Seva is usually thought as something one does for ones own community, or maybe in a Gurdwara, or for ones family. Rarely is seva done for a complete stranger or when one doesn’t know who the recipient will be. Giving blood is exactly that – an act of kindness for a complete stranger.
Recently it was national #BloodWeek and I just happened to have already booked in my regular blood donation session for Monday the 17th of June ( a day after) and I thought to myself what are the reasons that people don’t give blood. After discussions with others these are the reasons we came up with: – don’t know how to sign up – scared of needles – think they don’t have time Regarding not having time – any successful person thinks they never have time but they make the time to accomplish their goals. To be successful at kindness you sometimes have to plan it and book it into your diary. On more of a practical ground, giving blood takes about an hour – no more no less, and you can donate every 13 – 16 weeks (3 – 4 months). Those of you who are scared on needles: take someone with you, do ardas, or simran. I’m not saying the needle doesn’t prick when it goes into your vein but it’s not uncomfortable once it is in and doesn’t stay in for very long. If at any point it is too uncomfortable, you just let a nurse know and they will either adjust the needle or take it out depending on your wishes. For me the worst bit is the day after when you remove the plasters – but that may just be because I’m a wimp. Lastly, how to sign up: visit www.blood.co.uk and you fill out an online application form where it says register. Or you can call 0300 123 2323. Once you’ve registered and signed up to a blood donation session local to your home, work or study you will receive a confirmation letter in the post with a health questionnaire. The questionnaire asks questions to see if your blood can be accepted – ie. if you are on long term medication or have been outside the country sometimes your blood cannot be accepted. Remember to take this questionnaire with you when you are going along to the donation session. In the session the first thing that happens is a nurse confirms your name and takes your questionnaire. She/He then asks you to drink some water which is provided and read a blood safety booklet. This usually doesn’t take too long so its always worth taking a book/magazine or playing on your phone while you wait for stage 2. Stage 2 is when another nurse takes you into a booth to check your iron levels via a small prick on your finger blood test and asks you some health questions. Once your iron has been checked and the nurse has confirmed you can donate she/he will check your arms and see which one has the best vein. They look for the largest vein as it means the donation takes less time. Stage 3 is then giving the donation. You get asked to lay on a bed while the nurse cleans your arm where the needle is to enter. Then you feel a sharp prick as they insert the needle and you sit there squeezing and un-squeezing your hand to allow your blood to flow out of your vein into a bag. The maximum time allowed for a donation is 15 minutes so if your blood is coming out too slowly a nurse may come and give you a ball or something to squeeze to help you along. Some nurses may also ask you to squeeze your legs or buttock muscles alternatively as this helps blood flow too. Once the donation is done, plasters are applied and the nurse asks you various questions on how you are feeling. You then go to another area where you can have a drink (tea/coffee/water/juice/etc), biscuits and get a sticker! You can then book in another appointment for their next session or book online later. ….and all that takes an hour. Its nothing to be afraid of and its a small act of kindness which could save someones life. So ign up today at www.blood.co.uk Fancy doing something more — ever thought about organ donation?