30 September 2007

Generous Journal: How to save a life

I've mentioned before in my journal that I started giving blood earlier this year. I gave my second donation on Tuesday so thought I'd write a little bit about it.

Giving money to charity is great, but money can't buy this resource - it's a different way of being generous, one that can directly save lives. One thing that really encouraged me is finding out I'm O rhesus positive, which can be used for anyone with a positive blood group - over 80% of people. My blood is pretty much guaranteed to be used to help  someone when they most need help. It doesn't take that long (was home within the hour on Tuesday) and isn't that painful.

If you're thinking of giving blood, here's a few tips:
* Don't be scared about the health checklist - this is a list of yes/no questions. I was really worried about putting yes for things like going to the doctor, but they're very understanding and in most situations can still accept your blood
* Eat plenty before - a mistake I made this time around which resulted in me going a bit dizzy after donating. I go straight from work so next time I'll take an extra sandwich to have on the train
* Drink loads - it helps replace the blood
* Be prepared to eat loads the next day - both times I've been absolutely ravenous the next day!
* Don't be scared of using your arm afterwards - it'll be sore but using it gently will help to reduce that. Just don't go weightlifting!

I really recommend giving blood if you're able - I was scared of it for years as I'm really squeamish, but it's really not that bad, promise!

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