I'm giving blood for the first time tomorrow!

I’ve always been too scared before, but this year I’ve decided to go ahead and donate blood. There’s a donor clinic at school and my friends have talked me into it.

I’m a little nervous but I know I’m doing a good thing and I’ll try to be brave.

Any stories about how it doesn’t hurt at all and how you feel wonderful after? Please??

Good for you, Antigen!

I won’t lie to you, it does hurt a little, but not nearly as much as you think. But when you are done you’ll know you’ve done the most selfless thing you will probably do for a whole month.

Ask for the senior blood-taker and tell her/him you’re a chicken and it’s your first time. Eat breakfast!

That’s great Antigen. I’ve been donating blood every three months for the past twenty years. Apart from a short, sharp prick when the needle is first inserted, it doesn’t really hurt at all. In fact, I think the bit that hurts the most is when the nurse pulls off the adhesive tape that is used to hold the tubes in place! The Red Cross here takes 470mL of blood at each donation and it usually takes me about 7-8 minutes to fill the bag. Total time for a donation, including paperwork and the obligatory free cup of tea afterwards - about 30-40 minutes.

On the single occasion that I donated blood, it didn’t hurt much at all. But after I had walked back to my dorm, I made it as far as the lounge before I collapsed on the sofa and fell asleep.

Some of my friends were playing pool on the other side of the room. One of them hit a wild shot that flew off the table and smacked the wall about two inches from my head. Or so they told me, because I sure as hell didn’t wake up.

So, in short, be prepared to stay awhile after the vampires drain you, and don’t refuse a second or even third serving of cookies.

Good for you! Giving blood rocks! And the best part about the first time you do it? You get to find out your blood type! Well, not right then, but after a month or so you’ll get a thing in the mail telling you what it is.

To repeat other dopers, eat breakfast! You need a good level of blood glucose so you don’t pass out. Also, scarf down as many cookies and juice as they’ll let you have.

It doesn’t really hurt that much; pricking your finger to check your iron is more painful. And, if you’re female and pre-menopausal, don’t be too surprised if your iron is too low to donate. Me and many of my female friends can’t donate because of low blood iron. (I donated once when I was 18 and have never been able to again)

Eat breakfast. Drink lots of water both before and after.

The one and only time I donated blood, I didn’t do so well afterwards, but I hadn’t eaten anything that day, donated at about 1 PM, and am very, very tiny. I’ve lost weight since then, so I can’t donate any more, unfortunately.

You’re doing a great thing. Be brave!

Yay, go Antigen! Good for you. Be prepared for your arm to start to feel all warm after they insert the needle. It’s not bad or anything, but it sure grossed me out my first time donating. The routine that’s worked well for me is to eat a decent sized meal about an hour or an hour and a half before donating. That way, you’ll have food in you, but you’ll also be able to chow down at the cookie table. One time I had eaten right before, and I just had no appetite to eat afterwards, and I ended up very dizzy and uncomfortable. I’ve donated six or seven times (and been turned down about three hundred), and each experience is a little different, but most of them have been absolutely fine. Let us know how it goes :slight_smile:

BRAVO Antigen!

You just saved a life! :slight_smile: :cool: :cool: :slight_smile:

Good for you, Antigen !! I’ve donated religiously every three months for over a decade, and all the recommendations here are on the money. The worst pain of the day is the nip at your fingertip to check your iron – and that’s really just a little nip. My two cents: don’t watch the needle. Don’t even look at the needle beforehand – instead, chat up your vamp^H^H^H^H phlebotomist, because they’re usually quite good at helping you relax and get comfortable. Bring along a book to read if you have to wait in line, and to read while you’re donating. Eat a good meal several hours earlier, and don’t skimp on fluids.

Chances are if you have a good positive first experience, you’ll find it addictive, and do it regularly. If your body weight’s reasonable and you’re in good health, it’s something routine that you can do that’s a real pay-forward good for the people out there that need blood. Then the next time around you’ll be writing to another doper and reassuring them! :slight_smile:

Good for you.

It’s no big deal. It does hurt a little, but not nearly as much as when the cat scratches you.

The part that hurts the most is when they poke your finger to test your iron levels. That doesn’t hurt all that much either, but when it’s over, you can relax, because the actual blood-drawing is distinctly less hurty.

Do use the little squeeze-ball they put in your hand. Squeezing it makes the blood come out faster.

Do tell them if you feel faint or woozy. It’s no big deal, but it sometimes happens.

Eat a good meal a few hours before you go, and stay for a little while for free cookies and juice.

Try not to whine. Flirt with the blood-taker. Remember, you’re doing a good thing.

