Yesterday I biked to work as normal in the morning, fully intending to bike home in the afternoon, despite the little detail that I was donating blood. No big deal, I’ve given blood plenty of times before and always bounced right back. The warning, “Do not do strenuous exercise or lift heavy objects for at least 12 hours [after donating],” was written for other people, not for me, right?
For better or worse, I never got to test whether or not their warning applied to me, because I got sidelined much earlier in the process. I was reclining on the cot, donation almost complete, when my vision started to blur and my head got fuzzy. I could hear them saying my name repeatedly, but it took me awhile to realize that I was supposed to respond. The staff quickly lowered my head, raised my feet, and placed cold packs on my neck and forehead. And I was back. And feeling ridiculous for almost passing out.
Fortunately, I completed my donation. (They took the “lightweight” amount of blood.) However, after spending 40 minutes on the cot recovering (including one relapse), walking back to work with my teeth chattering (when it was not cold), and feeling really drained the rest of the day, I was perfectly happy to take public transit home.
*Note: I’m not sure what made this one time different than the 20+ other times I have donated blood, and I will certainly not let this one time deter me from donating in the future. However, in the future I will NOT assume that I will be able to complete a 6-mile, moderately strenuous bike ride just six hours after donating.