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The joyful duty of giving blood

  • 01 June 2017


This year I donated blood for the first time. After making a booking online, I went on a sunny Saturday. 'Ask what your blood type is,' my mother said to me. We didn't know, but I had always been curious. Who did I take after? Was I an O or an A? When it had come up in conversation I always admitted I didn't know.

At the desk I was asked if I was a first-time donor and was given a glittery sticker that I wore the entire time. I had googled and done my research. I knew beforehand what would disqualify me from donating — cold, recent tattoos, recent trip to the dentist. I filled out the questionnaire, eating some potato chips and waiting until I was called into an office.

Because I was donating for the first time, a nurse and I chatted as she looked over my questionnaire. When we were waiting for some results, she asked me about my degree, which as a refreshing change, she seemed genuinely interested in. As I pricked my finger like Sleeping Beauty, I asked whether I'd get to know my blood type. I was told not right now, but it would be on my donor card.

I sat down, got hooked up and watched the blood — darker than I expected — flow out through the tube. Since the TV was in front of me, I ended up watching a segment with America Ferrera on the TV show Who Do You Think You Are, learning about an ancestor who was a revolutionary.

The whole blood donation was over faster than I expected, it only took about an hour at peak time. I walked out of the centre eating a cookie and feeling good. And yes, I can confirm — the biscuit from all the ads tastes quite nice.

A month after I donated, I received my donor card in the mail. I was heading out, but turned around and went straight back into the house. 'Moment of truth,' I said to my mother. I opened the envelope and turned the card around. Type O. I did a little dance and song, 'My blood is useful'. My mother was a little disappointed I wasn't Type A like her. I told her she always had a chance with my brother.

I'm not exactly sure why I was so interested in learning my blood type. Part of it was