Monday, July 16, 2007
I donated blood & all I got was this t-shirt...
...and a strong case of nausea!

Yesterday morning, Oronzo and I arrived at mass to find a huge blown up blood drop character outside our church, as well as a bloodmobile bus. Apparently there was a blood drive push being sponsored by our parish.

I've never donated blood before, mainly because I never met the 110 lb. weight requirement. Now that I've finally surpassed that requirement by 5 lbs, I had no excuse.

After mass, I went over to the blood mobile and registered. The sign said it was a 10 minute process to donate blood. That was so not true! I took me about an hour.

I read the booklet and then I was escorted into a tiny room to answer several pre-qualifying yes/no questions with a nice lady in a white lab coat.

Q: "Within the last year, have you been to any third-world disease-ravaged countries?"
A: "No."

Q: "Within the last year, have you had s*x with anyone from a third-world disease-ravaged country?"
A: "No."

Q: "Within the last year, have you had s*x with someone who might have had s*x with someone from a third-world disease-ravaged country?"
A: "No."

Q: "Have you ever taken money for s*x?"
A: "Um, no," I said.

I think you get the point of how personal this line of questioning was. Apparently I answered "No" enough times to qualify to donate blood because I was eventually lead to a blue lounge chair on the bus, where a man in a white lab coat tried to find a good vein. He practically jumped up and down with glee when I told him I have the rare AB- blood type (1 in 100 people have this).

I made it very clear that I would pass out if I saw the large needle or the blood, I don't do well with either. I squeezed my eyes shut tight when he told me the needle was going in. Thankfully he was good and it wasn't that painful. I looked out the bus window and watched people go by as a pint (600 grams) of my blood slowly drained out of me and into a plastic bag being rocked back and forth to mix my blood anti-coagulate. 6 more tubes were taken after that for testing purposes.

After I was done, I slowly sat up and felt fine. I went to the back of the bus, where Oronzo was getting ready to donate his blood, and retrieved Snuggle Bug from him.

In the time that it took for me to walk from one end of the bus to another, I started to feel nauseous. It hit hard very quickly! I called out, "I don't feel so good," and then, "I think I'm going to throw up!" I felt dizzy like I was going to pass out at any minute!

Two lab techs rushed towards me, one grabbing a waste paper basket to put near me. I was slowly escorted back to the blue lounge chair and made to lay down. I had a cold compress put on my forehead and my neck and my feet were elevated.

I was told to spend the next 20 minutes laying down. A lab tech checked on me frequently and brought me juice to drink. She asked what I had eaten for breakfast and I confessed that I hadn't had any breakfast yet. "Well, that's why you almost passed out! After we took so much blood out, I'm sure your body went into shock."

Snuggle Bug was a trooper. He sat nearby, within eyesight, happily munching on the cookies and juice that the lab tech had given him. He never once got ansy or anxious.

Once the color returned to my face, they let me get up and go sit on the bench next to Snuggle Bug, plying me with more juice and raisins. When I was ready to exit the bloodmobile bus, they insisted that I take a t-shirt home with me.

The rest of the afternoon I was pretty useless. I went home and took a 3 hour nap and awoke feeling quite a bit better at 4:00 p.m.

I know donating blood is a good thing but I think I'm going to be a bit hesitant to do it again anytime soon. And when I finally do push aside the memories of this bad first experience, I'll at least make sure to eat a hearty breakfast before giving up any of my blood!

So, have any of you donated blood? If so, how was your experience?

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6:00 AM

At 1:21 AM, Blogger sandierpastures said...

Wow. They certainly have the thing for "third-world-disease-ravaged-country"!!

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Sally said...

Sounds like they should have asked you if you had eaten anything that day!! =)

I've never given blood...even though I'm WAY past the minimum weight, I think I would get light headed and nauseous, too...and I HATE that feeling.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger CDPJ said...

That does sound like a horrible first experience, but I do think it was mostly related to the fact you hadn't eaten anything. I can't believe they didn't ask you that!!

At 6:49 AM, Blogger T with Honey said...

I think about donating blood every time I see a sign for a blood drive. I haven't done it yet because I tend to get a little faint if they have to take more than 3 tubes during a blood draw. I can't imagine how I'd feel after an entire pint.

This gives me a little more to think about. Maybe I'll consult with my doctor before taking the plunge. But I'd really like to give back.

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have given blood before, just not in a while. I always had the excuse that I was pregnant and they wouldn't let me give, but now that isn't true since the youngest is almost 3! But I can say that I didn't have any nausea/light headednesss when I gave. We always seemed to be having the blood drives at work and it never failed that if I got someone to also go and give that they ended up light headed and had to stay extra long and I had just got to go on back to work! (That sure does sound like a kid trying to get out of class, doesn't it?)

At 8:39 AM, Blogger scmom said...

It is very important to have eaten something prior to giving -- now you know, right? That may have been in the literature, but yes, you are inundated with reading material -- sadly, to protect the blood supply. If you are only five pounds over the limit, you may still be too small -- I think this especially applies to women and especially during menstruation. I used to work for the American Red Cross (not in the blood center but in public relations) and I gave gallons. Now I can't give because I too get light-headed because of heavy menstruation. It was great that you tried, and now that you know you got light-headed, you can forewarn the staff next time. They're usually pretty good to you. It's really a worthwhile contribution!

