That Time I Donated Blood and Almost Fainted.

You know, rules exist for a reason. I mean the argument that rules are meant to be broken is valid in some cases, and sometimes rules are excessive, but ultimately I think most rules are intended for the best interest of those following them.

So when rules change, it’s only natural to assume that the change is for the better… This was not one of those situations.

My school has a blood drive at least twice every year, and as sad as it is, one of my bucket list items has been to be healthy enough to donate blood. It’s partly because I think everyone who can donate blood (and organs) should, but also because it’s nice to know that some small action that I take can actually help someone else.

However, every year (without fail) I get turned away at the door when I try to donate. It’s always the same spiel: you don’t weigh enough for your height, come back when you’re —– pounds. And every time, I get a little annoyed because if I was at the weight they wanted me to be, I would have an overweight BMI (Such is the plague of being only 5’1”).

In theory, the reason they’re turning me away is because I probably don’t have that much blood to spare anyways. So I really should have expected what happened to me today.

By some stroke of luck, the American Red Cross people were a lot more lenient this year, and even though I wasn’t the right weight for my height, I was over the minimum weight requirement, so they let it slide. (My friend, who was about my build and weighed slightly less, was turned away at the door, though. I should have seen the omen when it came.)

Anyways, this was the one year I wasn’t planning to donate. After years of being turned away, I just stopped trying. It wasn’t until I was ambushed by my principal and basically coerced into asking them if I could donate that I realized I could (Obviously, when I realized I could, I wanted to donate).

After the phlebotomist asked me lots of questions and took lots of measurements (I had low BP but we still kept going… another omen), I basically had a needle shoved into the pit of my elbow for about 15 minutes. Of course, I wasn’t anticipating to donate blood so I was probably (definitely) dehydrated. (I also was feeling nauseous the day before, but I conveniently forgot about that till now?) That meant that the blood was coming out slowly, and I only gave about 1 unit. I was also the last person of the day, so everyone was trying to help out and make my viscous blood flow faster (it wasn’t).

And then, I got a clot. Of course, I got a clot. Basically, they needed two vials of blood to send for HIV testing so my blood could be administered for transfusions, and my veins weren’t cooperating. I decided that if I was going to donate blood, I might as well go all the way and let them use the vein from my other arm to draw more blood for the vials.

Of course, we were nearing the end of the school day at this point, and when I hopped off the bed and sat down to eat some cookies and recover, I finally crashed off my adrenaline high (I’m like 90% sure my childhood fear of needles was keeping me going).

I felt terrible. I broke into cold sweats. My head felt incredibly heavy. I saw black, everywhere. All I wanted to do was crawl to the nearest toilet and vomit because I was that nauseous. Thankfully, I was sitting on the ground, or I’m sure I would have fainted right then and there.

So I got my friends to call over a nurse and I was bombarded with cold compresses and maneuvered into a lying down position with my legs up in the air.

And the entire time all I was thinking was: of course this would happen to me.

I’m fine now if you’re wondering. The nurse made my mom come pick me up, and I’ve had more bottles of water than I’ve had all week. I even canceled all my plans so I could just recuperate.

Moral of the story? TINY PEOPLE NEED TO WATCH OUT BEFORE THEY TRY TO DONATE BLOOD. also, the rules really do exist for a reason (and I shouldn’t have just impulsively decided to donate blood even if my principal did kind of goad me into it).


Also: If you can donate blood safely, please do so. It’s an amazing and worthwhile cause.


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