Yeah. I know. Big deal. Not like I’m actually directly involved in healthcare or anything.
I have been able to give blood since I was 17, and I tried thereafter to give blood as often as I could. We don’t pay for healthcare directly in the UK, except through out taxes, but I have always been of the opinion that the very least you can do is to offer a pint of the red stuff. If you find yourself in need of a transfusion, someone else has given up their time to donate their blood to help you, so the very least you can do is return the favour.
I was a regular donor until 2005, until one time I turned up at my local centre to donate. I had actually filled in all the paperwork, had my iron levels checked (why does the pin-prick for the iron levels hurt more than the donation itself?) and was ready to be stabbed and drained when a nurse came storming over, took one look at my hands and told me I couldn’t donate. At least they still cave me the free cup of tea and the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer - if the truth be known, free tea and Caramel Wafers were the real reason I donated.
A couple of years previously I had a flare up of excema. despite never really having it before, it flared up in my early twenties on a small patch on one leg, and both my hands. It has been a long time since I have risked eating pickled onions from the jar. Yet my hands were in prretty good shape, as it’s managed with a couple of potions from the doctor. Yet it was one cut on my hand that saw me prevented from being a blood donor. Apparently, the EU said that if you have any cuts at all, you may not give blood. Nicked yourself shaving? too bad.
So I have had the odd excema flare-up since then, but it’s rarely that bad. I’m certainly not bleeding everywhere. Yet when I have asked the blood donors, if they want me back, they keep turning me down. It’s been a bit of a bummer, as I want to help. It’s not as if I have got one of the many conditions that excludes some people from donating, I just occasionally have fingertips that look like I’ve been playing guitar for 72 hours straight.
After church today, Mrs G and I went for a walk and happened to go past a transfusion centre. It had been 12 weeks since she last donated, so she went in to give her arm-full. I was going to get a brew in the cafe next door, when the nurse asked if I was there to donate. Well it had been a while so I asked to speak to a nurse, and she said yes. They seemed to have mellowed their rules, and unless you are pouring out blood, or have infections then you are good to go.
So after a prolonged bout of form filling, I was ready to bleed for the NHS. It’s a more user friendly way of draining blood than leeches. An afterwards, I got my Caramel Wafer, which was the high spot of the afternoon. I’m feeling better this evening, as I’ve been feeling left out, and for someone who is generally pretty healthy, I feel I should be doing my part.
Also, it made the half bottle of wine feel like it went straight to my head…
TL DR Got stabbed, drained, fed biscuits.