I did something positive

Or something negative, depending on what the results come back and say (positive or negative blood type, just in case the joke wasn’t clear). But the thing I did was a positive thing, I GAVE BLOOD! Yes, I am officially a blood donor.

I have waited years to be able to give blood but I have always had trouble with weight or iron levels. But I finally took the plunge as I knew I was well within the weight limit, I just had to try and ensure I had enough iron in me before I donated. And I did! I finally got to give something back. I finally got to do something for someone else in need. Or to help science. Whichever my blood helps, it is still helping.

I honestly thought I would never get the chance to donate blood especially as of recently. I had 2 appointments booked in before the session I had on Thursday but I had to change them because I got ill before one and another thing came up for the other one. Nothing was going to get in the way of this one.

My mum was an absolute babe and as she was already off work (perks of being a teacher, hey!) she volunteered to come with me and be some moral support, which was super sweet of her.

For those of you who aren’t sure about the process of giving blood and that is what is putting you off giving then I will give a quick insight into what happens and how painless the whole thing is. And for those that already know or don’t want to know, then up to you whether you read on or not.

A couple of weeks before my appointment I received a letter in the post reminding me of my appointment and attached to it was a health questionnaire asking some very detailed and personal questions. It contained things such as if you were on any prescribed pills, if you’d been ill, been to the dentist or the doctors in the past seven days, whether you had been outside of the UK in the last three months, questions about your sex life and family relations and finally if you had ever lived outside the UK for a period of 6 months plus.
This form was later used in the health screening on the day of donation. But more about that when I get there.

So, form filled in, I just now had to hope I didn’t get any sort of illness and that my iron levels would stay level.

Finally, the day arrived. I was gonna donate a pint of my blood, at last! I turned up for my slot just after 3pm and registered. I was handed a leaflet (more like a booklet) explaining what would happen throughout the hour slot I had for my donation. There was a 25 minute delay, but I had the booklet and my mother to keep me company. The booklet was actually really interesting and very informative. It said what they used your blood for, whether it is to help those who need a transfusion such as those in an accident or those affected by cancer or for scientific purposes. By donating you gave your consent for your blood to be used for either purpose.
It spoke about the process of the day, what the point of the health screening and questionnaire were for (to ensure you were suitable to give blood basically) and most important why you needed to drink 500ml of water straight before giving blood (apparently it helps your well being) and the exercises to do whilst giving blood to help circulation and again ensure your well being. The exercises were wiggling the feet and crossing and uncrossing them and clenching your bum and leg muscles for five seconds and then releasing. Again all for your own good.
It also explained what each coloured uniform meant that you’d see throughout your donation. The light blue uniforms did the health screenings and the dark blue dealt with the actual procedure of blood donation.

Booklet read, water being worked through, I was called to the health screening. I started following the nurse, then realised I had left the form with mum so had to run back and the nurse hadn’t realised and it was all very embarrassing when she turned round and I wasn’t there and she was looking for me. Only I could embarrass myself that easily and quickly! (It gets a lot more embarrassing so brace yourselves).
The health screening was very quick and painless (actually I lie, there was pain involved). Questions gone through on the sheet and answers given for those that yes ticks next to them, with the answers all clear, I could get my finger pricked to test my iron levels, Yes! This pin prick was not gentle, it was bloody painful and it actually was throbbing hours later in the evening. But it was quite cool to watch. This tiny pin prick produced a fair amount of blood (not even a ml probably but looked a lot) and they sucked it up with a pipette and dropped a couple of drops into a solution that tested the iron levels. The nurse popped it in, then her face went a bit strange, she held her breath and then finally let it out and said ‘Phew, it wasn’t sure but your blood droplets have finally started falling although a bit slow, but your iron is just the right level to donate’ YES! YES! YES! The hurdle holding me back I finally jumped over, skimmed the top of it but I did it all clear. Next, what arm would be best for the veins. Now I have very prominent and visible veins so doctors and nurses always like me when I need to do blood tests so either arm was suitable to use. Screening done, I could go take my seat in the final waiting chair ready to be called up the fancy chairs to give blood.
The nurse was lovely, she saw I was with my mum and asked if I would like her to sit with me whilst I donated and called her over. Everyone was so friendly, it made the procedure so much more enjoyable and less nerve racking.

