50 pints

I’ve finally reached a landmark in blood donations. I’ve just donated my 50th pint. That’s nearly 24 litres in the current parlance. 

This time giving blood was a good experience, I had picked a good slot, the queue was short and I was through in about half an hour. Nearly all of the COVID precautions have gone and I can’t recall if I wore my mask or not. I think I did but I am so used to seeing them that I no longer notice.

My half-century is an occasion that would have passed me by if the nurse hadn’t mentioned it. He went on to describe what would happen from here. I would soon receive a gold badge and a thank you letter. At one time I think I would have been invited to meet the Queen or something, but that has now been upped to 100 donations.

The nurse asked me when I started donating and I reminisced about a session at Whitley Bay when the doctor spoke to me about motorbikes. I was wearing a leather jacket and I thought he was interested in bikes in general when, in fact, he was worried that I would fall off on the ride home.

The nurse’s comments made me think. I give blood out of some sense of civic responsibility, if that is not too pretentious. It could be that one day, someone in my family may need blood and I hope that other people have given to make it possible. GIving blood may seem altruistic yet it is more of an insurance policy, one I am happy to keep paying as long as I can. 

I don’t expect any reward, or indeed any thanks. The prospect of a badge or an event doesn’t thrill me and seems a costly waste of limited resources. I am left wondering if there are people out there for whom it matters. Does offering an incentive actually increase the amount of donations? I guess it must, otherwise the NHS wouldn’t do it.

I’m not sure what I will do with my badge once it arrives, probably just put it in a drawer. Perhaps I am just a Grinch?

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