02 03 The Rhineheart Roost: The blood donation that changed my life. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The blood donation that changed my life.

I pride myself in being the kind of person who just doesn't throw up. I haven't puked in 7+ years, in fact. I'm really very talented at breathing through the nausea, calming my stomach down, and holding it in.

Yeah, well, all good things come to an end.

Today was an important milestone in Tanner's and my relationship. Today was the day we would bleed side by side, saving people's lives one drop of blood at a time. We donated blood, in case that wasn't clear. I love donating blood- love it! I love knowing I'm helping someone in a way that is life-giving and vital. It's beautiful to me, and I was excited to share this experience with my love.

Apparently this day was to have more milestones than one.

I didn't think too much about the donation today, aside from drinking a lot of water and making sure I had my ID with me. I really should have thought more about the donation though, because in my distracted state I didn't eat anything after breakfast- and one of the important things to remember when donating blood is to have eaten every meal that day leading up to the donation time. Silly me.

Tanner and I signed in, read the provided safety information, and got ready. We were really hoping to be able to donate at the same time, to, you know, bond and stuff. Unfortunately, we were seated across the room from each other as we prepared to be interviewed, so we couldn't bond over that. Still, we were hopeful that true love would prevail and we would be able to bleed together after all. A young man sat in front of me, hooked up, bleeding, and cracking jokes. I watched him as he went from cheerful and joking, to pale and weak. They stopped his donation immediately and gathered around putting cold packs on his forehead and making sure he stayed conscious. As this transpired, he remarked that he had donated several times and had never dealt with this problem before. The nurse laughed and said "well, every time is different! You never know what could happen."

All at once, I knew. I KNEW something was going to go wrong with my donation today, I just knew it. I tried to dismiss the thought of anything bad possibly happening, because I've never had ANY problems at all when it comes to donating blood. But still. I couldn't shake the uneasy feeling I had, and I hoped it was all just in my head.

The interview went well enough, with many jokes exchanged between the nurse and I. I got settled into the chair and as I was being prepped to donate, Tanner was seated right behind me! What luck! I was only able to see him via iPhone camera, though, which was slightly lame. I was still very, very happy to have him nearby though.
He's so cute when he bleeds
The donation itself was fine. I continued joking around with the nurses, taking creeper-style pictures of my Tanner, and watching with pride as the bag filled up with my blood. (I'm also pro at bleeding really fast, so that's cool.)

When the bag was full, a nurse came over to take some additional samples for testing. She asked me how I was doing, and I immediately said I felt fine. And I did, until I said that. That's when it hit me.
It started as little waves of dizziness, which I didn't think anything of, but it quickly escalated into full-blown nausea. I was sweating and shaking, and I silently prayed the nurse would hurry up, finish what she was doing, and get me the heck out of there. I also hoped she would recognize that I was not doing so hot and ask me what was wrong so I didn't have to point out that I felt slightly like death. She apparently noticed that I didn't look like my regular happy self because she asked if I was feeling okay. I told her I was a bit dizzy, and she called over a nurse to give me a cold pack.

Oh, great. I thought to myself. Now I'm going to call all this attention to myself and make all the nurses here think I'm a total sissy. Good HEAVENS that is one cold paper towel. Ow ow ow owwwww brain freeze... Also- you're about to puke, girl. You'd better let the nurse know before you decorate your shirt with your breakfast. 

As quickly as I could, I let the nurse know I was feeling nauseous. She put a trash bag on my chest and immediately I put it to good use. In between heaving, I noticed that more nurses were showing up and... Oh, no. They were putting partitions around my seat for the sake of "privacy"- which really means they let everyone know I was having a crisis and that it required hiding. I also felt terrible, because if Tanner hadn't noticed the unusually high amount of nurses around my chair before, he definitely noticed that I was now hidden from his view and something was not right. I didn't want him to worry, but I also didn't want to be throwing up, and as we know, we don't always get what we want.

Eventually, I stopped throwing up, the room stopped spinning, and I was finally able to speak without ducking back into my trash bag. The only thing still hurting was my pride, and the place where the needle had been. Tanner walked with me over to the resting area where we sipped juice and I forced myself to eat some crackers. The nurses over the resting area kept asking if I was okay and even suggested I lay on a cot for a few minutes, but I assured them I felt fine. Looking down at my whiter than usual arms, though, I could understand their worry.

Tanner took me home and has been taking care of me since then. He made some lunch for us, and got me some Gatorade to help me feel better. I honestly can't tell you enough how wonderful this boy is. At least twice a day I think about texting his mother to thank her for raising such an absolutely fantastic son, because he really is. He is selfless and caring, and I couldn't get a better guy if I tried. I'm so grateful for him and everything he does for me. Yeah. I'm crushing preeeetty hard on that one, and I can't wait to marry the living daylights outta him.



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