Today I donated blood for the second time. The first time was a horrible experience a little over two years ago. I came this close to passing out...or I did, next thing I knew I had 4 people surrounding me while still attached to the bag. After I was done draining, I almost pass out again while getting up, so I had to lay there for an additional 30 minutes. I was walked back to my office (because I was smart enough to do this during my lunch break) to have to rest on my office floor for much of the rest of the afternoon. While I told myself what I did was great I said I wouldn't do it again.
But a lot of time went by and I figured I learned from the past. Eat more and drink more before you get there. I did not :( I get there, and it was not efficiently run. I read the documents, have my interview, initial 'physical' and answer all the questions. I tell them I am nervous because my last experience was horrible. They advised me not to donate today from my lack of food/water and because I was nervous. But I said NO, I must continue otherwise I may not attempt to donate again. They had me drink a small juice before I lay down. Guy 1 couldn't find a vein and called Guy 2 over, who found it quickly and tied me up - and I think assumed Guy 1 would come back to pop the needle in my arm. But he didn't and my arm starts to turn blue. Guy 2 finally sticks me with the needle and my blood starts flowing. He said it should take a little over 7 minutes. I lay there, eventually pull my legs up and squeeze the ball lightly. I concentrate really hard on breathing and counting the spots on the ceiling. I was doing OK, the room did not go all white. Finally Girl 2 came over and unplugged me, but this took a while, and I started feeling a little dizzy. But I am strong and said I thought I was OK. Once I was unplugged I sat up...wow, still conscious. I walk over to the table and I am starting to feel weak. OH NO Guy 3 yells out..."Watch her, she is too pale. make her drink" and then proceeded to sit next to me and stare at my face and opened my water and told me I had to drink the whole thing quickly. He kept asking me questions so I stayed conscious. I was shaking like crazy, but the floor stayed straight. I guess the color started coming back to me because in 15 minutes they allowed me to leave. It was nice the 3 people I 'worked' with all told me I did a good job.
I was so proud of myself, I survived and managed to eventually save up to three people (as the blood is broken down into their components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma). This time, while still really uncomfortable, was a lot better than the first time. I hope that now that I had a decent experience I will be able to donate more often. And...since I will be sore/bruised for a few days, I will remember how good I feel about helping those in need.
Did you know that only 4% of eligible blood donors actually donate blood? That isn't enough, I encourage you to do it. If I can do it - so can you.
More information about blood donation: http://www.givelife2.org/donor/faq.asp