Author Topic: Tips on Donating Blood  (Read 8727 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2009, 11:45:56 AM »
Bumping this up for more ideas! :)


DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2009, 07:06:11 PM »
Bumping this up for one of our newest donators! YEA!


faithlessone

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2655
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2009, 11:09:17 AM »
I have teeny tiny veins, and I suggest you try to remember which arm is better.

For example, I've donated three times now, and each time, they try and do my left arm first, despite the fact that I tell them that my right arm is easier. They can see a vein in my left elbow, but it's tiny and blocks easily. The one in my right is a bit deeper, but it's bigger.

Also, if it takes you a bit longer to fill the bag, sit up a bit more. I don't know whether it's the gravity or whatever, but I fill the bag a lot easier if I sit almost upright rather than lying back.

daniellefaye

  • Guest
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2009, 12:17:12 PM »
Also, and this is just common sense I lacked in college, don't try to ride your bike the mile home.  You will start to faint.  

HA HA I totally did that once!  Blood van on campus, sweet, saves me a Saturday trip!  Except I'd biked in instead of bussed in that day.  It was actually three miles.  Oh good lord I was sick when I got home.

But yes, water, not empty but not full stomach, and warn them about your touchy veins or if you're a slow bleeder.  And if you're a slow bleeder you might want to see if they have a squishy squeezer-thing like a stress ball instead of the hard tubing that they use around here.  Or bring your own.  It works better for me because my hands get cold easily and lose some strength.  I can grip the soft squeezy better and it really helps.

LadyJaneinMD

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2421
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2009, 12:50:33 PM »
I also find that I prefer to watch the needle go in for both the fingerstick and the arm stick so it can't "surprise" me, but I've never known anyone else with that preference.

Me too!  I thought I was the only one (of course, I haven't read the rest of this thread yet).
It freaks the vampires, too, when I tell them, 'No, I *have* to watch.'

Unfortunately, I can't donate.  But I do have to get blood tests every 3 months so I have lots of practice with being stuck.  For the record, I have *excellent* veins and a really high pain threshold, so I tell them 'I'm happy to let you 'practice' on me if it'll help the next fat person that you need to stick.'     For what it's worth, they think it's hard to find veins on a fat arm.  Not always true.  My gyno can do it easily, and he doesn't do it every day for a living, so I can't understand why the phebotomists can't find my veins.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 12:54:51 PM by LadyJaneinMD »

AmethystAnne

  • mom, grandmother, and an enthusaistic knitter & crocheter (formerly Laura___)
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3729
  • So much yarn, not nearly enough time! :D
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2009, 04:22:23 PM »
I donated in early October. The intake person told me that taking a Flintstones(TM) vitamin everyday was a good way to keep a person's iron level up. And drinking something with vitamin C, helps the Iron to be absorbed into your system.

USC1972

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2009, 07:34:42 PM »
If you are in a place where they are not almost bowing down to the donors, you're in the wrong place! :D  Because they know fully well that you have something precious that you can decide to give or not give!

If you come across a person who is rude or not helpful in a blood donation site, you need to let the higher ups know about it.  Perhaps that person needs some retraining and a reminder of just what a blood donor means to the whole process.

As someone who frequently volunteers to do blood draws on the blood mobile, I really object to people going in with this type of an attitude.  Obviously no one should be rude to you, but I think expecting the other volunteers to be "bowing down" is way over the top.  Spending a day receiving people with this attitude is the biggest reason nurses and lab techs don't like volunteering their (equally important to the "whole process") resource.

This is something you do to help your community and to maintain a blood supply for the population, including yourself.  It is a generous thing do, but looking for extreme accolades takes something away from that.

On a more practical note, if you aren't one of those people with lots of big pulsing veins, try to remember where the good ones are that have worked before.  Also remember, that drawing blood isn't a science so much as an art.  Just because the vein looks and feels good through the skin, doesn't mean there isn't a little valve in there, that not even the best stick has a way of knowing about until they hit it with a needle, which then wont advance.  Try not to get upset over one or two missed attempts.

Another thing to keep in mind is that almost everyone (probably 80%-90%) in any setting will say they are hard sticks.  (Most are not.)  If you mention this, consider letting the first person at least take a look anyway.  Many people are told they are hard sticks (and they probably were) while dehydrated or sick in a hospital; when healthy, it is no longer the case.

Also, it is one thing to be a little nervous, but if you know you are going to shriek and yelp, hyperventilate, jerk your arm back, or otherwise cause a decent commotion, please consider not donating blood until you can do it and remain somewhat calm.  Jerking puts both you and the person drawing blood at risk of injury, and shrieking causes considerable, unnecessary anxiety in the other potential donors.

