I'd tried once before, a long time ago, when the Blood Donation Service paid a visit to the offices where I worked as an accountant. It took quite a long time to get the needle into my arm (I am from a family of narrow-veined people; so much so that when my sister V was in hospital once so many veins collapsed in her arms, feet and hands that she ended up with a cannula in her neck. Poor, poor girl!) and when the person eventually did manage to jab it in he collapsed my vein. Not only did he chew my arm up and leave me with a massive bruise from wrist to armpit, he told me I was a 'slow bleeder' and not to try giving blood again. Pig.
Undeterred (well, only for about 26 years!) I decided that as I am a Universal Donor, and since I can only receive my own blood group (thanks, datacreata!), I should try again. So I made it one of my goals for this year. I found the first session of the new year I could and booked an appointment. Just before I went I had my eyebrows and upper lip threaded, so I'd remember what real pain was and though Red was happy to come to that with me she (a fellow universal donor) ducked out of the needle stabbing.
There were a lot of students waiting in the strangely Gothic surroundings of a local church, all eager to 'do their bit'. One girl almost fainted when she'd finished! The first phlebotomist (for that is indeed their title) couldn't get a good vein but the second one said there was a pretty good side one. I smiled bravely. The second lady managed to get a needle in - not massively painful but not pain-free either. Maybe level with waxing, not quite as bad as threading. And five minutes and three seconds later I was done! I'd given my first full 470ml.....a bit less than a pint. I didn't feel like I was wasting away and I didn't feel faint - I just hopped off the bed and walked home carrying my bags of Boots' sale goodies. Oh, and I made my next appointment for June.
If you can give blood (and some people can't - Big Man always did but because of the drugs he takes since his heart attack he can't do it any more. He is also O Rh -ve.) then try to do it. It's always needed.
Just as an aside, after I had Red and was still in the delivery room I was, as a Rh -ve mum, given an anti-D injection. I protested that my husband, the baby's dad was also Rh -ve so surely I didn't need the jab? The midwife said 'yes, but you might have babies with someone else'. A nice thing to say to a panicking young mum whose baby has just been rushed to the SCBU, no? And you all thought they were so considerate in 'One Born Every Minute'.........