Give me all your blood!

I went with my dad to learn more about what he’s been doing for the last 50 years or so – donating blood. He started in the military, in his teens, and has continued throughout his life. Today was his 80th time he has donated! Once he turns 70, he’s not allowed to keep donating – something he doesn’t look forward to.

Today’s my 80th time donating… that makes about 35 liters!

In Sweden, lots of people donate on a regular basis. It’s not like in the US, where the Red Cross manages the blood donation, rather each medical facility (most hospitals, or other facilities) have a blood donation center.

The donation starts with a questionnaire about what you’ve been up to lately, to make sure you’re still relatively healthy, and a good donor candidate. Then there’s an interview to confirm the questionnaire. You get to pick out a prize, too, for donating! They have a whole cabinet full of tumblers, coffee cups, and so forth. (I forgot to take a photo of that, but see the cup we got!). And then they hook you up…

Each donation is about 4.5 dl (450ml) of blood. My dad probably has between 5-6 liters of blood, so giving up less than a tenth of that, seems ok. He got some iron pills to rebuild his supply of blood. Learn more about blood here…

The blood donation center had a small waiting / recovery area, with a fridge full of sandwiches and juices to help recover from the donation. There were a few people having a fika after having donated blood. Very different from what I’ve seen in the US, since it always seems temporary there, with the Red Cross rolling in with a bus in some parking lot… thoughts?

My dad is pretty spry for his age, and we skipped the fika, heading for our next adventure!