Tuesday, July 9, 2013
MEMORIES OF MY BLOOD DONATION EXERCISE
By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
On Friday, 14 June, 2013, I donated half a litre of my precious blood to all potential recipients, in this world. It was my first time. This was during a joint blood donation drive organized by Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS), in conjunction with Crane Bank, at the City Square, Kampala. Being my first time, it was not an easy thing to do. Just like I posted on my Facebook page on that day, as I got closer to the venue, I was afraid of the exercise, as ever before. But, I was determined to donate. So, I garnered courage and strength to sustain me. I said to myself, “Bakampa, you are a renowned warrior, a formidable combatant and street fighter, who has successfully fought against dictators, with all their repressive terror machines; you went through the pain of circumcision; you even conquered Satan by accepting Jesus as your personal saviour! Now, how can mere needle pricks on the finger and arm vein, scare you to death, in a mockery of your brevity? No, no, no! Impossible!” With this courage, that is only comparable to that of a night dancer, I stormed the venue, probably like nobody else has ever done before.
On the first table, I was counselled, generally, about the whole exercise, by a gentleman, who took and recorded my particulars like name and age. On the second table, I underwent testing to confirm that I had enough blood to donate. Here, a lady pricked one of my fingers, squeezed a drop of blood in a chemical mixture, where it sank like a heavy stone in water, indicating that I had excess and probably idle blood in my body. On the third table, more of my particulars like place of residence, district of origin and interestingly, my mother’s name, only, not dad, were taken and recorded, by two girls. When I asked why my mother’s name was necessary, I was told that whereas it may be possible that my known father is actually not my real father, this is not possible with my mother. At this moment, I shuddered at the recollection of numerous stories of women and their terrible lies. Then finally, came my turn to lie on the bed-like chair, from where blood would be drawn out of my body. I shivered, as I saw the lady concerned, prepare her gadgets and measure my blood pressure. When she inserted the syringe-like needle in my vain, complete with its transparent bag, where the blood is collected, I shed some tears out of fear. Dear reader, the fear of the unknown can be quite intimidating. I pumped blood and filled the half litre bag in just about five minutes. As I saw my blood flow out of my body, I felt happy and proud of myself because I knew that I was saving a needy soul somewhere. I encourage you to donate too. It is pretty fast and painless. After donating, I was given a coupon-like card to keep and present in the future as evidence of my having donated. I was also told to check with Nakasero Blood Bank after two weeks for my results concerning things like my blood group and diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and some other disease, which when detected in the blood sample, it is poured. Then I was given some goodies like soda biscuits, a banana, and a Crane Bank T-shirt.
On Friday, 28 June, 2013, I went to the Blood Bank to get my results as advised. At the reception, I introduced myself, presented my blood donation coupon and was directed to the counselling room, where I met a friendly young man who attended to me. He sat in front of a computer while I sat behind it, facing him. The computer had my results. After checking and reading through its records, he told me, as expected for I am as chaste as the Pope, that I tested negative of all the above diseases. He asked me whether I knew my blood group. “No I don’t,” I said. “Your blood group is AB+,” he said. I had ever studied about the science of blood groups, particularly in primary school, but I needed a reminder of what this meant. He explained that people with blood group AB+ can only donate to people with a similar blood group, AB+; but, on the contrary, that they can receive blood from all types of blood groups, such that if I ever needed blood, the doctors will just pick whichever blood is available, without first having to confirm that that sample is compatible with mine. Plus and this is most important and really funny, that scientists have discovered that people of blood group AB+, belong to the lineage of monkeys! Hahaha. The good news in this is that, assuming that all the people in the world refused to donate blood to me, a monkey would be found anywhere, blood got from it and injected it in my body. Isn’t that nice? It is, for sure. Actually, now that monkeys are my blood relatives, I treasure and guard them jealously. I am very protective of them. I have therefore, declared war on all those who harass and kill them especially, the poachers. I shall not sit idle while my own are butchered by mean, cruel and heartless people!