In high school I greatly looked forward to turning 18 and being able to donate blood. It was an exciting concept to me, my blood running through some one else's veins to keep them alive.
I was very pleased when I discovered my community college was a big advocate of blood drives. They had one every time the time limit to donate again was up.
It was at CCC that I donated for the first time. Everything seemed to go well, but at the end the nurse mentioned, "It was a little rough getting it to stop bleeding. No worries though, you'll just have some bruises from it."
By "bruises" I imagined I might get a little purple around the area the needle went in. Instead by the next evening , I was black and blue all over my arm, from shoulder to wrist. It was kinda scary, but mostly very, very.....very embarrassing.
When I went to the store later that week, the store clerk slipped a battered women's hotline card in my cash back. People everywhere stopped to gawk and ask, "Woah, what happened?"
My heart beat got off rhythm too. It would be beating normal, and then seemed to skip two beats, and then beat super fast until it calmed to a normal rate again. It felt like I had gas in my chest when it happened.
Time went by, and I shrugged it off as just a freak thing that happened. By the next blood drive, I was excited to sign up again.
Things seemed to go a little better the 2nd time. They did fine finding a vein, and removing the needle from the vein. It all seemed very well, until I went to leave. Yep, I fainted.
One moment I was smiling and proudly walking away, the next moment I was lying on the floor with 10 people surrounding me all asking if I was ok. I insisted I was fine and just a little dizzy, as I tried to pull myself up to stand again. I was halfway up, when I found myself waking up on the floor again. They made me stay there laying in the chair for 2 hours.
It scared me enough that I waited a year before working up the nerve to try donating again. Third time's a charm ya know!
This time, they had trouble finding a vein, but got it in and the blood started flowing, and flowing, and flowing and flowing. The nurse called a supervisor, and it kept flowing. I didn't really pick up that anything was wrong, until the supervisor said, "I think we need to call a paramedic."
They couldn't get me to stop bleeding!
They told me to stay calm, when I was actually more calm then they were. Just when the supervisor said she was going to get help, the nurse exclaimed, "It's stopped!"
Again I had to lay there for an hour and a half. Then three weeks later, I got this lovely letter in the mail.
|The letter went on to say that due to complications, the Red Cross felt it was unsafe for me to participate in future blood drives.|