I was taken to a chair. Now, these chairs are quite fancy and very comfy, tempted to invest in one instead of an armchair. They’re blue and have a cushion head rest and one just below the knees. The chair is like an S shape and it can be moved to lay all the way back or sit up straight. Honestly, these chairs were brilliant, I don’t feel like I am doing them any justice.
Anyway, another nice nurse (this time in a dark blue uniform) came over, introduced herself and asked my name. Looked at my questionnaire and took my blood pressure. All still good, so cuff put on my arm to help raise the vein and the needle was inserted. The procedure had started.
Now, I had another issue here. So iron was all fine, but now my blood decided to slow down and the machine was bleeping saying I had dropped below the 30ml target so the nurse gave me a cardboard roll (bit like a toilet roll) to squeeze within my hand and thankfully my blood sped right up and was doubled the 30ml minimum within seconds so the nurse was content to leave me but said she would keep an eye out for me and thanked me for giving blood. Everyone there was so appreciative that you were giving blood as if it was something heroic. Maybe it is as I read that 96% of people who can give blood rely on the 4% of people to donate. Whether this figure is still relevant or not, it is amazing just how few people do give blood.

I spoke to mum throughout the ten minutes that it took for the bag to fill up. It was quite cool as you are put back a bit in the chair and there’s a machine next to you with the bag of blood filling up below. It sits on a little tray that moves from side to side and measures the blood and the speed it is filling up. It was good fun to watch and I actually managed to look at my arm and watch the blood drain out without a single feeling of queasiness.

Ten minutes up and another nurse came and took the needle out of my arm and slowly sat me up. Explained that I wasn’t to do any strenuous activity or hold or lift anything heavy with the arm, and to rest basically.

Now, here comes the ultra embarrassing part. Blood bag taken. Leaflet explaining what to do after donation done, it was time to get the juice and biscuits. I was dead excited for this bit, you can’t go wrong with a free biccy. Of course it was to help your well being in terms of sugar levels and hydration but still I was excited. I got up out of the chair, started feeling stupidly hot, I felt sweat pouring out of places I didn’t even know it could and the next thing I knew I couldn’t hear the nurse next to me talking and I couldn’t see anything in front of me and then I was on the floor, being surrounded by nurses, curtains being pulled around me, a fan being pulled round and two cool packs placed under and around my neck. I have never felt so embarrassed. What a flaming wuss I was. A tear did trickle from my eye because I was so shocked it happened as I felt fine the whole time donating and also because I was just so embarrassed. It took a while for me to focus and really come back round and I was sat on the floor (more like laying) with my legs on a chair raised whilst I cooled down.
My mum told me afterwards, I was white. But when I fell apparently my forehead went bright red, I guess that’s because the blood goes rushing back there? (If you know the real reason for this please let me know). So after five mins on the floor I was transferred to the chair once again and had a juice and crisps (not a biscuit because I needed to get my salt levels up unfortunately) to help. Ten mins or so later, I just wanted to get out of there because I was embarrassed. Everyone, again was so caring, helpful, friendly and understanding and honestly they were just amazing. They really deserve so much praise. It can’t be easy doing that job day in and out but they do it perfectly and always with a smile and so much care.

I was exhausted the rest of the evening and the day after I still didn’t feel quite right but it hasn’t put me off. I am waiting for my results to see if my blood was okay and once I get that confirmation I will be booking my next appointment for 16 weeks time. It was the best thing I have ever done and such a positive experience.

I just want to thank the lovely ladies that I came across that day who couldn’t have possibly done anymore or been even more friendly. You ladies are amazing and you really deserve so much recognition for what you do, and how much you help, educate and care for others. Thank you.

Thank you also to those other donors that took time out of their day to donate. Everyone has busy lives and may not feel comfortable donating blood but they did it anyway and they are helping so many others by doing that act.

Thanks to mother too for dealing with such a dramatic daughter, I am sorry you always have to catch me when I fall, but thank you for always being there when I do.

Giving blood, an experience that is full of positivity and care. I can’t wait to do it again, see you in December Public Hall for part 2 of the donation!

Not Quite Made Girl

x

 

 

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Blue Monday

More often than not, the third Monday in January has become commonly known as ‘Blue Monday’. The one day of the year where it is ‘okay’ to be depressed because everyone else is depressed. Blue Monday was originally PR invented but it has since become an annual holiday and has even got it’s own scientific formula, which is as follows: 

*Clears throat, points at whiteboard with stick, pushes glasses up bridge of the nose* Open square bracket Weather + bracket Debt Level – our ability to pay the debt bracket close square bracket x Time Since Christmas and Time Since Failing our New Year’s Resolutions over Low Motivational Levels x feeling of a need to take charge of the situation.

