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I Received Blood
One morning in April 2014, soon after our bubbly active daughter Lucy Goose had turned one, I noticed a weird rash over her back and stomach. My first thought was meningitis, so we went straight to the GP. She thought it was unlikely to be meningitis, given how happy and active Lucy was, but told us to see a paediatrician at Wellington Hospital just to be sure.
After a terrifying wait, talking to lots of different doctors, blood tests, and lots of wondering ‘what if…?’, we were told that Lucy didn’t have meningitis. Instead she had Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Her blood wasn't clotting properly, causing red and purple spots on her skin, some bleeding in her mouth, and lots of extra bruising. Lucy’s platelet count had plummeted to a rate of 3 (instead of 150 - 400).
The doctors recommended a blood infusion, which involved putting a needle into my baby and pumping her with platelets overnight. It was a scary time. I slept in a stretcher bed next to Lucy, and often had to get up through the night. When she moved around it blocked the tubes and the infusion stopped. The machine would then beep loudly, which terrified me each time it happened.
Thankfully by the next morning Lucy’s blood results were looking a lot better and we were able to go home later that day. We had a quiet weekend, keeping a close eye on her, but she seemed to recover almost instantly.
We’ve had several follow up blood tests, but since then Lucy’s platelets have been fine. She’s now a happy, healthy toddler.
At that scary time it was such a relief to have easy access to the blood products that Lucy needed, and to know that they were safe and administered properly.
I had been thinking about being a blood donor for a long time, but was a little scared of the needles. After Lucy’s experience I decided that if my one year old daughter could go through all that, surely I could go through a small blood donation!
A few months later I donated my first lot of blood, and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. A small prick on my finger, then a small prick on my arm, a relaxing 10-15 minutes while my blood ran out through a little tube into a bag, and then a wee chocolate biscuit and a cup of tea afterwards! A fantastic way to spend the morning.
The team at the Donor Centre made me feel so welcome and cared for – I got a sticker announcing it was my first time and everyone took the time to talk me through each step and make sure I was okay.
My family are all blood donors and my brother also donates plasma. I feel proud to be able to join them as a blood donor and I carry my blood donor keyring with pride. I have donated blood several times now and it has always been a great experience.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who donate blood. You are literally life savers.
And to all those who are scared of needles: I know everyone says it doesn’t hurt and you are still doubtful, but honestly, it really doesn't hurt. In fact, it hurts less than getting your eyebrows plucked or waxed – and if you can do that just to look good, then surely you can donate blood and be the hero that saves someone’s life? :)
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