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Giving blood is a way to give people you do not know their life. That sounds like I am glorifying the activity. It is just a fact. There are operations that the patient has to be given blood for them to survive an operation. I have given more than six gallons of blood in five cities.
I started donating blood when I was a freshman at Austin Peay State University. I became uneasy when I was approached to donate blood. I was aware that people donated blood, but I did not know what was involved in donating blood. I was given my appointment time to show up at the National Guard Armory to give blood. I said, “Yes,” because Sue, a pretty blond, asked me. We had attended the same high school. Sue was talking to me which made my heart beat as fast as it did when the nurse inserted the needle into my arm. She and I were in different social circles. I did not care why she was talking with me. I was happy she was talking to me. I wish I could say giving blood got me a date with Sue. It didn’t. I did have an exciting experience that I can remember in detail forty years later. I wonder if a date with Sue would have given me a similar impact.
After I had given my pint of blood, I was sitting at the refreshment table having a cookie and something to drink. I passed out. Yes, I passed out. The wall I was facing starting moving. I knew something was up, but I did not know what. As I laid my head on the table, I said, “I think I am going to pass out.” I was right. I still had just enough muscle control to softly lay my head on the table. I did not bang my head on the table.
I do not know if my passing out had an impact on Sue. She was sitting across the table from me when I passed out. I guess me passing out did not disturb her. She could have asked me out on a date to make me feel better about passing out.
One thing I do know is I could not move a finger, but I could hear everything that was said. From what I could hear, the nurses and their aids were scrambling to find out what had happened while I was resting at the refreshment table. I heard someone tell someone to bring the ammonia. I did not want ammonia to be put to my nose. I knew I had only one thing to do. I had to move my body. I tried, but nothing moved. My fear arrived. I smelt the ammonia. Without any conscious effort on my part, I started moving when the ammonia sailed up my nose. Someone tilted my chair backwards, and with me in the chair, someone or ones took me and the chair to a table. Somehow I ended up on a table and was told to lie on the table. Miss Dumbroski was my guarding angel. Once I started thinking clearly, I realized what had happened. I got embarrassed, because I had passed out.
Once it was determined that I could get off the table and visit the refreshment table for the second time, Miss Dumbroski told me to lean on her, and she would help me go to the table. I had already been to the table and did not like what happened. She was so small and old that if I had fallen, both of us would have hit the floor. Sue was not in sight when I had my second visit to the refreshment table.
The blood mobile unit was based in Nashville, Tennessee. I did not know that my first pint of donated blood was starting a six-year relationship with this specific blood mobile unit. I gave blood at Belmont University and two businesses in Nashville, Tennessee. Several times over the next several years, I saw Miss Dumbroski when I gave blood. She did not remember me. Like Sue, she did not ask me out for a date.
I never had as an exciting time giving blood as I did my first time. I once was given a stern lecture about closing my eyes while I was laying on the table giving blood. Normally I watched what was happening to other people. One time I was tired and decided to rest and not watch the blood donating floor show. I closed my eyes. I did not realize that when a person was giving blood, closed eyes generally meant to the nurses that something was wrong. When the nurses realized that I had on purpose closed my eyes, I was quickly and sternly told to never close my eyes when giving blood.
In Kansas City, Missouri, the blood bank was opened on major holidays. I was able to visit my family about half of the holidays during the time I lived in Kansas City. When I stayed in Kansas City, I would give blood. You could have extra cookies if you donated blood on the holidays. The staff was happy when a person would call and make a reservation to donate blood.
Most of the times than I donated blood were uneventful. Even the sticking of the needle in my arm even if it hurt was just a slight sting for about a second.
A former resident of Pot Neck, Tennessee
Date last modified, September 9, 2010
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