Well, I’ve had a good breakfast and I’m off to class, and then to the donation clinic.

I’ll be back with a report tonight! Wish me luck!

Be sure to ask for a receipt for your blood in case you need it back. Oh, and be ready to answer some blunt questions about your sex life. The folks at the blood bank will ask you some, as well.

I know I’m late, Antigen, but good luck. Keep on eye on yourself for 24 hours after, and NO ALCOHOL.

Well, I’m back and a little bit paler than I was this morning.

I got there and went through the questioning and the iron test, then I waited for my turn. They weren’t really prepared for such a huge turnout, since last year’s donation clinic wasn’t a success, so they were a bit shortstaffed. I got there about halfway through the day, and my sticker said I was the 81st new donor they’ve had today, out of 135 donors so far. So, because of all these enthusiastic students giving blood, I ended up sitting there for about an hour before they finally called me up. But I didn’t mind.

What surprised me is how many people fainted or got dizzy and had to stop. During my hour wait, I saw a dozen people slump over while they were still strapped in, and the nurses all flew over to yank the needles out and recline the chairs so they could lie down.

None of that for me, though! I told the nurse I have difficult veins (according to everyone who’s had to draw my blood, anyway), and she used a different sort of cuff, and poked around a lot before jabbing at me. The needle went right in with only a little pain, and then it was barely uncomfortable for the rest of the 15 minutes. There were tons of staff who walked by to chat with me and make sure things were going well, and they were delighted to answer all my questions about their job and the whole donation process.

So I’m going to have a nice nourishing supper tonight and take it easy, because I’m woozier than I expected. But hey, someone else out there needed that blood more than I did, and I’m happy I donated. I think I may even go back!

Just wanted to jump on the bandwagon here, even though it’s sort of passed…

I donated a couple of times in high school and then didn’t for a few years because I never thought of it. A month or two ago, when I got a flyer from the blood bank saying they need A+, I figured “Hey, I’ve got nothing else to do this afternoon. Why not?” Took about an hour, left me feeling great about myself for at least a week, and I got some free food out of the deal. I’m actually looking forward to the end of the month so I can donate again.

Only one disagreement with previous posts, FisherQueen said

I found it much more enjoyable to flirt with the 22 year old girl in the cot across from me, but that’s just personal preference. And as my dad said, “Donating blood might be the only purely altruistic thing anybody does”

Reading over that first paragraph, I could come off as horribly depressed. I’m not, it just happened to sound that way and I’m too lazy to rewrite it

I tried to give blood. Platelets, actually.

Alas. Mad-cow disease. Or threat thereof.

Last year a colleague needed platelets. I said to Mr. MercyStreet, “You know, your mom has used tons of platelets to combat her leukemia, and we really ought to add to the general supply.” So off I went to donate.

I sat through a half-hour of the types of questions that made me realize one thing: I’m leading a very vanilla lifestyle. No, I never dabbled in shooting drugs with immigrants from the Ivory Coast while drinking a steaming cup of hepatitis (two sugars, half-and-half.).

Yet I was disqualified. For living in the U.K. For less than a year. Fifteen years ago. As a vegetarian. Because potentially I was carrying the virus that causes mad-cow disease. Sigh. So until scientists come up with a test to detect the virus, I’m banned from donating blood products. Moreover, so are tens of thousands of students who went on exchange to England.

Very aggravating.

You know, the local blood bank here used to employ a rather cute goth girl. She wasn’t a full-blooded phlebotamist, but did other jobs. In particular, she drove the bloodmobile. It was always a kick watching a “vampire” drive the bloodmobile around town. Made me feel like I was in a Charles Addams cartoon.

So I tried giving blood for the first time ever last week.

I went in, answered all the questions and such, did the iron test… all was good.

Then they got me to the bed/chair thingy… prepped me up… found the vein… popped in the needle and OH MY GOD! It was like a firey hot spike all the way to my shoulder. Apparently they hit a nerve or something. I tried to lie still. The flow was slow and so they twisted it a little trying to improve it… each twist was agony. FInally they pulled it out and i opted not to try again that day.

Next day i had a green/purple/black bruise the size of an apricot on my arm.

It’s still there today, but i go in tonight to try the other arm.

If it happens again then that’s it for me.

Congrats, Antigen. You can drink a beer and get yourself mighty tipsy tonight!

I give blood whenever I’m able, but for a while there I was getting piercings and tattoos once a year so I was out of the running.

I gave recently at the local red cross and at the school where I work. Other than being really sleepy, I was fine. Plus, I got free nutter butters and apple juice. Nummy.