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booked to give blood but im scared

(34 Posts)
familyfun Mon 04-Feb-13 15:24:32

ive always been scared of needles, but after 2 kids, blood tests and anti d injections ive got used to them a bit.
ive booked first time to give blood and im really scared.
how long does the blood come out for?
when you have a blood test and they take 5 littkle tubes, will they take lots more than that?
what if i faint will i be wasting their time?
i am going to do this next week but im panicking already

ImNotaPheasantPlucker Mon 04-Feb-13 15:32:35

Well done on making that appointment!

I would let them know you are nervous, all the Blood service people I have met whilst giving blood have been lovely and will talk you through what is happening.

You will have a glass of water when you get there then be called through to check your form details and have a pinprick blood test to check your iron levels.

You are then asked to wait a while until your name is called. Again, they will talk you through everything that happens. The actual donation takes about 4 - 5 minutes in my experience.

Cuppa tea, biscuit then home with a HUGE smile of satisfaction at helping someone!

OldBeanbagz Mon 04-Feb-13 16:01:27

Good luck on taking the first step - making the appointment!

My blood donation takes around 7 or 8 minutes though apparently they allow up to 15.

I always make sure i've had sensible lunch and that i've drunk plenty of fluids and have never had problems (except once when my iron levels were too low).

They certainly won't feel you're wasting their time if you feel faint, they're grateful for every donor they get. I've donated about 12 times now and have only seen one person who felt faint so maybe it's not that common.

I never look at the needle. I can just lie back, relax and listen to the music they generally have on.

Even with the drive there and back (and the cuppa/biscuits) it's only a hour out of my life every few months so well worth the effort.

Sallster Mon 04-Feb-13 16:06:54

I was a little nervous the first time I went too, but everyone was really kind and the actual time giving the donation went so fast I was amazed! I felt a little tired afterwards but didn't feel at all tired when I went back for my second donation. I would advise making your next appointment when you are having your "post-bleed" cuppa, as it's amazing how quickly time flies and the invitations I was sent always seemed to be on days when I was busy - if you book it there and then, it's in the diary and you can work around it rather than trying to fit it in at a later date. Well done you for going along and getting started. It's so worthwhile. thanks

specialsubject Mon 04-Feb-13 17:40:29

they don't take 5 tubes! You get a prick in your finger to check for anaemia - obviously they don't want to take your blood if you are already short of iron. (BTW don't go when you have your period as this can make this test fail). Then you get the jab in the arm to put the drain in. Takes under 10 minutes to fill the bag. Just look the other way when they put the needle in and say 'ouch'.

No-one normal likes needles, but you've had kids, you can take pain. Especially pain this minor.

eat properly during the day, drink the big glass of water they give you beforehand and then stay drinking tea or squash and eating biscuits until you feel ready to leave - about 20 mins. My usual problem is eating too many biscuits. :-)

if you are over 25 you will feel a bit tired for the rest of the day. Don't book an aerobics class until a day or two later. :-)

good on you for donating.

DuckMeInTheGrass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:45:54

Do you have to know your blood group? Ive forgotten mine.

CMOTDibbler Mon 04-Feb-13 18:08:36

No, you don't need to know your blood group.

I've just been to donate, and they are so nice and kind, they will explain everything to you

familyfun Mon 04-Feb-13 19:47:37

thank you all for replying, im not scared of the pain, i know needles dont hurt very much, but they make me feel all woozy and faint. i used to faint at every needle until my first child. glad to hear i can lie down and look away.
i meant the tiny little tubes they take when you have a blood test, the most ive ever had taken is 5 tiny tubes and wondered just how much more than that they would take?
im even scared of the finger test blush
thats why ive booked now so i cant back out.
i think im a- blood group.
its something ive always wanted to do, and after having kids and having so much help from the nhs, i want to do it even more.

mangledmess Mon 04-Feb-13 20:09:04

Is it the needle pain you are frightened of or the whole process itself. I have no experience of giving blood (not allowed because of health issues) but I am a first class wimp for blood tests. There is a cream you can buy off amazon called emla and you apply it to your arm and cover with an adhesive dressing. I just cut a square out of sticky back plastic or wrap ib cling film lol and this removes half he trauma of the needle for me.

sorry if it was not helpful in any way but might help someone reading and are frigjtened of blood tests.

