Pins and Needles

I donated blood yesterday. It didn’t go so well.

I’m not the kinda person who is scared of needles or a little blood, and so was unfazed by the drops lying on the floor of the blood donation room (there was a guy who wouldn’t stop bleeding, and it got a bit messy).

They made me lie down and looked for a vein to stick their needle into. Apparently, the veins on my right arm are a bit shy and refused to come to the surface even though the guy put a damn tight tourniquet on my arm and made me squeeze a little heart shaped stress ball multiple times.  He finally gave up and switched arms, my left arm veins were more visible. So far so good.

He injected a really huge scary looking needle into my arm, but I was fine cos he’d given me local anaesthesia (which I first declined from taking cos I’ve had some bad experiences at the dentist’s with local anaesthesia, but then I saw the size of the needle and quickly changed my mind! :P)

I don’t know if it was the anesthesia combined with the strenuous day or the lack of  heavy food, but as I was reaching the 450ml mark, I started feeling a bit … weak I guess. I was feeling light-headed and my body was tingling. The doc removed the needle (cos he was done by then) and asked me how I was feeling, and I remember trying to explain ” I’m feeling a bit …” and then I think I blacked out.

All I remember after was it being white and a bunch of people talking. Some of them were calling me, some were talking amongst themselves, but they all seemed pretty nonchalant. Then my sister was calling me on my cell phone  (no ringtone, just her voice calling me) and I wanted to answer, but couldn’t, cos I couldn’t lift my hand, it was too heavy. I then realized my eyes were closed, and I couldn’t open them cos my lids felt heavy too. But I was feeling quite calm.

Finally, I slowly opened my eyes, with the intention of reaching out for my phone to answer my sister’s call, and that’s when I realized I’d blacked out and my phone wasn’t ringing. My friend was standing  next to me looking all freaked out, and the doc asked me how I was feeling.

I was weak, too weak to even lift my arms. And extremely cold. And everyone was staring at me, which would have been horrible if I was strong enough to care. I was thirsty and asked for water. The cold liquid felt good. But then they wanted to give me juice cos apparently I needed sugar in my system. My friend forced me to drink 2 of those mini cartons of Lacnor orange juice, and it was all I could do to keep it in.

It was a while before I could leave the hospital and when I got home, cos every time I tried sitting up I’d feel dizzy again. When I finally got home, the few steps I had to take to walk to my house made me so dizzy that I threw up the juice (though that made me feel instantly better). My friend, poor thing, was extremely worried and wanted me to sleep at her place, but I knew I’d be okay if I could just rest. She bought a huge bottle of chocolate milk for me to drink. Instead, I stuffed a piece of dark chocolate into my mouth and washed it down with some water and just went to bed.

I’m still feeling pretty weak. But better than before. Been in bed most of the day. Hope I feel better by tomorrow, cos I have a fantastic iftar meal planned with the gang that I don’t wanna miss!

But it sure was a freaky experience alright!

I’m curious, has anyone ever experienced or heard of something like this happening during a blood donation?

16 thoughts on “Pins and Needles

  1. The Wild Child says:


    Get some rest and EAT WELL, you over-enthu bum! When I said volunteer work I meant go teach some kids!!

    In answer to your question, yes, the same thing happened to my massi. And it took her a few days to get back to her normal self.

    Take care of yourself. Wow (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  2. Apoorva says:

    Ummm… yeah, happened to me the first time I donated blood. Donation done, I moved to a room where they gave me tea and biscuits and as I was eating, I felt weird and then passed out. However, I could from a distance see people gather around me, trying to wake me up etc. and I could also see myself, which was kinda weird. Probably an out of body experience? :S

    Well, I was up, ate more, drank more. Went out, got a chicken roll, hopped onto the train and ate some more.

    After this, I faint at every blood donation drive. It results in more food and drinks. Kinda works out well!

    ps – I finally realized I get woozy by the smell of spirit… thats been the culprit.

    • Sanjana says:

      ooh! Okayy then! This is quite normal for people! But for me, it definitely wasn’t the spirits. It was just the lack of blood and the over-exertions of the day I think.
      But I didn’t actually just pass out. My eyes rolled back into my head and I started shaking and stuff. My friend was completely freaked!

  3. Rakesh says:

    Yup, I donated blood once and felt a little weak after that. 1 tender coconut did the trick though almost instantly.

    I guess, you need a healthy blood pressure to be able to donate. And healthy blood pressure comes from regular exercise :)

    Actually, I got a similar weak feeling when I was getting a tattoo. Even that I guess makes your blood pressure fall.

    • Sanjana says:

      ooh! It all makes sense now! My friend had a veryy bad reaction when he got his tattoo. Similar to mine, but worse, cos he was actually frothing at the mouth and all! And the tattoo guy said it must have been the over-exertions of the day (we’d gone quad biking and all sorts of the stuff in the day).

      I was walking out in the sun for over an hour before I finally headed home and then rushed to the hospital. So yeah.

  4. Sig says:

    Oh wow! I donated blood a couple of years ago and didn’t have this kind of reaction – was a little weak but ok. Might have been because it was at the start of the day and I hadn’t done much to exert myself.

    Hope you’re ok now!

  5. bini says:

    You gotta take care when you donate.I’ve been donating every 54 days since last year and went woozy once in between. but not as bad as you describe. Do they take your haemoglobin before donating? I always have a good breakfast like egg and a glass of milk and make sure I drink a lot of water. So make sure your not going on an empty stomach-it sure sounded scary. You most likely had nausea due to some sort of imbalance from donating blood.Hope your feeling better now-Bini:)

    • Sanjana says:

      Hey Bini!
      Yeah, they checked my haemoglobin, it was fine. I guess I was just too exhausted from the day. And i hadn’t eaten properly, so I guess it all added up!

      I’m fine now! Thanks for asking! :)

      Where’s your blog link!?

  6. nmaha says:

    Hi babe, hope you’re feeling better. Scary right. This has happened to my mom, she has low BP, and now she’s not allowed to donate blood anymore. Apparently her system went into shock.

    • Sanjana says:

      I’m fine now! :)
      But yeah, it was a bit scary at the time. And it took me 3 days to recover, which is longer than normal. At one point I was actually eating whole spoonfuls of sugar (yuck!) to bring my sugar levels up so the light-headed feeling would stop.

  7. sweetridgesisters says:

    I had a very similar experience to this last time I donated blood, and it really terrified me. I started donating as a teenager, and really like the idea of participating and helping society- but after the last time I am really loath to do it again.

    • Sanjana says:

      I know! I want to donate as well, but after what happened to me, and considering the fact that I *still* haven’t completely recovered yet, I’m definitely not gonna donate anymore!

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