Monday, March 12, 2007

Blood Donation

Today, I gave blood for the first time in the UK. It was a fairly interesting experience. Although there were many similarities, there were also some differences with the system in Malaysia. Plus, every nurse there seemed to have been to Malaysia at some point. The noticeable differences are:

- The appointment process. It seems that it's not really necessary, unless you were in a rush. But if I was in a rush, I wouldn't have gone to donate blood. According to the official advice, we should not donate blood after rushing around (or any other vigourous physical activities).

- The number of beds and staff. I'm used to seeing 30-40 beds in a hall for a blood donation campaign, manned by dozens of staff. Over here, there were less than a dozen beds with an equal number of staff. The staff here were all very cordial and friendly though, as compared to the ones in Malaysia.

- The detailed medical history. Back home, you only filled out a form and was given a cursory interview. Over here, they go into details of your sex life like whether or not you have had sex with a man or woman in the last 6 months or so. They were also concerned with the fact that I was Malaysian and might've been exposed to malaria at some point.

- They didn't test for the blood group here. I assume that they would do that later, in the lab. In Malaysia, they would test them when they checked the haemoglobin levels. Then, they would immediately give you a blood bag with the blood group label on it.

- The nurses here worked without gloves. This was extremely surprising for me. I would have assumed that since they were working so closely with blood, they should have some gloves on. Back home, everyone has gloves on, even the guy taking down the names.

- The bedside manner. Since there were more than enough staff around, they were nice enough to sit and chat with you. Back home, they would be too busy running around to actually talk to you. They were also very quick to respond when you have any problems.

- The snacks provided. We are usually provided with cakes and kuih back home. Over here, we have biscuits and crisps. Back home, we have lots of Milo in addition to coffee and tea. Over here, they have orange juice instead.

However, it was all okay. I'm quite happy to have done this again after not donating for a while. They even decided to credit me for the number of times that I had donated blood in Malaysia. So, nice. Since I'm familiar with the process now, I'll probably do it at least once more before I graduate.

No comments: