When You Stop Bleeding From Blood Donations

Amber Casperson, News Editor

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When people ask me if they should donate blood, I usually say, “absolutely.” It’s something I believe in, and if you want to get paid for it, that’s cool too. There are places that do that.

People need blood, and synthetic blood hasn’t been 100% successful yet. The only way to get it is from willing, healthy humans. But even if you are healthy, there is no guarantee you’ll be accepted. Had mono in the last six months? Denied. Low iron levels? Denied. Traveled out of country? Denied. Gay man who have ever been sexual active? DENIED.

Passing the exam, in my experience, is the easy part. The moment I’m on the donation table, I wonder how much experience does the volunteer Red Cross really have at sticking in needles. Especially now.

Last year, a friend and I went through the entire donation process when SMSU hosted a blood drive. We got the health exam, had our arms poked, and bled into a bag. It was standard procedure. It wasn’t my first time donating, the bag was almost full, and I was pretty calm through the process.

That is, until I stopped bleeding.

Normally, that’s a good thing, but when you’er donating, you need your blood to flow into the bag.

At first, the volunteer decided to jiggle the needle a bit, as if he thought the tube got clogged. That did nothing other than hurt. The volunteer then called over another, more experienced volunteer.

By this time, I was pale, lighted headed, slightly sweaty, my arm was in pain, and the friend I was donating with had finished and came over to hold my hand. The older volunteer laid my table down and set a cool rag on my head.

Apparently those last few drops of blood are super important. The volunteers had coaxed my blood to fill the bag, but I completely stopped bleeding after that. The volunteers, unwilling to cause me more pain and unable to collect test tubes of blood to analyze my it for abnormalities, told me they would have to throw it all out. I was also informed that it would still count on my donation card as donating, as if that was their way of saying, “you tried.”

My arm, by the way, after the whole ordeal, was badly bruised at the injection site, and I was so tired that I could barely stand on my own. I sat in the quarantine zone for almost a half hour before I was strong enough to leave. I was bitter at what I had gone through, and the blood was just going to be tossed.

However, next semester I was right back there on the donation table. Because no matter how good or bad my experience was, people need blood. If my one bag can save the three people they claim it does, or even one person, than I am sure going to try to fill that one bag.