Sunday, 18 October 2015

The most precious gift.. Life

"I need blood". Something you may hear from a vampire if they existed.. Can you tell I've been watching too much of The Vampire Diaries? But in fact, these were the words of me, lying on my landing after collapsing on the wooden floorboards with a huge crash in the middle of the night. I had woken up needing the toilet, barely being able to open my eyes and managed to unsteadily get out of bed. The next thing I re-call is finding it difficult to keep my head up which had suddenly become extremely heavy and keeping myself up right via a wall. "Do you want to go to hospital?". Why would anyone actually want to go to hospital? It is just mostly full of unwanted bad news & experiences. So no Mum, I did not want to go to hospital, especially not at 3.37am. I knew I needed a blood transfusion beforehand, but I was trying to fight against an unwanted hospital visit which was wrong of me. With the help of my Mum, I got my weakened self into bed and went back to sleep to at least attempt to re-fuel my body in preparation for a long day at the hospital the following day.. which was a Sunday. Sunday's are made for pyjama's, chilling, films, roasts (unless your my Mum & hate cooking) and for just being lazy. Sunday's are definitely not made for blood transfusions. 

Recognising the signs

Over the last 9 months I have felt all the tell tale signs of when I'm in serious need of a blood transfusion, such as the following -

  • Shortness of breath - climbing a short flight of stairs can certainly feel like climbing mount Kilimanjaro (not that I know what that is like)
  • Severe fatigue - you could sleep all day and that will never feel enough 
  • Your heart feeling as though it is going to burst through your chest 
  • Having a pale complexion 
  • 0 motivation to be found to do anything 
A precious gift

Giving blood can help give someone the most precious gift they will ever receive.. Life. So it is surprising to know that less than 4% of us actively give blood in the UK. Everyone is encouraged to donate as we each belong to a certain blood group. There is a constant need for specific blood groups, especially for the more rare blood types so it is important to find out which blood group you belong to.  My blood type is O negative, so although my blood can be safely given to anyone, I can only receive blood from an O negative donor. Unfortunately, blood has a short shelf life, therefore hospitals are in constant demand for blood donations of all types. Each blood donation can help as many as three people. Without the generosity of others, I probably wouldn't be sitting here today typing away and many others wouldn't be going about their daily business. Blood donations are used in a range of situations, including emergencies, so you never know whether you would need a blood transfusion yourself in the future. 

I would personally need another set or two of hands to be able to count on my fingers the amount of blood transfusions I have received since my diagnosis in December 2014. Overall, I have needed 2 platelet transfusions and countless red blood cell transfusions. Each bag of red blood cells takes approximately 2 hours to transfuse; so you can imagine it being a long day if I have to have 2 bags. Surprisingly, I quite like being transfused because your often feeling pretty low and the transfusion gives you this amazing new sense of energy. I often feel the benefits of the transfusion pretty quickly, or within 24 hours at the latest.

I would love to personally thank all the donors that have helped me. But unfortunately I can't, therefore I would just like to thank anyone that has given blood in the past, present or plan to do so in the future. If only they could see the real difference it makes to people's lives that are in need of a blood transfusion, whether it is a one off or more regular need. Again, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

Making that decision to donate blood can literally be life changing for the people that are in need of it as it gives the oppourtunity for them to potentially live another day. So if your prepared to become a donor in aid of helping others then go to for more information on how you can get involved. I've heard your treated to tea and biscuits throughout the blood giving process if that tempts any of you a bit more... 

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