50 Before 50: Give Blood. Or Not.


One of the things on my ’50 Before 50’ list is Give Blood.

 Give Blood also featured on two previous life lists I made, but I’ve never quite got around to actually doing it.

I am not the world’s biggest fan of needles (who is?) or blood – I don’t actually mind having injections or blood samples taken at all, but I don’t like to see the needle or the blood. On the one occasion I watched a blood sample being taken from my arm, I felt extremely sick and quite faint, so I’ve always kept my head averted on such occasions since then.


I decided it was time I got it ticked off my list so I could stop thinking about it, and I checked the dates last month and made an appointment for the next session, which fell on Monday afternoon.

I won’t lie, I was dreading it, and spent the morning trying to come up with valid reasons not to go. I’d made an early appointment, right at the beginning of the session, so that I didn’t have to wait around, as I knew that would make me even more nervous.

The first thing I encountered on arrival was a massive queue, which I stood in for a good five minutes, next to a waiting area seething with people, and not a spare chair to be seen.

Eventually I got to the front of the queue, where I told the chap on the desk that I had an appointment and asked how long I was likely to have to wait. He didn’t seem to know, which didn’t fill me with confidence.

He looked up my name on his list, said ‘oh, it’s your first time’, and sort of grinned in a slightly maniacal way. Not sure what that was all about. Anyway, he asked me to sit down and read a long document, about six or seven pages of A4.

I duly sat down and started reading.  Page 1 was OK, page 2 a little unsettling with all its talk of feeling faint and side effects. Then came page 3, which was a graphic description of exactly how the process of the removal of my blood was going to take place.   Halfway through reading about tubes, blood bags, syringes, needles, veins etc etc, I felt sweat break out on my brow, and I literally felt the contents of my stomach start rolling around. I took a deep breath, braced myself, and read another sentence or two. The edges of my vision did that thing where they start to go swimmy.

No, I decided, this is not for me. Sorry, I said to the bloke at the desk (still dealing with a massive queue – clearly they’re not short of people donating blood!), I couldn’t get past the description on page 3. And off I went, back to my car, all my blood well and truly inside my body, where it belongs.

So, that’ll be a fail for Give Blood then. Oh well, at least I tried.


16 thoughts on “50 Before 50: Give Blood. Or Not.

  1. You gave it a good try. I tried once and was turned down. My husband gives pretty often, so he has to do the family proud. I have to have about a pint removed every six months, but they have to throw it away! Seems like such a waste.

  2. I think it’s very brave of you even attempting to give blood when you’ve had a bad experience previously. They won’t let me give blood as I’ve suffered from Cancer so I’m off the hook. I think you’re going to be 50 just before I am, my birthday is September and I’ll be 50 in 2018.

  3. Honestly Caroline, it’s not that bad. He made it sound much worse than it actually is. I’ve given about 30 odd donations in my time and I’m not a fan of needles either so I just look away when they do that bit. You don’t have to look at it going in the bag either. To be honest I only started going to get time off work and the tea and biscuits….how shameless.

  4. Well done for trying Caroline ,like Fiona said it’s not that bad,like her ihave given blood in the past and yes like Fiona only went to get time off work ,well i was actually dragged along with fellow donors /work friends .i think going with someone makes it easier so you were brave going on your own,plus i think if you could have gone straight in without hanging about and too much information supplied you would have done it !In fact i bet if you were in a situation where blood was needed urgently you would just do it without thinking .And as there were so many other donors there you have no need to feel guilty.

  5. Well good for you for going, I agree being with someone else for support would have been better. It is not for everybody. x Dawn (Can’t give blood as I have anaemia)

  6. I used to give blood regularly when I worked for the Police. Time off work. You just don’t look. It certainly doesn’t hurt. But if it’s any consolation I did see several big strong coppers faint. I am like Dawn I have pernicous anaemic so it’s no go for me.

  7. Hey Caroline, I have tried to give blood twice, both times they turned me away, I didnt have enough hymoglobin. It scared me the first time as my friends from work were all giving blood and I just had to sit there. No one bothered to tell me it just meant I was aneamic. I was vegetarian at the time and obviously wasnt looking after myself enough.

  8. I don’t remember having to read anything like that when I went to give blood the one (and only) time I have! Would have put me off too for sure. Sadly I can’t give blood now for health reasons but I can’t say I’m very sad about it, it was one of the weirdest sensations I’ve ever encountered x

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