October 31st, 2007 at 6:32 am (Uncategorized)
In keeping with the Halloween spirit, my company decided to host our annual Health Fair and Benefits sign up on Halloween day, along with a blood drive. I’m not really sure how that keeps the spirit of Halloween, but it seemed to make perfect sense to our HR department.
Knowing that my karma needs a boost (I’ve apparently been bad lately cause my karma seems to be sucking), I decide to donate blood if my iron is high enough. So, I sign up for donation and plan ahead. I’ll work out at an early lunch (since I know I won’t have energy afterward), have something to eat, get my free flu shot and then donate blood.
So, I’m waiting for Joyce, who’s in a phone meeting, so we can go workout. The plan was to hit the gym at about 11:00, giving me plenty of time to eat in between the workout and blood donation, which is at 1:30, the latest slot. But, of course, the call runs late and it’s 11:30 before we head down to the Health Fair (to see if they have food for lunch) and get the free flu shot, then workout.
The food is not quite lunch quality, but pretty close. No real protein to speak of, but lots of nuts, fruit, vegetables, granola bars and trick-or-treat candy. We decide that since we’re running late, it will do. So, we get our flu shots and hit the gym.
After the workout, it’s just after 1:00 (too much lollygagging in the shower I guess). So I rush over to the Health fair and eat a bag of trail mix, a granola bar, some veggies, and a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Not the healthiest lunch ever, but I figure it will do.
Off I go to the blood donation room, where they’re showing movies to the victims. I fill out the forms and wait to see if my iron passes the test. They take a drop of blood, plop it into a blue liquid and watch it to see if it sinks. I ask, what if it just hovers? The nurse replies, then we have to spin it to see. So, we watch. And it takes its sweet time, but the drop sinks all the way down. Yay! I can now commence with the blood giving.
I’m lead to a “pod”, a chair that’s permanently in a reclined shape that can be tilted forward or back, depending on the need. Currently, it’s more upright and I get in, get stuck with a needle, and drained of a quart of blood (ok, it’s a pint, but it looks like a LOT more and it’s more fun to say I’m a quart low).
After the blood giving is done, they hand you a pamphlet with the common side effects, sit you up and make you stay there for 15 minutes to make sure you aren’t going to pass out or anything. I’m a bit thirsty, but other than that, I feel fine and figure I’ll get a drink when I move over to the refreshment table in 15 minutes. So, I sit, reading the side effects. Which I start to think are slightly ludicrous and rather funny. I mean “make sure you don’t go to the bathroom alone” “don’t stand up or bend over too quickly” and “don’t climb stairs” seem like ridiculous statements. So I start poking fun at them in my head, mentally rolling my eyes.
Then God taught me humility.
As I mentally roll my eyes, I actually feel the blood draining from my head. It’s a VERY peculiar feeling. And I announce to the room at large, “I’m feeling a bit light-headed now…” and then a nap seems like a REALLY good idea, so I take one. Everyone else tells me I passed out, but I’m sticking to the nap theory because I actually thought, “I want a nap.”
I even had time for a dream, which I now don’t remember, but it was good because when I heard my name being insistently called and I opened my eyes to find six people standing over me (I’d been lowered to a lying down position), a cold compress on my chest, one on my head, a nurse flapping a paper at me to get me air and another nurse telling me to open my eyes, my first thought was, “but I was having such a good dream”. What I said was, “what?”
They made me keep my eyes open. They made me talk about random things. I told them it was Halloween and I was supposed to scare them. They took my blood pressure; 80 over 50. Apparently, that’s low.
We tried to piece together why my reaction was so bad and came up with, I did everything wrong. First off, I worked out. Apparently that lowers your blood pressure after your heart rate has returned to normal. I was told I’m never allowed to do both on the same day again. Second, I didn’t eat enough or early enough. I guess your supposed to eat a hearty meal at least an hour before. Third, I hadn’t drank enough water that day and should’ve asked the minute I felt thirsty afterward. Forth, I was wearing a tight top as part of my costume, so I couldn’t breath as freely or fully as I should.
I sat there for an hour, while they took blood pressure readings and fed me salty food and water. A nurse told me that I’d be tired and want a nap later, that I shouldn’t fight the urge. But she wouldn’t let me take it then, which annoyed me greatly. I either wanted to close my eyes and sleep or get up and move around. Lying there was torture if I couldn’t sleep. When my blood pressure stabilized at a whopping 100 over 50, the head nurse declared me well enough to head back to my desk. Thank god.
A nurse insisted on walking with me. They made me take the elevator up one floor. I felt like an idiot. But I got permission to eat anything I wanted that day. I wanted steak. I got Reese’s. I guess that’s something. And I got a fun story to tell.
The question now is after such a negative reaction, will I give blood again? I like to think so. But I won’t know until the opportunity arises again. Next time, I think I’ll remember to eat.