Doing good ~ Adventures in blood donation

Rhode Island Blood Center

Yesterday I screwed up my courage and went to St. Philips Church in Smithfield to donate blood. There was no special reason I went to that particular place. They just happened to be having a blood drive yesterday, when I decided to donate. Like most sensible people, I'm not a fan of needles. But I figure that the person who needs my blood is probably hurting a lot more than a needlestick is going to hurt me. And so off I went.

Registration is easy. There's a form to fill out, and if you're a first-timer like me, they ask for your driver's license so they can make a donor card for you. They test your blood for hemoglobin - shouldn't give if you're anemic - and check your blood pressure and temp. Clearing the screening gets you  a place in the donor's line.

It's a short wait before a technician calls you over to a cot, where they select a vein. In theory, there's a brief needle stick, and you just lie quietly and relax for about ten minutes. Drink something, let your body rest for another few minutes, and you're on your way.

If the technician or his supervisor had found a viable vein, I'm sure that's how it would have been for me. However, that proved too difficult and, rather than poke me even once unsuccessfully, they thanked me warmly for my efforts and sent me home. Their suggestion: hyperhydrate next time. Drinking more than usual increases blood volume and, by extension, vein size.

It was disappointing to have not been able to give blood, however the overall experience at the blood drive was very good. The volunteers and technicians were friendly without being pushy or nosey. All of them made it their business to see that I had a positive experience. I'll make another appointment and be sure to double my fluid intake the day before and the day of the donation.

Make an appointment at the Rhode Island Blood Center today.


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