Now is a Really Good Time to Give Blood. Here’s Why I Am a Regular

Blood Banks are some of the happiest places on earth. Here’s what you’re missing.

That’s me! Filling another bag of platelets. Author’s photo.
  • See if you can complete the “intake questions” online. If you can’t, you’ll do it when you get there. It takes about five minutes. No biggie.
  • Eat and drink fluids before your donation. The more hydrated you are, the better the process. I use it as my excuse to get Starbucks.
  • The mini-health screening is conducted in a private room where they take your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, weight, height, and a finger-stick for blood for the hemoglobin test. It takes about 10 minutes.
  • Go potty. Super important if you’re doing platelets. No an awful idea if you’re doing blood — which is a much shorter process. You just don’t want to pee if you faint. You won’t faint. I mean, you could, but if you do, you’re already in a comfy chair, and you’re not going anywhere, and the place is filthy with healthcare pros, so you’ll be fine.
  • Whistle when they stick you. Someone taught me this, and it’s been the best advice ever. Yes, I still feel the stick, but somehow whistling is just hard enough to make me focus, and the distraction works.
  • Let it flow. While you’re donating, you can talk to your chair mates (not cool with platelet donors, totally cool with blood donors), look at the blood, appreciate what you’re doing and the magic of medicine and what our bodies produce to protect us.
  • Wear your bandage like a badge of honor. They used to give us stickers. I would also wear them for two reasons: to show off and encourage others to donate and to help first responders know why I face plated at Home Depot post-donation. I’m pleased to tell you, while I’ve done a lot of the former, I’ve never plotzed post-donation.
  • Get some snacks. I recommend the cranberry juice. I also love the quinoa chips, but I’m from California, and of course, we have quinoa chips.
  • Schedule your next appointment. When you get home, get on that blood bank website, and see if you have earned rewards! Some places allow you to build up points and get cool things. I’m working on an item at the highest point value — talk about delayed gratification. But it will be so worth it.
Courtesy Stanford Blood Bank
Courtesy Stanford Blood Bank

With a master’s in Strategic Communication, I’ve helped more companies in Silicon Valley than a cat has lives! More

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store