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Old 04-11-2018, 05:18 PM   #1
heartofjoy
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Default Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

I want to donate blood. I have type O negative, so I figure it's something good I can do.

I went in December and it was kind of uncomfortable. The tech said my veins were small and the blood came out really slow. But I was able to donate.

I just went for the second time. Got the same tech. It really hurt this time and he kept moving it to get it to flow better and finally he gave up. He said I'd already given a certain amount so I couldn't try the other arm and I had to wait the standard 8 weeks to come back. He said the same thing about my veins being small. And then he said I should tell them next time what happened and he'd have one of the more experienced people work with me.

I'm so sore! I want to make this work, but I feel pretty crappy.

I've never had anyone complain about my veins when I give blood samples. I usually don't look at the needle, but I did this time and it seemed HUGE.

Can anyone give me tips for doing this successfully? Can they use a smaller needle? I was a little taken aback at how little the guy explained what was going on to me.


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Old 04-11-2018, 05:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

I donate blood and donated plasma throughout college.

They should be able to use a smaller needle. Thatís what they have to do for me (for plasma).

Can you request a different nurse/worker insert the needle next time?


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Old 04-11-2018, 05:58 PM   #3
The Tickle Momster
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

Also, make sure you are well hydrated. Start at least 3 days before donation.
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

The advice I've been given includes drinking lots of water before and eating a good protein meal that morning. Being well hydrated is especially important.

Sadly this has never resulted in a completed donation, as my veins shut down when I try. I've tried three times. Like you I never have trouble with blood work, it's usually easy to get a good spot for a draw.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

Do you make appointments? If not, I'd make one anyway, and request someone experienced with "small veins" even if you don't think you have them.

And yes, be VERY hydrated.

---------- Post added at 10:40 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:39 PM ----------

By the way, my husband is transfusion dependent. He'd be dead 20 times over without blood donors so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for trying.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

Hydration is key to make your veins pop and stand out better.

Sadly, the needle has to big to ensure the blood doesn’t hemolyze, so it doesn’t clot in the tubing, etc. It’s very large. I’m not sure if they can do anything about that. I work in a blood bank, and while we’re not a collection site, we do therapeutic phlebotomies where we use the same blood bag the Red Cross uses with needle attached to draw a unit of blood off of people with hemochromatosis. I always feel so bad sticking people with that huge needle. We do have a smaller needle we can use if we have to though, since we draw the unit off and throw it away. (It Can’t be used for donation.)

I would absolutely inform them the next time that you’re a bit harder to stick and that you would prefer a more experienced person to draw it. All said in a nice way, of course.

Thank you for donating! We’re entering into the summer season, and that is when we get all kinds of notices at work about the blood shortages.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

I have small veins too. Sometimes the Heartland employee looks at them and grimaces. But it usually works out and I've successfully given blood many times over the years.

If someone seems especially nervous about your small veins, I would ask if a supervisor could do the draw instead. I've had people decide on their own that they would prefer a more experienced person to start my draw, or sometimes they try once and then if they're unsuccessful they get someone else. My impression is that there's often someone on duty who is the designated expert for situations like this.

I agree about staying hydrated--and starting to drink extra water a few days in advance.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

In addition to the above, is there so where else you can donate? Some places require more training.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

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Originally Posted by OnlyBelieve View Post
In addition to the above, is there so where else you can donate? Some places require more training.
My mom suggested this, but this is the only permanent place that is in my area. Unless you can do it at hospitals. But the blood bank has a website and this is it unless I want to drive far away.

The 2 other ladies he indicated should do it next time were busy watching The Biggest Catch and didn't even glance our way when it seemed obvious things weren't going well. So I'm not sure I have confidence in them either.

Maybe I will try to find a new place. I guess I could drive into the big city every two months and maybe treat myself while I'm there. It's just not as convenient

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Old 04-15-2018, 07:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

Thank you for donating. My children have needed blood donations as well and one of those children is O-.

Besides hydration and finding a better trained center (which is something , one thing you can do AFTER the donation to help prevent bruising is to put firm pressure on the site for 5 minutes immediately after they remove the needle. It seems so counterintuitive that firm pressure prevents bruising, but I have seen it work dozens of times for my kids. I'm not even sure why, I just know that a nurse told us once, we did it, and we were amazed. Now, if they fiddle with the needle to find a vein, sometimes that bruises no matter what, but mostly, pressure helps prevent bruising and pain afterwords.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: Giving blood - I'm having issues - experienced donors chime in!

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Originally Posted by derdsgirl View Post
Thank you for donating. My children have needed blood donations as well and one of those children is O-.

Besides hydration and finding a better trained center (which is something , one thing you can do AFTER the donation to help prevent bruising is to put firm pressure on the site for 5 minutes immediately after they remove the needle. It seems so counterintuitive that firm pressure prevents bruising, but I have seen it work dozens of times for my kids. I'm not even sure why, I just know that a nurse told us once, we did it, and we were amazed. Now, if they fiddle with the needle to find a vein, sometimes that bruises no matter what, but mostly, pressure helps prevent bruising and pain afterwords.
I did use pressure and then ice packs and did not bruise even though I had dull pain for 2 days.

Thanks everyone for encouraging me to keep trying. I really want to make it work!

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