So I did my Funny Airplane Story, now it’s time for one about giving blood! For a long time I was reeeeally terrified of giving blood. If I think too hard about it I still get a little freaked out. Just the idea that there’s a tube connected to my life source, blaah it freaks me out. Same feeling with IVs. My church back home was always having blood drives, and the blood drive vans are constantly on campus at school. I always just had to walk by those awful slogans about how someone’s life depends on me and just feel bad. In my defense at least, I’ve been technically underweight and unable to give blood for most of my life, so I really wasn’t even supposed to give blood, but if I had been able to at the time I would’ve been too scared to.
Well, last fall I had finally made it up to a steady 113 pounds, and saw one of the blood drive vans on my way home from class. I had been thinking about it for a few days and finally decided to face my fears and save a life! I was walking with a friend and he was also planning on donating, so we went together! It took a long time to go through the forms and then wait, but we finally got in. He was very nice and supportive, I was glad to have a friend there for my first time giving blood! I was surprised that it didn’t really hurt much and didn’t take long! I was especially worried they wouldn’t be able to hit my veins since I have tiny arms and tiny veins. Quoth the just-trained newbie nurse guy to his superior; “Um, her veins are like…real small..” That didn’t help my nervousness at all! But he ended up doing fine and we all cheered for him. I felt really good about myself afterwords =) I knew you were supposed to be kind of dizzy, but I walked home (right across the street) and didn’t feel strange at all until reaching the top of the stairs of my dorm building (I live on the third floor), and even then I just felt a little woozy at worst. The rest of the day I was totally fine!
This year was WAY different. I had just gotten out of class and had about three hours before I needed to go to marching band practice, so I figured that was enough time to give blood and get dinner. It took forever to get through, but I got up on the table with what was going to be plenty of time to give and make it to practice. I noticed that the needle thing hurt a lot more than I remembered from last time, and it actually hurt every time I squeezed the foam thing they give you. The nurse kept asking if I was ok, I guess I was making a painful face! I knew it was all working correctly and the blood was flowing OK, and I really didn’t want her to have to try and re-place the needle again so I just said I was fine. It didn’t take very long to give my share, and the nurse said once I was ready I could get a snack and be on my way! So I just hopped up out of the chair and went over to the counter where the snacks were. That’s when I started feeling really lightheaded and my vision started blacking out. It just felt like when you normally stand up too fast, so I started to put my hand on the counter to brace myself until it went away.
The next thing I knew, I could hear voices all around me slowly fading in, and I think I felt kind of hot and feverish or something like that. As I started to come back into consciousness, I could see that the nurse who had been helping me was telling people around me what to do. One of them was taking my blood pressure. After several minutes I started piecing things together. Then I asked about the dumbest thing I could have asked at that point: “…did I pass out or something?” The nurse said that yes, I had taken a little spill. Apparently I had fallen backwards and hit the back of my head on a corner of a dividing wall in the van, so they had an ice pack on the back of my head, and one on my chest I guess to help with my temperature. After a while they gave me a soda and I just sat there and drank it like a zombie.
They told me I could stay there as long as I wanted and I eventually asked someone to bring my stuff over so I could call Nick and see if he was free to come pick me up. He was, thank goodness! Always there to rescue me =) I was able to stand up OK and didn’t feel too weak or shaky, but they wouldn’t let me leave the van until Nick’s car was outside. One of the nice girls I had talked to before giving blood had even offered to stay with me after til I felt better after she saw me pass out, people are so nice! At this point I also called a girl in my section in band to tell her I wasn’t going to make it there in time, if at all! She was super sweet about it too =)
Nick took me to the dining hall to get some nourishment so I didn’t pass out again! I felt really weird all along the way and up the stairs to the dining hall. We sat down and I asked Nick to get my food for me since I didn’t feel well at all. I started to eat some and drank water and apple juice, but I just felt worse and worse. I called my mom since she’s a nurse now to get some post-passing out from blood loss advice. She told me the foods and drinks I ought to consume, but before we were finished talking I decided I needed to go throw up. I went to the bathroom and threw up for the first time since probably grade school when I was sick with the stomach flu. Interestingly, there was another girl in the bathroom who had just thrown up also, but hers was from something she drank that somebody put too much salt water in or something like that.
When I came out of the bathroom Nick was waiting for me =) We got some soup and drinks from the convenience store and went back to my place and he got my stuff out of my room so I could spend the rest of the evening at his place and he could take care of me. By the time we got back to his place I had to throw up again >_< I just felt horrible! After that I just laid in bed for the rest of the night with a migraine. I had gotten migraines twice in high school, but I’m pretty sure they were triggered by stress. Those were cool migraines because I would get several of the auras you can get before having a migraine, and it was just the bad headache and no throwing up. This time was just awful and there was nothing cool about it! Nick’s roommate gave me a propel water and Nick made me some soup after a while.
So I’m still not sure what made me have such a bad reaction to giving blood this time around compared to last semester! I hadn’t weighed myself at all at school, but over the summer I didn’t think I had lost any weight. Now that I’m home I am back under 110, so maybe I had been underweight when I gave blood? Do 3 or 4 pounds really make that much of a difference?
I don’t really know how to regard giving blood from now on… I know I’ll wait a lot longer before I get off of the bed, and I’ll sit up for a bit first before I stand, and make sure I’ve eaten directly beforehand. But I’m pretty sure I just hopped right up the first time I gave blood and it was no problem. Is it really my weight that’s the issue? Should I not give blood until I’m well above 110? And was the migraine triggered by the blood loss or the passing out/hitting my head?
I guess this story wasn’t so much funny as it was distressing, haha. It was my first time passing out, my second time giving blood, and my third time having a migraine. Interesting day!