Friday, May 10, 2013

There will (not) be blood.

So... yesterday I donated blood for the third time in my life.  And for the second time, I went into shock.  Alas, on the advice of the most fabulous, caring, compassionate, lovely nurse Joanne, I won't be donating again.
 
Now, the first time I donated, I figured it was pretty much my own fault.  The donation itself went fine (needles don't bother me).  When they removed the needle and I was told to hold the bandage in place, I did as I was told.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't put ANY pressure on the needle site whatsoever and within a couple of minutes, there was blood all over my hand and dripping on the floor.  I asked loudly "Is this supposed to happen?".  What can I say? Even in the face of bleeding to death, I kept my wonky sense of humour.  As soon as the nurse beside me replied with "Oh Shit!", I instantly felt sick, my face lost all colour and someone threw my feet in the air.  Yadda yadda yadda, I got the afternoon off work, had to have my brother drive me home and spent the next 18-ish hours sleeping, eating Ritz crackers, and drinking OJ.
 
Flash forward about 8 years.  I decided to bite the bullet two months ago and signed up to donate blood at work.  Couldn't have gone better.  Jason, my nurse, was gentle and understanding when I explained my first experience and everything was textbook.  Lots of juice and a few cookies, then I was back at work. Easy peasy.  You can see how I was deceived into donating again.
 
Yesterday, I merrily popped down to the concourse level of my office building, signed in and was off to the blood donating races once more.  Very excited, I imagined myself being one of those clockwork donors who go every couple of months and save hundreds of lives.  Yeah!  That's going to be me! 
 
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.  No, its not.
 
Everything seemed fine until she put the needle into my arm.  It seemed surprisingly big this time around.  And it hurt a little.  Now, as I said, I'm good with needles but I took a peek at it in my arm and was a little ick-ed out.  I looked away and felt fine.  The nurse and I chatted merrily about all manner of topics until the timer went off ten minutes later. All done!  Yippeee for me!  Another few lives saved.  You're welcome.
 
Then she removed the needle.
 
Things turned bad.
 
I didn't watch the needle coming out or saw anything that would make me feel ill.  However, the needle hurt again coming out.  As soon as I felt it slip out of my skin, I didn't feel well.  I remember the next 15 seconds or so, mumbling something about feeling a little queasy.  Next thing I know, I'm dreaming about my cats and a group of people are tugging at my face and neck.  Turns out its the nurses at the donation station bringing back to consciousness and wrapping cold damp cloths all around my face and neck.  I lost consciousness for about 15 seconds.  About two minutes later, I threw up into a plastic bag in front of 25 strangers.  I don't throw up in front of people but at that moment there was just no stopping it.  They turned on a giant fan (much to the annoyance of the warm weather clad donors around me) but it didn't stop the sweat pouring off every inch of my skin.
 
They had moved me to a bed off to the side where I could lay down and try and rest, eat a cookie or two and sip on some water.  Two hours later, I finally managed to stand/sit up long enough to be sent home.  The nurses borrowed a wheelchair from the building and two of my coworkers drove me home.  Big thanks Alicia and Vera!  I'm so grateful to them, I'll even forgive them for parking the wheelchair long enough to take a picture of me slumped over, ready to throw up again in my apartment's parking lot.
 
From the moment I was wheeled through my apartment door, Nubs didn't leave my side.  I spent a short while on the couch where Nero thought he'd be supportive by snuggling and kneading my stomach (not helpful) and then I moved to my bed where Nubs curled up around me feet and kept an eye on me for the rest of the day and all night.  Every time I'd get up to go to the bathroom, get a drink or try and wander around, he'd be there at my feet, following me.  And Mom?  She took the evening off of work to stay with me, brought me damp cloths for my head, helped me change into my jammies, and ordering me pizza when I felt well enough to eat.  She's good to me.
 
So, it is with a great deal of disappointment that I take the advice of the fabulous Nurse Joanne (all hail Nurses!) and admit that I'm just one of "those" people.  I will not be donating again.  However, there is always a huge demand for blood and blood products and I encourage everyone who can to donate at least once in their lives.  Go on, save a couple of lives!  For those in Canada, contact Canadian Blood Services to find out the details or to book an appointment.

2 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wow, you don't do anything by half measures, do you? Very strange.

Karen said...

That's just the way I roll Barb. Go big or go home.