Yesterday as I was venturing into the registrar’s site to drop a class, a solicitor for the United Blood Services Bloodmobile asked me if I would like to give blood. “Sure,” I said, “but I don’t have time right now. How long are you guys going to be here?” He said they’d be there until tomorrow at 2:30, so I said I’d probably be back. Day went by, went home, asked TJ if he’d like to give blood with me tomorrow; he was as eager as I was because neither of us had ever given blood before. It’d be a cool new experience and, hey, who doesn’t like helping people, right?
Today I finish my last class, meet up with Teej, head over to the bloodmobile. Now that the event us upon me, the reality starts to set in. “I hate hospitals and I hate needles,” I tell Teej as we read our pamphlets and wait to be interviewed. “No backing out for you now, Steve.” I told him I didn’t want to back out, but that I was just pointing out how much I dislike those things. The girl calls me in to interview me. “Have you been in prison in the last 72 hours? Have you had sex with a person of the same gender? Have you traded sex for money or drugs? Have you been tested positive for HIV?” I know these are innocent questions meant to initially screen potential donors, but all I can think about is how freaky it all is. By now I’m feeling really uncomfortable in the bloodmobile because it’s really cold in there and I had just been out in the heat, I’m really scared, and all these questions are freaking me out more. I can’t explain it; it all seems a little silly now, but a strange feeling started creeping up in my stomach and I felt ever so slightly dizzy. All I could think about was how much I wanted to run out of the bloodmobile…a terrible place with its needles, uniformed workers, and hospital smell.
The lady concludes the interview and tells me to walk midway down the bloodmobile and lay in the only open bed. I start walking down there, the dizziness starting to be magnified. I’m really freaking out now…
…and then I hear “Let me help you up…you passed out.” I was lying on the floor of the bloodmobile and everyone was looking at me. Later Teej told me he heard a large thud, looked over, and then saw me lying on the floor. I couldn’t believe I fainted…I felt so ashamed. I hopped up on the bed and started to put myself back together.
Well, they asked me if I felt up to doing it; I had to insist repeatedly that I was ok and wanted to do it. I found out later that they don’t let people who faint continue to give blood…but they were gonna let me. I cringed as they jammed the needle in my arm. As the blood began to be pumped out of me, I started to feel really lightheaded and my extremities were tingling, like the life was being sucked out of me. I told the guy who was watching me that I felt dizzy and he elevated my feet and put a cold pack under my neck.
I finished giving blood, went into the post-bloodgiving-area and had my free cookies and orange juice, grabbed my free creepy bobblehead doll (who is a blood droplet in a Phoenix Suns uniform), and proceed to wait the required 15 minutes with Teej. I was feeling pretty good at this point and when our time was up, Teej and I split ways to walk to our cars. I got about 30 yards (to the next bench) and felt like I was going to faint. I sat down and just started panicking…I tried to get back up, but I couldn’t even stand without feeling like I was going to pass out again. I called Teej to pick me up and, like the good friend that he is, he came over to get me. He couldn’t park by where I was at, and I couldn’t walk to where he parked, so he went to get an ASU golf-cart transportation person to take me. They won’t do that without a doctor’s note, so they sent over some cops instead. By the time they got there, I felt fine and I also felt like a big idiot. I walked to TJ’s car and got a ride home (my truck is still at ASU as I speak).
All in all…one of the worst experiences of my life. I’m not really sure what conclusions to draw from the whole experience, but I still feel like crap…lethargic, sleepy, and weak. I want to go hang out with people tonight, but I just don’t feel up to it. Apologies to anyone who I don’t get together with. I don’t want to type anymore…I’m done.