Amazingly, and perhaps somewhat terrifyingly, the lockdown is releasing a little. I’m starting to see more shops opening, especially trade businesses. I’ve been quite lucky that with electrical engineering being considered an essential service I have been able to acquire supplies.
The next challenge however, was blood donors. How do you carry out a blood donation when you are in the midst of a pandemic?
Well my donation, not at my usual venue I might add, went very well. Here’s a basic running order.
On arriving at the venue there are marked waiting spots on the floor. There were 4 people in front of me so we had actually run out of marked spots, but we formed a queue – keeping 2 metres apart.
At this point I must point out, let’s call him “Mr Smiley”. The man who arrived a few minutes after me, tried to walk straight past me waiting in the doorway, and then snarled when he was told to socially distance. Mr Smiley should have donated 8 pints.
On getting to the front of the queue we were interrogated by one of the donor carers about contact with COVID-19.
Upon passing triage we were then made to use hand sanitizer and then take a seat in one of the three seats in reception (2 metres apart).
The next step was being called through into a queue of seats – four in total. As the person in front moved, you moved into their seat. This in my opinion was the weak point in the chain. COVID-19 survives on surfaces and having every single donor sit in the chain of seats didn’t seem too smart. I used my own hand sanitizer in-between seats and kept my hands well away from my face.
After passing this stage of the queue we then reached the point at which we would normally join blood donors. Checking in, getting our drink and information leaflet, taking a seat until we were called – but unlike normal blood donors where there are pretty much limitless seats; here there were 9 – all equally spaced.
Once my name was called I was taken into one of the booths and from that point it was just like a normal blood donor session – except that the staff all had masks on and the general level of cleaning was much elevated (cleaning all the chairs between patients in particular).
I was again reminded how important my blood is. As an O- donor it’s pretty special. A 7% group of people whose blood can be given to anybody without blood typing – often used in A&E and rapid response where blood typing the patient isn’t feasible.
What makes me extra special from the blood donors point of view is I’m also Cytomegalovirus negative, which means my blood is also suitable to be given to neo-natals. The donor carer explained how the box system works.
They have an allocation of whole blood donors a day. Those go into red boxes. Once that target is met your blood will go into a blue box where it will be used to manufacture platelets and other blood products. When you’re “neo” though you never get a blue box – the blood gets tagged with NEO and it goes in a separate box which rushes through the supply chain. This is why I usually receive a text within a week saying my blood has been used. It’s very much in demand for the various maternity hospitals and for young recipients.
So I’m special. It’s my duty to donate. But everyone’s blood is needed so if you can please donate!