Monday, July 9, 2007

Blood Donation

Today I thought I would do a good deed and give blood (there is a huge shortage in CA). I gave blood about 3 months ago, and the Red Cross has been calling me every week or so to come back, so I decided to fit it into my lunch break. Due to some minor complications, my hour long lunch break turned into two.

Usually when I donate blood, I get a little queasy afterwards due to a loss of blood pressure. I have to sit in the chair for about 20 minutes before I get up and they usually have to put ice packs on my forehead and neck, no big deal. Well today I sat there for about 10 minutes and felt fine. I had eaten a good lunch and drank plenty of fluids so I thought I was in the clear.

I walked over to the "break" area where they make you eat and drink something and hang out for a few minutes before leaving. I sat down and was talking to a couple of volunteers who were there for their first day about my experience, etc. I felt my head start to pound, and everything started to go black. "Oh no, I don't feel so good," I told her.

She yells "We need assistance!" at the top of her lungs and about 10 workers come over and tilt my chair back to get me in a horizontal position. "Mam, we need you to lay down." "Where?" "On the floor." Great, so I have to lay down on the break room linoleum floor while all the other donors are looking at me, enjoying their muffins. They put ice packs on my neck and forehead and all hover around me. They bring over a wheelchair but I act "tough" and tell them I'm fine. I lay on the floor for five minutes or so and sit back up (this time in the chair), trying to eat the muffin and lemonade that they are forcing on me.

Once again, I turn white and start to black out. So this time I decide to go lay on their bed rather than on the floor. I am still being tough so I tell them I can walk there on my own. About 3 feet away from the bed I almost completely black out, but I manage to make it. They made me lay there for 20 minutes before they let me go back to finish my muffin.

After that I was okay, but it was definitely embarrassing, especially laying on the floor with everyone hovering over me. Apparently it happens often, and is more common with women. I think this is my fifth or sixth time donating blood, and I will definitely go back after my 56 days are up. But next time I will try to eat a bigger meal and drink even more water before I go, and I will force myself to sit there for at least 20 minutes before getting up.

If you don't donate blood already, I definitely recommend it (I'm sure your experience will be better than mine). You can save someone's life in a measly 1-2 hours, which is pretty cool. Click here to find blood donation locations near you.

1 comment:

Jeffrey said...

I know it's not really a good thing to happen to you and it's not very funny, but...I had a good belly laugh going. By the way, this is Jen and not Jeff. I had to use his gmail account because I don't have one.