And if anyone is curious, all of the donated whole blood is separated, (mostly into platelets, plasma, leukocyte reduced compositions, and packed red cells) then distributed and billed at between $600 and $800 a unit.  I have seen very sick patients who are hemorrhaging receive up to 150 units in 48 hours.  This is replacing their entire blood volume approximately 10 times.  Because blood is only usable for a few weeks after donation, even large hospitals only keep a few hundred units on hand.  Considering types and Rh factor, it is possible for one sick patient to rapidly deplete a blood supply.  Most hospitals have agreements to share blood products, but this is why blood donation can seem urgent and shortages can come on quickly and unexpectedly.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 07:54:17 PM by USC1972 »

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2009, 07:38:59 PM »
As someone who frequently volunteers to do blood draws on the blood mobile, I really object to people going in with this type of an attitude.  Obviously no one should be rude to you, but I think expecting the other volunteers to be "bowing down" is way over the top.  Spending a day receiving people with this attitude is the biggest reason nurses and lab techs don't like volunteering their (equally important to the "whole process") resource.

I realize how that statement may have come across out of the context of what I meant.  But, I assure you that it wasn't intended to be offensive. :)  I promise.

My point was simply that a donor will be given some respect as well.  I had a very bad experience (not sure if it is told in this thread or in another one) where the volunteers doing the blood draws were not respectful at all.  It was going to be my first time to ever give, and I was treated so badly that I didn't give that day - nor did I attempt again for almost a year.

I'm sorry that I put the "bowing down" - as I can see how that could offend you.  Just know that offense was not my intent.

And, if you'll read the other thread, you'll see that I fully support the volunteers giving up their time to do the draws.  And, I encourage everyone to do everything they can to make it all possible.  Please be sure that you're seeing my complete "blood donor" history here in the forums.  I feel that you've gotten the wrong impression of me and what I've been trying to do - in hopes of doing good. :(

« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 07:47:18 PM by Dottyg »

Sophia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11550
  • xi
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2009, 08:22:09 PM »
This was a total stranger saying this, but I was playing poker next to someone that was talking about his job and about how someone got transferred out for having "less than 70%".  I asked what he did.  He was a Pediatricial (kid) nurse, and the number was what percentage of the time someone "stuck" a kid successfully in two tries.  70% seemed like an awfully low number. 

Bluenomi

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3580
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2009, 11:10:13 PM »
I learnt the following after having my first pregnancy blood test where they take a stack of blood.

*Early in the day is better for getting volumes of blood out.
*Drink lots
*If you are a leftie your left arm is probably easier to get blood out of. Get them to try that arm first so you dont end up with both being stabbed  ;)

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2009, 06:57:47 PM »
I'm hoping to donate this weekend.  But, I need some advice.

For some reason, my blood pressure has suddenly started being higher than usual.  Is there something I can do right before I go in to lower it, so I won't get turned away for it?


JoW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 812
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #41 on: December 10, 2009, 08:51:35 PM »
I've been donating since 1975, age 18.  Dec 1 was donation #102 for me.

1)  let the tech select your arm.  The one thats easiest for them is easiest on you
2)  like others have said, eat and drink before donating.  You need sugar and water.  A little caffeine is good, too, at least for me.
2.5)  I have to have a real Coke with real sugar and real caffeine shortly after donating.  The one time I skipped it I almost passed out in Target 3 hours later. 

3)  Wiggle while you donate.  No, not the arm with the needle in it.  But bounce your knees and flex and point your toes and maybe move the other arm.  That will drive your blood pressure up a little and make your donation a little faster.  More important it can help keep you from passing out. 
4)  A high dose of iron right before a donation won't help much with anemia.  You need to eat high-iron food for weeks in advance.  Ladies in their reproductive years probably need a women's formula daily multivitamin to keep their iron up. 
5)  just because your doctor declared you to be healthy doesn't mean you can donate blood.  The rules for blood donation are different.  The anemia test for donation is noticibly harder.

6)  Wear a short-sleeve shirt and pants.  The short sleeve shirt is for access to the elbow.  The pants are because you almost lie down to donate.

7)  They will accept you even if you are on medication.  There are a few medicines they reject you for, but most are ok.  In the US the Red Cross has the list on their website. 

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #42 on: December 10, 2009, 11:23:10 PM »
Those are great hints!

But, I need to keep my blood pressure DOWN - not raise it.


Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #43 on: December 10, 2009, 11:44:25 PM »
JoW, I actually do find that an iron-rich meal the night before helps me. I am not anemic though. And actually my diet has a decent amount of iron in it normally though I don't take supplements.

I also find that moving the fingers on my donating arm does help, by gently squeezing them (without actually moving the arm). This is per instruction from the nurse, so whatever the nurse says, I will do.
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Tips on donating blood
« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2009, 11:47:15 PM »
Ok, I'm beginning to feel ignored here! :D I need some tips before this weekend!