Why I probably should never give blood again

Today when I left to pick up my lunch Tyler, my husband, said, awesome, I’ll get my lunch when you get back.

However, when I got to my destination, I saw the big red bus, I’ve seen it around lately, but I always had my kids with me. So I thought, “Perfect, I can donate blood since Adelyn was with Tyler.”

Unfortunately, it took longer than I had planned. But I figured what the hell, I’m already here, and I saw him on the ring leave to pick up food.

Once it was my turn, a woman wrapped a stretchy tourniquet around my arm and vigorously rubbed the little alcohol pad where she was going to stick me with a needle. Before she inserted the needle, she gave me a little blood drop to squeeze. First, she drew about six vials of blood for testing, and when that was complete, she clamped off the line. She attached a new line with multiple bags attached to the end. My blood flowed quickly into all the bags; I spent three times longer waiting to give blood than I did actually giving blood. When I was finished, she asked me how I felt, and I answered honestly, I didn’t feel dizzy; everything seemed fine. Feeling perfectly normal, I stood up, grabbed my purse, and said goodbye to the women operating the bus. I had to walk down three little steps to leave, and I did so without tripping, which would be a success any day, not just on one where I gave blood.

The big red bus was an icebox, and it was far warmer outside. There have been times where the temperature change has affected me, but I felt fine, so I walked across the parking lot to pick up the food I ordered while giving blood.

This is where things go downhill.

The cashier tells me that she doesn’t have my order, but as I’m listening to her, I start to feel my head sweat; I think shit, this is not good. I pull out my phone from my purse and show her my order. For some reason, I put my phone back in my purse, or at least I think I did. I don’t really remember. But in those seconds, my vision starts to go black, and all I can think is shit, shit, shit, I need to sit down before I faint. Usually, I can stop the fainting spell if I get close to the ground.

I’m not sure if I ever really answered her or if I passed out because the next thing I know, her coworker, Sergio, is holding me and freaking out. I don’t blame him. It seems I went head first towards their register. Thankfully he caught me before I actually hit anything. I don’t know how long I was out, or maybe people moved quicker when freaked out, but when I came to the girl I was speaking with already called 911, and the ambulance was on their way.

Sergio helped me to a bench that some had pulled away from a wall. The moment my butt hit the seat, he asked me if I was okay. I told him, “Yes, I just need to eat something.” The female cashier handed me lemonade. I know that’s a little dangerous because she doesn’t know if I had any food allergies, but in reality, it was the best thing for me because every time my head started spinning again, I took a drink, and the sugar made me feel better. Unfortunately, the dispatcher told her to take it away from me, and she did. The room kind of spun again, so I laid down, knowing it would stop the spinning. Another customer looks over at me and informs me that I should sit up because it is not good to lay down after fainting. Not having the energy to argue, I sat up and saw the ambulance lights in the glass door. I wanted to tell him that I’d faint way too many times before, and I needed to lay down to stop the world from spinning.

I was utterly embarrassed that there were like five or six EMTs walking in with a stretcher. I understand seeing someone faint is scary, but for me, it is normal. Unfortunately, I fainted in a restaurant which meant they HAD to call the ambulance for insurance purposes. The EMTs informed me that I couldn’t walk out, and I had to get on the stretcher. Honestly, it was far more embarrassing being wheeled out to an ambulance than it was fainting in public.

Being in the ambulance was overwhelming. It was a very tiny space, and all five or six EMTs were surrounding me. They were constantly talking, and it was confusing trying to figure out if they were talking to me or about me. Two of them had these enormous gray masks that made me feel like I was in a horror movie and was the next patient zero. To get my vitals, they hooked me up to all these wires. It was absurd. I know they were doing their job, but I was getting angry, and they were getting between me and food. Soon one of the younger ones started asking me questions, “Who’s the former president?” He asked, and my snippy self answered, “he’s still president until January.” I guess that counted for them because I got a few laughs. The last cognitive question was “What year is it?” to which I answered “2020” and gestured to the fact I was sitting in an ambulance. Everything on their machines said what I knew. I was fine. But I knew this. I could feel myself getting better drinking the lemonade. I just needed to get sugar in me, but they still insisted I should go to the hospital.

I refused.

I didn’t want to pay the bill for them to tell me I didn’t eat enough before I got my blood taken. An older EMT came in and told me he’s worried because fainting isn’t normal, which is kind of is if you don’t eat enough and give blood, but it’s also normal for me outside donating. He told me they were worried it might happen again. I’m not sure if I told him this or kept it in my head, but I was like, “yeeeees, it probably will. I keep telling you that.” I remember telling some of them that I’ve been called a fainting goat before because I often do it.

Eventually, I convinced them that I was not going to the hospital. I felt like I was getting snappy, but at this point, I was hangry. I really hope I wasn’t getting pissy, but I can’t be held accountable for what I say when I’m hungry. Finally, they say they would release me if my husband came to get me. I didn’t want to call him. After finding out I was fine, he was annoyed that I made a bad decision to donate blood when I hadn’t eaten in a while because I knew better. I explained to him that he had to get me, and he told me that they should take me to the hospital since I was making bad decisions and driving him crazy. I half think the EMTs thought about doing it.

While we waited for him, I talked to the two EMTs still in the back with me. I told them having so many people in one little spot was intense; I was certain I had fewer people in the room with me when I was in labor. He said, “Yeah, that’s the luxury of a hospital and the controlled environment. Usually, when they got a fainting call, it wasn’t as easy as this.”

Which I get, we live in an area full of old people. These EMTs were super nice but young. It was weird. I felt old the moment they told me when they graduated high school. I kept telling them that they made me feel old, and when I told them that I was 34, they both said I didn’t look 34, which is great, but what do people think 34 looks like?!? I really think the more we talked, the more comfortable they were with me going home. At least I hope they were since I am fine and finally got to eat my lunch. But you would never know by how many little sticker things I kept pulling off of me. I felt like they were trying to turn me into a cyborg.

To the PBG Fire Rescue Team, thank you for handling my hangry dizzy self with care and respect. You all are wonderful. And Sergio, thank you for catching me when I tried to dive face-first into your register.

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