So this isn’t one of my usual more food focused posts, but it is something I feel passionate about and fruit cake does get a mention.
Years ago I had a friend who battled cancer. She was an amazing lady, clever and classy and with so much love for her family and friends. It broke my heart to watch her poked and prodded with test after test. And she fought the good fight, but sadly the awful disease won and far too soon we lost her. It was during her battle that I decided I would start donating blood. Whole blood and blood products like plasma and platelets are vital for cancer treatment.
I’ll admit that the first time I went I was so scared. I hated needles so the thought of having one in my arm for more than a few seconds sounded like torture, but I mustered my courage and I called the Red Cross Donor Centre and made an appointment.
I think it was not understanding what would happen or how long it would take that kept my mind racing and nerves high. But you arrive and you go through the questionnaire and the staff are so lovely and friendly and they know how nervous you are, so they thoroughly explain everything they are doing. You do a hemoglobin test while you are in the interview, where they prick your finger and test your iron levels. It really didn’t hurt much at all and was sort of interesting to find out my iron levels, plus just think of it as a Sleeping Beauty moment, where your finger will get pricked but you wont fall asleep until Prince Charming rocks up. You are then taken to the donor room and set up in a comfy, reclined seat with a pillow under your arm. When it was time for the needle to go in the nurse told me to expect a small scratch and there was a brief moment of ouch, but in those moments I squeezed my eyes shut and I thought of my friend. I thought of how much pain she was in and what she had to go through and I took a deep breath and then it was fine.
I didn’t look at my arm that first time, but I sat comfortably and you squeeze the squishy ball they give you and in no time (less than 10 minutes) you are done. They bandage up your arm and make sure you are feeling ok before sending you through to the refreshments area. There you are offered snacks (good snacks) and a drink and the chance to sit for a spell before heading home or back to work.
I went to Red Cross for my 70th donation recently. I donate plasma now which you can do every two weeks. Liquid gold they call it. It means you are hooked up to a different machine for a little longer, but it isn’t any more or less comfortable, you just need to adjust to having the needle in your arm for that long.
Now let me stress, I still don’t like needles, I don’t think anyone likes them, but I can appreciate the greater good that comes from the few seconds of pain. I think if you’ve never done it before it is more the unknown that would be scary. And let me assure you that you are so much braver and tougher than you think you are. Like really. You are really brave. Remember that and remember someone important to you that one day might need this live saving gift. You could be their lifesaver. So why not make an appointment. Call 131495 and they’ll take good care of you.
So I just felt like I wanted to write about this because I feel like it is something so many people can do but don’t. Why not at least try?
Plus here’s a few happy snaps of all the delicious snacks you can enjoy afterwards…. It’s just about the only place I eat fruit cake but I look forward to it so much.