I still remember the first time I donated blood. It was in college. This girl that I sorta liked convinced me that it was the right thing to do. Somehow she got me to get over my aversion to needles and my squeamishness to blood. It ended up being a bust because she ended up being too low on iron to donate blood, so she ended up ditching me while the technicians drained me of a pint of blood.
I’ve had other busts too. Once, a couple of days after donating blood I went for a bike ride. It was at Cantelow road, one of the hills that I bike up from time to time to train for century rides. I had forgotten that I was missing a pint of blood, so I remember wondering why I felt so tired and weak. I ended up having to get off my bike a short way up the hill. As I started walking up, I started to black out and had to lie down on the side of the road. After a long rest I barely mustered enough strength to walk the rest of the way up the hill, but didn’t have enough energy to bike back to Davis. I ended up having to call my bro for help.
The whole process of donating blood is kind of uncomfortable. The prick on the finger, the huge needle they stick into your arm to draw blood, the blood pressure thingamabob squeezing your arm for an extended period of time– none of it is really pleasant. And I still feel sorta squeamish around blood. But I always smile at the end. What makes me smile at the end is the reminder, “Drink a lot of fluids, eat a hearty meal, don’t skip any meals…” That is probably the easiest command anyone has ever given to me. As if I would ever voluntarily skip dinner….
Part of the reason why I donate is the blood pressure check. My family has a history of high blood pressure, so I like to check it whenever I can. I found today that it was 104 over 62, surprisingly decent considering all the crap I’ve been eating lately and all the extra pounds I’m carrying. At the camping trip to Fort Bragg this past weekend I ate a lot of fatty ground beef and bacon. My working theory is that bacon grease lubricates the arteries. Less friction = less pressure. Who wants to test my theory?