So, in simple human terms: as the festivities of eating and drinking, lights shining bright, Christmas trees everywhere and the general happiness of Christmas has now come to an abrupt end, instead, we now find our days are filled with work, dark mornings, freezing rain without even the hope of a sprinkling of the white stuff(Snow, not the other white stuff!) After an early payout before Christmas holidays, the wait is even longer till the next paycheck arrives which doesn’t help the debt built up during the celebrations. 

As well as growing debt and physiques, with the end of the year comes the start of a new, and we as humans, love a new start to bring about reason to change. We want to change things about ourselves that we have lived with for all the previous years and keep meaning to do something about but never quite got round to it. Alas, worry no more non amie as the New Year is the time to do this! Or is it?

So now we have in addition to the building up of debt, the physical after mouth on our appearance after the festivities indulgences and the grey days, we also need to change ourselves. All at a time when our motivation is at an all time low thanks to everything mentioned above. It’s a cicious circle really. A rather exhausting one!

Blue Monday. The one day of the year where everyone concensually agrees that they are feeling ‘depressed’. That feeling of sluglishness. Exhaustion. Sadness. Hurt. Pain. It’s universally felt and acknowledged this one day a year. Tomorrow and every other day after aren’t as bad: nearing the end of January, pay day a bit closer and edging that bit more to Spring. And more importantly it won’t be Monday – because everyone knows that any other day after Monday is bearable.

Blue Monday is a continuous day for a lots of people. Some aren’t as lucky as others where depression only appears one day of the year. For those of us with depression or any mental health can’t just decide on a day where we can feel worthless. Feel like not getting out of bed. Having no interest in anything. The struggles and difficulties that come with the reality of depression aren’t just limited to a day. It’s days and weeks in a row. It’s spontaneous. It doesn’t have a reason or rhyme. It’s just depression. And it’s what it does and how it works. 

I don’t have a personal problem with the term ‘Blue Monday’ or the concept of it but I do know it troubles a lot of people because as mentioned, depression isn’t specifically linked to just one day.  It also gives the impression that it’s easy to deal with, it’s not as life impacting as it actually is. It promotes the idea that depression is just feeling a bit bleurgh because of external factors. That isnt what depression is or how it should be perceived.

But instead of belittling this annual event I think we should take it in our stride and use it to get people to talk more about depression. Help people understand it. Talk about it. Communicate more openly about the symptoms of depression. The feeling. The suffering. The things we can do to help each other. 

But most importantly I think we should use Blue Monday as a reminder to just check up on those we care about. Start a conversation with them. Show them you’re thinking of them. You’re there for them for whenever. It doesn’t matter if they suffer with mental health or not – in life we could all do with a bit of tender loving care and a pick up every once in a while and what better way than what has become known as the most depressing day of the year. 

Not Quite Made Girl 

X

Photo by Olu Eletu https://unsplash.com/photos/G4qzugfuBp8

London is a bad habit, one hates to lose – Willaim Sansom 

It seems the writing bug has re-inhabited itself within me and it is telling me to write about London – The city where I work and play. With a bit of a ranty side to it! 

I can’t make my mind up about this city. Sometimes I find myself in love with its history, architecture and atmosphere and then other times I find myself absolutely loathing it. I suppose that is very much like any city; they will always have their good points and their lows. 

London is a city full of history, attractions, pubs, theatre, and green parks. If you look one way in London, there are beautifully designed buildings and then look the other way and you are surrounded by greenery and deers in a park. The food and drink scene in London is buzzing and continuously evolving and growing. The theatre shows are award winning and memorable. There are endless places to indulge in numerous shopping sprees and the lights in Oxford Street are the tell-tale sign that Christmas is coming!  The amount of attractions available are immense, you have art galleries, museums, London Dungeons, aquariums, Tower Bridge, The Eye and the Shard where you can see across London and all that it has to offer. And my favourite part of London – you’re constantly surrounded by history. No matter where you go in London there will always be a piece of History in which to lose yourself in. 

Continue reading “London is a bad habit, one hates to lose – Willaim Sansom “

Oh Crumbs!

Biscuits. There are so many types of biscuit out there. You have Custard Creams, Bourbons, Digestives, Rich Teas, Hob Nobs, Garibaldis, Arrowroot, Speculaas, Ginger Nuts.. the list can go on.

Why am I talking about biscuits? Well I have always been a fan of a good biscuit with my tea in the afternoon. I love a good dunk. And well, I was watching a programme the other day, ‘Inside the Factory’ and they touched upon the very important question: Are you a Dunker? And does dunking really make a biscuit taste better?