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Jacquie said...

I am a chicken when it comes to donating blood. I too am one of those "look away from the needle" people.

Kudos to you. I think I will never get over my fear LOL.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

You are a brave, brave woman! Good for you! I'm sorry you had such a bad reaction. =( I'm actually the Blood Drive Coordinator for my company and I've yet to donate blood. But I do have a good excuse, I just don't meet the weight requirement. Maybe someday when I'm not nursing little babies!!

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Killlashandra said...

After becoming the human pin cushion in the hospital when I had to have my gall bladder removed after the bith of my son, I stopped giving blood.

I went from the ER nurses to the pre-op nurses and finally the MD head of anesthesiology who finally put one in my neck. I was so dehydrated and hysterical by then I didn't know which end was up by the time they returned me to my room. I did know I had over 15 pin pricks from my ankles to my neck.

Needles didn't use to make me twitch now I really have to focus on something else just to get through a little blood draw for tests.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger crissybug said...

I too have an aversion to needles, but have donated blood quite a bit. I have O- blood which can be given to pretty much anyone. I was also told that my blood was 'pure' and could be given to babies. I have always had a pleasant and fun experience. Besides it is nice to know that I am doing something to help another.

I haven't donated in quite some time because I have pregnant or nursing, but would like to do it again in the future.

I woudn't write it off right away. Probably the majority of your problem was the fact that you hadn't eaten anything. That had to have put quite the number on your body.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

I gave blood once and hyperventilated after it was over and passed out. I had to be wheeled off and lay on a cot with my feet up. It was humiliating and the next day I had a 6 inch round bruise on my arm where they stuck me. Needless to say I'm scared to give again, but everytime I see the "give blood" sign I want to. Maybe some day I'll get up the nerve and hopefully I want pass out again.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I used to give blood regularly. The very first time I was a senior in high school and they set up in our school so I went. I went during my lunch time (w/out eating lunch) I'm sure you can see where this is going. I sat up, felt fine, and walked over to the table to get my snack and drink. I sat down and someone was asking me my name and that's the last thing I remember. I passed out. I woke up laying on the floor of the school library with all these people looking down at me calling my name and saying to wake up - a bit embarassing! I did continue to give blood - making sure I had something to eat and drink before hand.

Then they changed their requirements several years ago and because I had been to Germany I couldn't give blood.

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous pinks & blues girls said...

Oh my gosh, I give you SO MUCH credit for doing that! I am so fearful of large needles and blood, too. When my husband had a staff infection last October and I had to bring him to the emergency room, he had blood drawn and I nearly passed out. They had to get a hospital bed out for me, too! So embarrassing!

So, I commend you!!

Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Cindy said...

I used to donate fairly frequently. The Red Cross had me on their call list since I have O- (universal donor) and CMV- (my blood can be used for preemies). But even though I would eat well, I decided that the nausea wasn't worth it. I chickened out the last time I went, and then they called me the next week to reschedule! I asked to be put on their do not call list, and I actually had to take extraordinary steps (I didn't resort to saying "yes" to one of the questions you were asked, but it did cross my mind!) to get off their call list. So I hesitate to do it again (even when I'm not pregnant) because I'm afraid I'll be called constantly to come donate.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger LeftCoastOnlooker said...

You'd think they'd bother to ask when you ate last, if they're going to be that nosy about your personal business.
Never gave blood, my veins are rebellious, though I've tried.

Oh, found you through someone's link to the book idea

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Nadine said...

I used to give blood all the time, especially when I lived in Florida (the FL-GA Blood Alliance was wonderful), but I made the mistake of giving the Red Cross my phone number. They call me incessantly at all hours of the day, which does not put me in a giving mood!

I could tell some tales of horror from my experiences, but I don't want to scare you...

Hello, btw, I happened upon your blog because I am considering adoption myself.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger PastorMac's Ann said...

Oh what a bummer! I'm so sorry that you had a bad experience! That's no fun.

I've been donating blood since my college days and have had some "interesting" experiences but nothing serious. To date I've donated 6 gallons. It can be a hassle to get called alot and sometimes it's uncomfortable but there's such a need; when I donate I think about folks like this beautiful mommy/wife and this little cute guy who need blood and platelets to help them fight and hopefully win battles with cancer.

You were brave to give it a go OW, next time don't forget breakfast. ;-)

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Awesome Mom said...

I hope that you do go back. I started donating more often after Evan got blood in the process of having his heart surgeries. I felt humbled that some stranger took time to donate blood that helped save my child's life so I should pay it forward and do the same.

I am surprised that they did not ask you when you ate last. They always ask me that when I go in.

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

You certainly did a wonderful thing to all the people who needed the AB blood type. You were brave and deserve the right to have that t-shirt.

At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Carrie said...

True. If you think about the fact that it helps a lot of people, you probably wouldn't feel too bad about it at all.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Jim Cooney said...

I know so many people who have this unfortunate experience every time they try to donate. Fortunately I'm twice the weight minimum which is probably why I don't have a problem!

Still looking for someone who shares my outlook on blood donation, which I talk about here:

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Jim Cooney said...

Sorry, here's the linkto my donating experience


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