I left home despite being on a lockdown.  Actually, it was with a great feeling of excitement that I kept my date with a vampire of a different kind. I am referring to the machine that made a mesmerising gentle swinging motion as it sucked blood from the vein on my right arm. 

After waiting for a week after my second Astra Zeneca COVID 19 vaccination, I finally got to the much awaited day to donate blood.   The excitement got higher when after completing a questionnaire on a slim laptop, I was presented a nice pin acknowledging my 25th  donation.  Yay!

Generally, you can donate full blood every three months and plasma every second week.  However, if you travel overseas, there is a required waiting period after visiting certain countries before you can resume donation.  For example, if you went to the Philippines, you need to wait four months after your travel before you can donate. 

The process of the actual 'bloodletting' takes less than 15 minutes.   The amount of blood per donation is about 475ml and this can save at least three lives.  My blood type is B+ which according to Donate Blood info, I am one of only  8% of the population to have this blood type.   I hope I'd not need blood transfusion as there would be low supply; but this thought makes me realise that I should keep donating as long I can.

There is shortage of blood supply at the moment and that is why one of the allowed reasons to leave home during the lockdown is to donate blood.   Aside from this legit reason to be out and helping save lives, I was also gaining some health benefits.  As per research, donating blood results in:

* reducing cancer risk - regular donation helps lower chance of cancer, including throat, stomach, liver and colon cancer. It also improves cardiovascular health.

*lowering cholesterol level - reduce cholesterol level in your bloodstream by donating blood, and minimise the chance of developing common heart disease such as arteriosclerosis. Donating blood also helps lower high iron levels responsible for cardiovascular disease.

*protection from heart attack risk - regular donors have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. It also reduces risk of stroke and heart complications such as arteriosclerosis.

*replenishing blood -  once you donate blood, the body replenishes the blood volume and red blood cells are replaced within four weeks. This improves blood circulation and oxygen circulation throughout the body. Also, replenishing red blood cells can help improve your overall health.

*facilitating production of red blood cells - as you donate blood, level of red blood cells significantly reduce. Therefore, donating blood regularly help in the production of red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body.

Wait, there's more!! After the donation, I was directed to the cafeteria to wait for about 15 minutes to make sure there are no after effects of the donation.  Here I enjoyed a nice refreshment of cuppa tea with a mini muffins and a sausage roll.  While enjoying the refreshments, I got to read some more pages of the book I brought with me, Dr Merlinda Bobis' new book, "The Kindness of Birds". (You can order the book from the publisher Spinifex shop link below, or from your favourite bookstore or any online bookstore: https://www.spinifexpress.com.au/shop/p/9781925950304

What a win-win opportunity!!  I got to help save lives and my health and well-being benefitted too.  A number of blood centres are open 7 days a week.   To avail of more information and book your appointment to donate, go to the Donate Blood website:   https://www.donateblood.com.au/ 


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