Well done for giving blood though and best of luck.

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Feb-13 20:13:03

Its really not that bad!

The staff are lovely and explain what they will do before they do it.

Doesn't take that long, you just lie back while it happens and relax, after you get a drink and some biscuits/crisps.

familyfun Mon 04-Feb-13 20:13:11

its not the pain, it doesnt really hurt me to have a needle, its the thought of it going through my skin. yuk

mentallyscrewed Mon 04-Feb-13 20:19:46

I'm due to give blood also for the 1st time on Wednesday but am quite poorly so sadly gonna have to give it a miss this session sad

familyfun Mon 04-Feb-13 20:44:49

thats a shame, im going next week and hope i can give.

ant3nna Mon 04-Feb-13 21:14:28

In my experience the blood service people are lovely and if you let them know that its your first time then they will take extra good care of you. I went on Thursday after a gap of 2 years and got fussed over to make sure I was ok. They even brought me over a drink to have before I sat up.

They take 470ml plus about 2 of the small vial things which they use to test your blood to make sure you don't have anything nasty before giving the blood to someone else. 470ml is the best part of a pint so quite a bit more than the small tubes. It takes about 5 to 10 mins. I take a book to keep my mind off it but sometimes go with my mum and we chat to each other.

familyfun Mon 04-Feb-13 21:51:49

oh god, that sounds a lot, thats a long time to try and take my mind off it. got to go alone becuase dp will be with dc.
i need to be brave

ant3nna Mon 04-Feb-13 22:11:52

It will go in no time. I hardly got any of my book read this time. And you replace the blood in a few days so its really nothing to worry about.

familyfun Mon 04-Feb-13 22:15:22


cq Mon 04-Feb-13 22:18:52

I used to give blood regularly when I was a student - anything for free biscuits smile

Went just last Friday for the first time in about 25 years and it all went really well, despite having invisible veins - they called over the senior nurse who found one and she put the needle in. I couldn't see a thing, just looked away and all was fine.

Took it easy for the rest of the day. Went for a run the next morning and really really struggled. Have only just realised reading up thread that it might have been something to do with giving blood now I'm so old grin

StaticSockMonster Mon 04-Feb-13 22:23:00

The first time I gave blood I was absolutely kacking myself. I didn't like needles. Or blood. But I was 17 and we were being sponsored as part of our charity week at sixth form so I couldn't not do it.
Since then I gave blood regularly until I had DS.
It does seem an awful lot that they take but in reality is not.
I always found the people who did it absolutely lovely. Answered any questions I had. Put me at ease. And gave me tea a biscuits ;)
I never booked an appointment, ours was a "walk in" thing. Probably best as if I had had an appointment I would have had the opportunity to talk myself out of it!
You are doing a good thing. You are saving lives.
And you know what, if you do change your mind there's always next time.

One thing I would say is don't watch them doing it. Be nosey and see what everyone else is doing. (Or maybe that's just me cuz I'm a nosey cow wink)

It is fine, they know a lot of people are nervous and they are well trained to put you at ease and make sure you are as comfortable as possible. They are also on the lookout for people feeling faint and look after you very well if that does happen (it has happened to me 2 or 3 times over about 25 years). In all that time I have never seen anyone actually faint, just the occasional person feeling lightheaded. I can't watch the needle go in, but after that it is fine (if it is uncomfortable you just have to say and they will adjust it). Do take it easy for the rest of the day though. Well done for deciding to do it.

familyfun Tue 05-Feb-13 12:57:21

im going on an evening so dp can have kids, so i can drive back, have a bath and go to bed.
if i didnt book an appointment i would go, thats why ive booked as i know i wont let them down.
it will be an achievement for me as im quite shy and going alone.

fubbsy Tue 05-Feb-13 13:08:04

The Blood Service people are lovely. It's part of their job to put you at ease. I am shy myself, usually just sit reading a newspaper for most of the time.

It will also be an achievement because you could be helping to save someone's life. Seriously a good thing.

I think giving blood is actually easier than blood tests (I had 5 little tubes taken the other day) as when you're donating, they aren't constantly wiggling the needle when changing test tubes.

You'll have a lovely night's sleep after donating, I always do as I'm nice and tired from it!

I've been going since I was a student (when they used to give out free pints of Harp and Guinness) and they really look after you here too (Ireland). Just take advantage of the free cuppa and biccies afterwards.

Jestrin Tue 05-Feb-13 21:48:16

Can I say thank you? I received blood after the birth of my daughter who is now 10. I was very ill. Its thanks to selfless people like you, that help people like me. smile

gobbin Sun 10-Feb-13 11:39:44

I was going to say that jestrin

I am eternally grateful for people who donate as I needed blood after my bowel resection in 99. It was this that prompted my DH to start giving again after many years of not going.

HermioneE Sun 10-Feb-13 12:38:03

Good for you for booking smile

It does take a bit of time so I recommend having a book/phone handy. Only 5/10 mins but it's long enough that it's nice to have something to do.

Blood donation nurses are totally practiced at this though so they'll make it as painless as possible.

Good luck, enjoy feeling nice and smug afterwards! grin

Baffledandbewildered Sun 10-Feb-13 21:53:24

You are very brave but please look after yourself afterwards. My then 18 year old son gave blood twice, he was ill after the first time and has never properly recovered from the second time. He is now 22 and still not right always weak and catching illnesses ect. I say this as someone who has received blood transfusion so i am not anti them. Just take care of your self smile

Zavi Sun 10-Feb-13 21:57:30


Good for you for even trying!

I am very impressed!

Good girl!

Jestrin Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:10

gobbin my DH does too smile

familyfun Thu 28-Feb-13 14:54:20

just an update, i went and had the fingerprick test, all was fine till i got on the bed and the nurse couldnt get a vein, said my veins are too small?
she asked me was i sure i was over 7 stone, which im lots over but quite tall.
she said i cant give blood, would need to put on a stone, or try again in 2 years.
didnt think weight had anything to do with it and ive just put on a stone so will have to leave it for now.
felt quite deflated going home, never mind.

alanyoung Thu 07-Mar-13 21:34:54

Familyfun. Sorry you were not able to donate this time, but keep trying. Most contributors have focussed on improving your confidence about the actual process which is great, but if you concentrate on the good you are doing you will not worry about the process so much, so please go back as soon as you can and try again.

I'm blood group O Negative and apparently this can be given to anyone as it does not cause problems when mixed with blood of different groups. This means it can be given to someone in an emergency (road traffic accident, for example) so I was glad to be able to donate. But even though I am supposed to be a tough GUY, I did literally cry when one of the nurses told me they also give it to new born babies.

If you have a rare blood group, it is just as important to give because there will naturally be a smaller amount of a rare group, but people with those blood groups need it just as much as anyone else. Also, blood groups tend to be geographically based to some extent, so a donor of a rare group may be able to help someone from a different country who needs blood urgently.

Keep up the good work and well done for trying.

Thewhingingdefective Thu 07-Mar-13 21:41:09

Don't be scared! You will be fine and will be well looked after.

Drink plenty of water and eat something before hand and afterwards.

My last donation was last week. I was there for just under an hour but that is cos I got chatting while having biccies and squash. The donation itself took five minutes.

Thewhingingdefective Thu 07-Mar-13 21:56:05

Oh, just seen you couldn't donate. What a shame, but good on you for going.

Mama1980 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:00:03

Aww familyfun don't feel deflated you tried and that counts.
Just want to add my thanks again to you and everyone else on here who donates blood after two extreme prem delivers and a car crash in the last 5 years you have all saved me and my sons a hundred times over.
Thank you thanks

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