Sunday, October 14, 2012

There Won't Be Blood

I passed out attempting to donate blood yesterday.

Now, let me note that, due to a strong sense of guilt social obligation, I feel like I should donate blood.  Sure, I give my time and money to various charities.  But anybody can give time and/or money.  Not everybody can give blood.

I, however, can give blood at this point in my life, and therefore feel like I should.  I feel like a random patient would love to have my blood.  My blood hasn't been exposed to any serious risk factors, so the recipient of my blood would be assured that his/her new blood has lived a relatively boring and safe life.  I mean, sure, my blood is teeming with Prozac and caffeine, but it's not like getting happy, perky blood is a bad thing, right?

So when the family and I walked into the library yesterday and I saw that they were having a blood drive, I went right in.  They noted that they would be squeezing me in as the last donor, which is a detail that sort of becomes relevant later.

I should also point out that my past attempts to donate blood have had mixed results.  I donated once in college with absolutely no adverse effects.  Then, I attempted to donate again at age 26, and I nearly passed out during the finger-prick they do in advance to test your blood, so they turned me away.

Yesterday's attempt was my third.  And I figured all my aversions to needles and blood and veins would probably have gone out the window, since I had given birth in the interim between my last attempt and yesterday's donation.

The donation actually went fine.  It was the post-donation that kind of went awry.

I was supposed to sit at the snack table for 15 minutes, which already felt kind of unnecessary because, as I said, they were wrapping up the blood drive.  Another group was already at the door waiting to have their meeting in the next time slot for the meeting room.  Bill and Nathan were milling about with nothing to do.  So I kind of had a Let's get this show on the road attitude.

But then I began to panic.  I told the employees I wanted to lie down.  Immediately they sprung into action.  It was like I was on ER in its mid-90s glory days.  They pulled out a mat and I had to lie on the floor right next to my chair, and then they shoved ice packs down my shirt and put a fan next to my head.  And I was supposed to move my legs back and forth.

At that point, Bill and Nathan came in to see what was taking so long.  The blood drive employees had packed up every single bit of equipment around me.  I was all, "I'm fine!  Let's go!"

And then I nearly passed out in the parking lot.  The blood drive guy came after me and dragged me back indoors.  Back to the exercise mat and the ice packs.

As a side note, when they took the blood they had told me to take off my cardigan, so I was only wearing an ill-fitting undershirt that kind of exposed my stomach fat.  In an attempt to leave without too much shame but still meet the blood drive's "keep cool" directive, I had put my free blood donor t-shirt on over the undershirt.  But then they told me to take off the shirt, which I was having trouble doing without making my undershirt ride up, and at a certain point, I said, "Screw it, you're all going to see my bra."  I think Bill was horrified.

So there I was, lying there with my stomach fat exposed and ice packs down my shirt, and trying to be all, No, Nathan, Mommy is fine, even though I'm pretty sure he wasn't the least bit concerned because he was busy devouring the contents of my vampire-themed "Fangs for Your Donation" goody bag.

And they let the next meeting come in.  They were just like, We'll have them work around you.  And they told me to squeeze my buttocks over and over.

My one saving grace was that at least I didn't know anybody in that meeting.  Which is saying a lot in a small town like this where everybody seems to know everybody else.

Meanwhile, I downed two packs of Cheez-Its, some Gatorade, and a small bag of Famous Amos cookies in an attempt to regain full consciousness.  (As a fun aside, the guy who came and chased me down in the parking lot looked a little like Famous Amos.)

At one point I was thinking of asking them if I could just have my blood back.  That seemed like it would solve the problem.

Eventually I got to the point where I could at least remain conscious on the drive home.  (It probably goes without saying that Bill was driving.)  Then I woozily made it through the evening.  And now this morning, I'm still feeling woozy. Which I'm pretty sure is all psychological at this point, but just to be safe I think I'd better take a nap and have Chipotle for lunch.  Chipotle has a lot of iron in it.

So, there will be no more blood donation for me.  You can have my time and my money, but you can't have my bodily fluids.  Maybe I can pay other people to donate blood in my stead.

The thing is, I rationalize away my guilt like this: My blood type is O+.  It's neither rare nor the universal donor.  What do they want with my blood anyway?

I'm posting about this to see if I can find some kindred spirits out there who are also too wussy to donate blood.  Leave your story in the comments, fellow wusses!


Maria The Mum said...

It's good to see you back!
Sorry you passed out - my youngest sister has the same experience every time she gives blood....why she keeps giving is beyond me!
Yey you somehow managed to put just the right spin on this and I'm laughing with you!
Glad you're back...!!

Adele said...

I'm with ya, Sister!! I am, of course, a fellow wussy. Although I have had several good experiences, two stand out, and the last time was the Last Time. Although I have a rare blood type, I also have small veins, which can make things difficult. The first bad experience was after they had dug around for a vein for what seemed like ten minutes. Finally, after they got the needle in, the vein collapsed, and the blood-taker was all "Well, you got nervous!" Like, what else was I supposed to do? As if I went all the way there, just to make my vein collapse on purpose. Because that's the secret trick I play, just for kicks. The Last Time involved my blood being in a stingy, slow mood, and after laying there the maximum time, while others came and went, they didn't get enough blood to use for any purpose at all. Epic Fail Two, and I am out.