Yesterday my colleague came back from lunch, said she was going to donate blood, and asked if I wanted to come along. It didn't seem like a big deal--as a universal donor (O+) I always mean to do it more often.
The last time I was going to donate was the birthday on which I got laid off. Something about hearing that our whole office was being eliminated made me feel lightheaded enough not to want to lose a pint of blood on top of it. And the time before that, my brother needed blood for his surgery. I lied about my weight to be able to give him two pints, so I could barely walk after that. Hey, it's my baby brother--I'd cut out my own heart if I thought it would help him.
Obviously those other factors were what made me feel dizzy after donating, right? So I filled out the forms, hopped on the table and let the phlebotomist hook me up. It really wasn't a big deal. She gave me a little grip-shaped cylinder to rotate in my hand while the blood came out and after a few minutes the bag was full with 1 pint/1 pound of blood. Everyone was really impressed that I filled it in just 6 minutes, 22 seconds. It was some kind of record.
I felt great. I jumped off the table and to the "recovery area" where an elderly volunteer was handing out chips, cookies and juice. I opened a bag of Sun Chips and started making small talk with him about how many people he'd seen pass out after donating. The volunteer said there were three who blacked out the day before, all in a row, but none so far that day. I was feeling fine, mentioned something about feeling a tiny bit woozy, and one of the phlebotomists ran over and told me to sit closer to the table with my knees under it.
The next thing I remember was that I was having a really vivid dream and woke up to one of those scenes from a movie where silhouettes standing over me were starting to become clearer. I was lying on the floor. There was an ice pack on my neck and on my belly under my shirt, they had a fan on me and the guy was telling me to rock my knees back and forth. And way off in the distance, I heard someone say, "Get me my purse! I have to call her mother!"
With that, I snapped right back into consciousness. Not my mom! Please don't call my mom! She'd already left for the day and was probably still on the road. The last thing you ever want to tell a driving mother is that her kid has had some sort of accident--and of course those people told her I'd blacked out and fallen down somewhere. I started panicking that she'd get into some kind of accident because I was an idiot.
The nurses kept taking my blood pressure (which is always sort of low to begin with) and tsk-tsking me for not having hydrated or eaten more before getting on the table. I looked around and saw the contents of that bag of Sun Chips strewn all around me, crushed to a powder by everyone who had rushed to help.
And mom made great time. She took one look at me, asked if I was feeling okay, then smacked me and demanded to know why I hadn't eaten more for breakfast. Which is exactly what I'd told all of them she would do. I was just glad she hadn't freaked out. She gave me something to eat, scolded me more and told me to get my butt back to work.
When I got back to the office, my coworkers had somehow crammed a full-sized wheelchair behind my desk, covered the arms, back, footrests, the floor around it and my keyboard with blankets, and adorned it with signs that said "Cadiz's wheelchair, do not remove" "I've fallen and I can't get up!" and "I'm not sleeping, I passed out." Then everybody proceeded to make me eat and drink every fifteen minutes for the next several hours.
I came home to find my mother had gone to the store and made a fat pot roast. It was so delicious I forgot how full I already was. I've learned my lesson! Next time I want to donate blood, I'll be sure to have a nice juicy cheeseburger first.