there I was, filling up the additional documents. Once I got the paper work done, I had to queue for two basic screenings. The first one was to determine my blood type and to make sure I answered the questions truthfully; and the second screening was to determine whether my body can actually donate blood, like checking my blood pressure, whether I was physically fit and I was and am not suffering from any illnesses, illnesses that could jeopardise the patient who is going to accept my blood.

I passed screening one successfully, but when in screening two, I admitted that I did not have my breakfast yet. The good news my blood pressure was pretty good, despite the fact that I have not taken breakfast. Well, a procedure is a procedure, the doc didn’t want to have a collapsed patient under her belt that day, so I was sent away to eat and come back before 12 pm, four hours from then. It was a sigh of relieve, I have now got borrowed time at my disposal.

After munching some buns and biscuits, I was back into the hall. I was two hours early before the deadline, the doctor then gave me the green light to lie on a chair to wait for a nurse to set me up. Even at that very moment, I was still thinking to abort the whole idea, but it wouldn’t look good to me, especially after what I have said about those who didn’t want to donate earlier.

My time had come, the nurse had to only ask one last question before proceeding, “are you ready,” she asked.  With a big smile, I answered, “Yes, lets get on with it.” Then comes the big long needle, I got to say, “now that’s a big needle,” the needle was the biggest and longest needle I’ve ever seen, panic surged. The nurse gave me an option to look away while she “quietly” stick the needle into my skin, into my vein, but I decided to watch the whole procedure, how often do you get to poke stuff into your skin? She then inserted a needle into my skin, and pumped something beneath it, there was a slight bulge. The needle looked small for a weird reason, and I thought it was done, time to allow blood to flow, but no, she removed it! The big scary needle reappears, she inserted into my skin, and then into my popping vein, then there was a sharp pain, probably because it was my first time and I was pretty panicked about it, so I might have exaggerated the pain. “Ok, press that (the pipe),” she said and left.

Because I was breathing quite fast and my blood pressure was high as I was not in a calm state, half of the 450ml bag was filled pretty quickly, in fact, I did not even “pump.” It was pretty unique seeing the blood flow out of your skin, through the long windy tubes into the bag, I enjoyed the view. Then the nurse arrived, she swiftly took out the needle and asked me to apply pressure on the opening. My vitals were stable, I was allowed to return to class. However, my arm continued to ache the hours that followed.

So will I go through it again, of course no, but when the time comes, I eventually need to. Everyday, millions of people are wanting blood. A report even said that only 2.5 percent of Malaysians are blood donors. The report also said that one day, Malaysians need about 2000 blood bags for use, and with  the dwindling numbers of blood donors, survivors needing blood are on the line.

But being a blood donor has its benefits too, Malaysians who donate twice in a period of twelve months are entitled to a free Hepatitis B vaccine shot. Active Malaysian blood donors donating more than 50 times are even entitled to free outpatient treatment at any government hospital, how great is that! So, do your part, be a blood donor, superheroes don’t necessarily wear capes.

To learn more, head over here.


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