01 June 2010


I tried to give blood again yesterday. I suppose it’s good that I can’t donate more than once ever 56 days, or y’all would be getting sick of hearing about my bloodletting woes. This was only my 4th time. To recap, the first time went okay (ish), the 2nd time resulted in my now infamous healing trip to the library, and the 3rd time was awesome and I felt okay, and Alej walked me back to my cubicle afterwards to make sure I did hurt myself.

I was totally optimistic about this time. This was going to be anther positive experience to add to my list. After this I wouldn’t even need to worry about the presyncope of my past, it would just be a funny story to tell people when blood donation came up as a topic at dinner parties. My conscious brain, however, seems to hold no sway over my physiological responses. This time, I didn’t even make it through the entire donation. They pulled the needle out of me after only a few minutes.

Here’s the thing, it was different this time: they had different chairs. The last 3 times, I got to lie down on these stretcher-type beds. You’re not flat on your back, but you’re about 45-degrees or so. This time they had fancy new chairs and they were all upright. I probably should have known this would end badly. I heard someone comment that people weren’t supposed to recline the chairs. So, I tried to give blood sitting up. The needle went in, they took the testing samples, I got a little bit into the bag and then it started to hit me. At least I’m very familiar with the warning signs now. I tried to fight it, deep breaths and all that. But I was getting really hot, and having trouble focusing my eyes. I called the nurse over and told her that I was light headed and hot, and she yelled for cold compresses and ripped the needle out of my arm without even putting gloves on first. Only then did they tilt me back. Thus ended my 4th donation.

I had to lie for a while at various stages of reclining, and then sitting up. I got a couple of juice boxes and some cookies. By the time Alej showed up to walk me back to our building, I was feeling normal, just tired. And my arm was really sore where the needle was. The whole thing was discouraging. At least the time I almost passed out in the elevator I gave enough blood to be of use. This time I went through all of that and I didn’t even get to help someone. It’s not as if I love giving blood. I only do it because I meet the crazy-strict requirements, and because I think if you can give blood, then you should give blood. They said next time they can start me off in the reclining position. Stay tuned in early August for the next chapter of this saga.

You know, I really hate how my body reacts to these situations. I don’t think I’m necessarily a weak person, but both yoga and blood donation give me serious dizzies. If I were alive in the 1800s, I’d be one of those women who have to carry smelling salts (I’d be Aunt Pittypat!). One thing is for certain: I’m going to have to give up my dream of dating Eric from True Blood.


Deb said...

You know...generally, the rule is if it happens three times they'll cut you off. I got warned after nearly passing out twice that if it happened the next time, I wouldn't be allowed to donate again. Luckily, it hasn't happened again.

Ellie Fish said...

No one mentioned a 3-time rule to me, but no one there was witness to the other "incidents," so they don't know. I will have to tell them next time, though, because I'll want them to recline the chair. Maybe this was my Strike One.