12 August 2008.. My First Trip to The Red Cross Building..
Two days before the anniversary of Indonesia Scout and Guide, I finally arrived at the Jakarta Red Cross Building, after a day earlier I decided to go with a few work colleagues.
This decision was finally reached after I got tired of being teased by my scout and guide friends.. "How can someone who has been instructing the scouts and the guides for years, haven't even once donated blood?"
I have also always remembered how I desperately needed blood donation when my son was hospitalised with a low trombocyte without any known reason (it was not dengue fever or paratyphoa..)
Not too long ago, I read an issue of the Indonesian Red Cross periodicals and I was really surprised to find out that a very low percentage of Indonesians have become blood donors. I cannot confidently quote the figure here, but I'm pretty sure that it was below 40%, while in many developed countries, the percentage of blood donor is usually above 80%!!
No wonder in Indonesia, the Red Cross is almost always out of blood stock for all types and the price of blood for transfusion is expensive (especially the treated/separated blood cells).
Anyway.. that day, I found out that donating blood was really easy, and not scary at all (after doing it myself). I actually felt like being treated like an exceptionally honoured guest!
I went to the Red Cross Building with three other colleagues. First we were shown the admission area, where we had to fill in a pretty straight forward form asking about our health condition, then we had our blood pressure and blood type checked.
If our blood pressure is below normal, we would not be allowed to donate blood for that particular time.
Once we were cleared by the admission staff, we were directed to the doctor, to confirm everything we wrote on the form earlier, and once it was done, we were shown the donor waiting room.
When it was my turn, one of the staff in the donor room asked me to wash my upper arm (the one where the needle would be stick into) and to lay down on one of the beds provided.
Then, she started the process. She stick the needle into my right arm and my blood started filling the bag which was already put on a machine which looked like a small rocking table.
While feeling the tiny tingling feeling in my arm, I kept looking at the big fridge where the donated blood was stored. Right there and then I felt sad.. The shelves were big but only a few bags of blood were sitting on them. Then I thought about people who were injured and desperately needed blood transfusion..
I had only been lying down for about 10 minutes, when the staff came again to take the needle off my arm and put the bag full of my blood into the blood fridge. Shen then let me lay down longer since I felt a little dizzy.
Once I felt better, she directed me to a table behind the donor room, where I could get my blood donor schedule card and lunch! WOW!
We were served rice with soup, a glass of milk and vitamin... and the staff who served the food did not stop smiling while moving from table to table delivering the food and urging everyone to eat.
After finishing our lunch.. we finally had to leave the building, carrying our schedule card. I was hoping that I will never miss any appointment in the future...