Adventures in Blood Donation

The last three days have been a blur. On Wednesday, I went to donate blood like I’ve been doing for years. But for the first time, as I was drinking juice in the “post-donation cantene room” (I swear that’s what they call it) and suddenly, I didn’t feel so good and have been practically bed-ridden for the past three days.

Now, every asshole I’ve told that I got sick after donating blood has been saying, “Well, what did you expect?!” They throw up their arms and look at me like I’m crazy to have expected to give blood and not feel like shit for the past three days. Those who don’t donate blood regularly, they try to attribute a direct causal relationship. Well, I’ve been giving blood regularly for the past five or six years and this is the first time anything remotely bad has happened. And before I donated, the medical assistant noted that my temperature was a little high (but still within the acceptable range for donating) and my pulse was a little high. These are traditionally signs of some infection or dehydration, but since I felt fine, we went ahead with the donation. Unfortunately, for the past three days, my pulse has been racing, my blood pressure has been high, my head has been throbbing, and I’ve barely been able to keep anything down (I am a new fan of Pedialyte freezer pops). So, obviously, I was already sick when I walked into the blood center and donating exacerbated any preexisting condition, but it certainly didn’t cause the last three days of hell I’ve been going through.

In the end, I ended up getting more blood drawn to get some bloodwork done (I’ve got the needle marks in both arms to prove it) and although not conclusive, it looks like I was legitimately sick in some way. (And appropriately, they pulled the blood I donated in the end.) I’ve been on medication for the past three days and was basically sleeping on and off all day yesterday because of the medication and attempt to sleep off the sheer pain and nausea. I’m finally feeling better now, although I’m taking it slowly. I’m behind in so many ways and I feel like I’ve lost the past three days in a blurry, drug-filled haze. To be sure though, this doesn’t discourage me from donating blood in the future– and I hope it doesn’t discourage anyone else– because I know how important donating blood can be, especially for a universal donor like myself. I’ll just make sure that if I’ve got even the smallest sign of not being 100%, I’ll wait to donate another day.

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