On the 18th February, I visited the Heidelberg Blood Bank IKFZ with Mr Parkes. I had never donated blood before but I’d heard it can be important for people who need it during operations and emergency surgery following accidents. I couldn’t have donated blood before because I was under 18, but, having seen the blood centre in my home town every day on the way to school, I decided I’d like to donate too. I talked to my CAS Coordinator Mr Parkes about it and he was also interested to try it out.
A Guide to Donating
First you register on the website:http://www.blutspende.de/ to make an appointment, then, when you get to the blood bank. The first thing they do is take a small blood sample (a drop of blood from your finger) to measure your iron levels. Then, if your iron levels are high enough, you are given some paperwork about your health to fill in.
You then go over the paperwork with a doctor, who then decides if you qualify to donate blood. Unfortunately, Mr Parkes lived in England between 1980 and 1996 during the BSE (mad cow disease) epidemic and was not allowed to give blood. The doctor then checked my pulse, lungs and throat to make sure I was healthy and signed off my paperwork.
Before donating blood, make sure you have eaten and are hydrated enough so you won’t feel weak and woozy afterwards. The best thing about the blood centre is the free snacks and drinks, which I was instructed to takes full advantage of. After eating and drinking, you submit the paperwork and receive a tray of test tubes and a blood bag, which you take to the blood giving room.
You then sit back, relax on the comfortable loungers and let the nurses do the rest. The actual blood donating didn’t hurt at all. It took about 15 minutes and you get a cold beverage if you are feeling at all woozy. The nurses monitor your blood pressure to make sure you feel all right.
I gave 500ml of blood.
I would definitely recommend it to others. I am open for any questions you may have. Oh, and by the way, for every donation of blood, you get 20 Euros which I really wasn’t expecting. However, it was a nice bonus! You can donate every 8 weeks if you wish and perhaps save a life.
text & photos: Kjartan, Grade 12