I am such a firm believer, that a dunk in the tea before eating it, does make for a completely different taste. But several people around me, dunking doesn’t even come naturally to them. They sit there and eat the biscuit dry! Without even a consideration of dunking it.

Well to those who don’t dunk, it has been scientifically proving that you are missing out on so, so much. The taste and aromas are all different once you’ve dunked, and yes, it does make the biscuit taste better.

Continue reading “Oh Crumbs!”

Three Loves 

I was reading an article recently that boldly stated you fall in love with three people in your lifetime and each person is for a specific reason.

I first read it and I thought it was a load of codswallop but the more I read in detail and the more I thought about it, it actually does ring true.

The first love:  the idealistic love.

They say this first love often takes place when we are in our teenage years. We often enter this relationship believing that it is the fairytale that we all hope for: The idealistic, perfect love that will last forever. We believe this person is our one true love even if there are cracks in the relationship or doesn’t feel quite right. We persist to follow it because it is what we believe love is supposed to be.
It is often the love that looks right but isn’t necessarily right for us. It is the love that we believe society expects of us and how others view us is more important than how we feel.

The second love: the hard love

As the name suggests this is the type of love that gives us tough lessons about who we are and how we want to be loved. It’s the love that causes us the most pain. It is an unhealthy cycle. An unbalanced, manipulative and high drama relationship which contains emotional, mental or even physical abuse. We keep going back to this relationship because we keep thinking that it will be different from the previous time. Yet it isn’t and it doesn’t end differently each time. If anything it ends up worse than before.
We keep going back because we expect it to get better. We stay for the memories of the good times, the highs. We stick with the lows because we believe it is just a stage and it will get better. We become obsessed with making this relationship work that we often ignore the fact of if it should actually work and it is actually what we want.

Continue reading “Three Loves “

Social Media

Social Media plays such a huge part in the majority of people’s lives these days. It isn’t just that of the younger generation but even those who grew up without technology and social media outlets.

I was sat at the football on Saturday and a man in at least his 60’s was avidly checking twitter throughout the 90 odd minutes of play. I was surprised to see this and not because of his age but because he seemed to be more engrossed in the tweets than the football match happening in front of his eyes.

I appreciate and acknowledge the versatility of social media platforms and the help that they offer, the buzz that they generate and the news that they provide but is it all good and positive on our health? Is it a true reflection of everyday life?

It is no longer just the millennials or the newer, younger generation after that that use social media these days. And it isn’t all for the sole purpose of posting pictures of all the exciting things you get up to from day to day. Mums to be me and Mum use it for advice, tips and ideas, friends that knew each other at school can now reconnect with one another, artists of all sorts use it to promote their work, individuals use it to share their how to videos, writers use it to promote their literature, football teams use it as a way for their supporters to communicate with one another, celebrities use it to keep their fans up to date with the gossip, fashionistas use it to display the next season trend, news outlets use it to give the breaking news as it happens. The list goes on and on. Even blogs are used as social media platforms.

Continue reading “Social Media”

Superpower

Have you ever sat there and thought about a superpower that you would love to have? Recently I have been thinking a lot about it. Such a weird thing to think about seeming as it is something that will never happen because unfortunately superpowers only exist in movies.

Invisibility. Time travel. Superhuman Strength. Night Vision. Time manipulation. Power Mimicry. Immortality. Telepathy. Talking to animals. Flying. These are all superpowers we wish we could have.

I had a bit of a google at all the different Superpowers people wished they had. And I came across invulnerability. I had never thought of this superpower before but I can see why people would want it. One website described it in the sense that it gives the person immunity to physical, mental, or spiritual damage. Such as never having to worry about getting injured or the one that I can relate to: suffering from depression.
In a sense it would be great to invulnerability but at the same time I think we are dealt these things in life to test us. I think when you do feel pain, or hurt, or sadness it brings a whole other aspect to your life. Without sadness we wouldn’t appreciate the happiness. Without pain, we wouldn’t realise how lucky we are when we are healthy. If we don’t get hurt, then we will never be brave. If we don’t make mistakes, we won’t ever learn. If you don’t fail at something, you can never relish in the feeling of success. I think we need to feel the bad things in life. Yes at the time they hurt and we wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but I think in the end, you come out a better, stronger, braver person that can look back and say ‘I got through that’ and be proud of how far they have come.

Continue reading “Superpower”

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