I had tried giving blood once when I was in college. I hadn’t eaten well before and almost passed out in the middle of donating, so the donation was ended early. I was a bit hesitant to sign up to give blood again, but wanted to try.
When the opportunity arose at work, I decided to take advantage of it. On March 2, a Tuesday, I was nervous all day. As the time approached, I got a bit more nervous. My co-worker and I walked over together from our office to the donation location and I could feel my heart beating faster and faster.
We sat down and read the required handouts and then entered the computer questionnaire station. After answering a few questions verbally, the nurse pricked my finger and tested my iron levels – good to go. I then had to answer the questions on the computer screen, which were mostly a repeat of a lot of the same questions the nurse had asked me.
Once I finished that, the nurse led me out to a donation table and had me lay down. Another nurse came over and started the actual donation process. She looked at the veins in each of my arms, and just as I suspected, she picked my right arm where my vein prominently displays itself, just begging to be pricked.
She marked my arm for the location of the needle and the swabbed it with iodine. It seemed like forever from that point until she stuck me and started the draw, probably because I was still nervous, anxious for the donation to start so I could know if the last time I tried donating was just a fluke or if I am just not the right person to be donating blood.
I felt fine and the nurse was surprised at how quickly the bag was filling and said it wouldn’t take long. I started to finally calm down and relax and just wait. About 5 minutes in, she told me I was already half way there. I began to think how easy this was going to be.
After a few more minutes…what seemed like way more than the last five minutes, I began to feel a little lightheaded and clamy. I asked the nurse if I was almost done. She said yes and I said “Good, because I don’t feel good.” She quickly got some wet towels to put on my face and neck, but it seemed like forever before she actually pulled the needle out of my arm. I never actually passed out, but I spent the next 20-30 minutes staring at the ceiling. It was a good thing they kept me on the table because two other girls passed out while they were sitting at the snack table!
The three of us sat around the snack table for about an hour after we had given blood – and the other two girls had to have someone come and pick them up. I felt well enough to drive myself home, but the next two days, I had a headache and felt weak and tired – I even went home from work early one day!
So, my experience overall wasn’t too bad, but I’m not sure I’ll donate again and I know that in the future, I will be sure to have someone come with me if I do donate!