Passing Out

Last Sunday, we had another blood drive at our church. I signed up, as I had a few times before. This would be my fourth time to donate blood, so I figured everything would go just fine as it had the previous times.

And overall, it did all go just fine. I am usually a slow bleeder, but this time I was done in less than 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you are marked as slow, which they need to know for something or other. I’m really not sure what.

I got up from the chair and went over to the table where there were some snacks, and I started to eat some Doritos and drink a Sprite. And that is when things started going wrong. I soon started feeling light-headed, and then the room started to spin. I told Laura, who was sitting next to me, and she said to put my head down on the table.

The next thing I knew, the Lifeblood nurses were telling me I was going to move to one of their reclining chairs. I’m not sure how the chair got there next to where I had been sitting, but I moved a few steps over to it.

The next thing I knew after that, the nurses were asking me if I could open my eyes, which I did, and they told me to keep them open. They asked me if I knew where I was, and I said that I was in the church building. They were stuffing ice packs behind my head, around my ankles, and in my shirt. They asked if I was hot, but I didn’t feel hot. But strangely, the ice packs didn’t feel cold, either. After that, things started to get more clear, as a nurse took my blood pressure, which was something like 90/60. They brought me more to eat and drink, and I slowly got back to something resembling normal.

Evidently, I missed much of the excitement, such as the fact that I turned a really strange color of either pale or green. And I missed the nurse shaking me repeatedly and saying, “Mr. Burns! Mr Burns! Can you hear me?” I was apparently the center of attention for a few minutes.

Needless to say, I felt pretty lousy for the rest of the evening. They kept checking my blood pressure for 45 minutes, and it slowly came up, although it still wasn’t quite normal. But I was able to move around okay, so they let me go. Fortunately, they were having a hamburger dinner in the fellowship hall for blood donors. We hadn’t signed up to stay, but they said they had enough for us, so we ate there, which probably helped me some, too. And also fortunately, Laura had done just fine on her first time of donating, so she was able to drive us home.

I am very thankful for the quick attention of the Lifeblood folks, who knew just what to do. And I am thankful for those of our church family who stayed there with Laura and me until they were confident I was going to be okay, as well as for those who asked about me later on. Word got around, apparently.

I’m doing fine now. And in looking back at it, what probably happened was that I didn’t have enough food in my stomach. We had eaten a big lunch, but it was probably gone by that time of the afternoon. I will have to remember to have a snack next time before I go. Once I get up the courage to try again.

Because that isn’t necessarily a feeling I want to repeat.

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