04 October 2011

In a bid to lose weight and save lives

Update: Unfortunately today I got news from a friend that her mum needs some blood donation for the surgery she is about to take. I am the right blood type but I am not allowe to give in the next 3 months. What bad timing.

Yesterday while walking to the office, I saw the Pusat Darah Negara van parked outside my office building. This usually means that they are going to have a blood donation drive and usually it is organized by Scope International. I think Scope is doing a good job and they on an annual basis do at least 2 or 3 blood donation drive at my office building.

In my bid to save 3 lives (heard in on the radio) and to lose some weight (450 milliliters or 450g or 1 US pint) I decided to go and donate some of my blood away. I have done it before about 2-3 years ago. The last time I tried, my blood pressure was a bit too high and they didn't allow me.

This time around however I got a clean bill of health however I think my blood pressure is still a bit on the high side at 145/89. It is actually borderline Stage 1 Hypertension. They did however let it go and the good thing that came out of this is that when I weighed myself on their scale I weighed in at 81kgs. I did lose some weight after all the jogging I did which is encouraging. After this blood donation it should be 80.5kg. Woohoo.

I had to wait a bit for the doctor to come back from her prayers so that she can ask me if I have HIV or "seks secara rambang" to which I said no and finally I was on the chair for my blood to be drained out of me.

Nowadays the way they extract blood from you is so much easier and so much safer then the first time I donated blood. Last time before they start extracting blood into the blood bag, they have to take 3 samples for testing and what they would do is to use a pair of calipers to block the pipe to the main bag and then take the samples from another tube. Once that is done they clip the other tube and open the main tube. Last time they also didn't inject anything into you, they just spray some kinda cooling spray and put the needle into you. 

A normal medical needle for injecting medicine or taking blood samples is 21 gauge and for blood donation it 16 gauge. The smaller the gauge number the bigger the size of the needle. A 21 gauge needle has an outer diameter of 0.8192mm (sourced from wikipedia) and the 16 gauge needle has an outer diameter of 1.651mm (sourced from wikipedia). Now it may not sound like much, after all the difference is only 0.8318mm. However check this out...

Picture sourced from The Woods Technique
Now you get my drift? This time however, they inject an anesthetic first using a 21 gauge needle and then only put in the big mother of a needle in. When they put in the 16 gauge needle, I still felt some pain but it wasn't that bad. Once it was in, my blood flowed into a small bag first and once that was filled, they just pushed a plastic piece on the tube and the blood began to flow into the main bag. From the small bag, they extract the 3 samples. So much easier and so much safer.

After about 15 min, all 450 milliliters of my blood has filled up the bag and I was made to rest another 20 min. Then I was given 2 packs of biscuits, 1 piece of chocolate bread and a pack of lychee drink and this time something new. A certificate....

To me totally unnecessary but if it gets people to donate more blood, I saw why not. I didn't feel any ill effects or anything from the "weight lost technique" other then a weird lump on my arm where they needle was put into me.

After one day, there is some slight bruising but not as bad as the last time where my whole elbow area bruised and turned purple-ish green. I kinda freaking my parents out a bit on that. After that they told me never to donate blood again. Haha.

Overall, it was another successful blood donation and hope that the blood I have given will save lives in the future. I feel good and while reading up on Wikipedia about blood donations, apparently in Italy the benefit of going to donate blood is they give you a paid day off. Wah if they did it here, confirm we will an over supply of blood in the blood banks and the economy will crash.

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