Remember That Time I Gave Blood and Nearly Shit My Pants? I Did it Again.

Thinking of giving blood?  Good for you! The following is a true story about how it went for me.

Jessica and Ashley Simpson.  The Olsen Twins.  The Baldwin brothers. Elsa and Anna.  All siblings who not only get along, but get along famously.  They love and support each other and you hardly ever hear about one of them cackling with laughter while plotting the other’s death.  Hardly. Ever.

So it was with utter confusion I received the news that one of my sisters had done exactly that.  Plotted my death while cackling with laughter I mean.  You may remember that time I gave blood and nearly died. If you haven’t read that story yet I encourage you to do so.  To improve your mental health.

To recap, I had gone to give blood for the very first time with my sister Pink Tool Belt who was also giving blood for the first time.  We, were do-gooders, striding into the church conference room, with the step and swish of live savers.  You might recognize the walk on other life savers like heart surgeons, first responders and the cashier who points out that the bottle of ketchup you have is leaking.

Everything was smooth sailing until I had finished giving blood. The blood sucking woman removed the needle, I said thank yougrhtibmlbleeeeee and then promptly watched the room swirl like soft serve ice cream.  I wanted to call for help, tell the people around me I was going to be sick, thank Bruno Mars for some really great music, but I couldn’t because I had to use every last resource of energy I had, to not shit my pants.

For my sister it went perfectly well. Noooo problems other than a possible broken nail from desperately texting everyone she knew to let them know I was currently passing out while giving blood.  She was fine, waving and smiling like a lunatic at me from the donation bed across from me.

I, on the other hand, knew for a fact I had been possessed by a Poltergeist. One of the mean ones. Not only did I nearly throw up and become sick to my pants in public, I felt ill and tired for days afterwards. My sister?  She gave her blood, ate some cookies and rolled her eyes whenever I said how awful I felt.

So when a couple of weeks ago she told me she had booked us both in to give blood again, I knew this could only mean one thing.  She wanted me dead.

Sister – “Oh, by the way, I signed us up to donate blood again.”

Me – “We? Who?  WHAT?? You what??  Are you kidding me?

Sister – “Well, you said you were going to try it again.

Me – “Yeah. On my terms. When I wanted to. Some time after I died or something. Not NOW. Not YET.

I could have cancelled but she was right. I did say I would give it one more shot and it was probably better to get it over with.  Then at least I could spend the rest of my life happily not giving blood but safe in the knowledge that I’d given it not one but TWO shots.  Basically it meant I was kind of a Saint.  A Saint who was planning to wear multiple pairs of full coverage underwear this time around.  Just in case.

The two days leading up to my blood donation day I did everything possible to prepare myself.  I ate iron filled steak for dinner, dark greens and drank about 6 litres of water each day.  I got a full 8 hours sleep the night before my donation and ate some more steak a couple of hours before my appointment.  Before heading to the clinic/church meeting room I ate some salty crackers and drank yet another litre of water.

I did not swish and swagger into the church this time so much as slosh.

We arrived at the church and showed our donor cards at the reception area. They asked if we’d like to take a moment to book our NEXT appointment.  Um.  We looked at each other and then I looked at my feet. My sister kindly said, “It didn’t go very well for her last time … HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH”.  Ahem.  Yup.  That’s true. I’m going to hold off on booking my next appointment on account of I’m not sure I’m going to live through this one.

My sister and I got our cards stamped and went through the process of showing our arms to prove we weren’t IV drug users, answering the questionnaire and having our blood tested to make sure we had enough iron in our blood.

I was ushered to a chair where a very nice phlebotomist asked how I was.  “I’m good. I’m O.K. I kind of have to pee.  Hey, maybe I should let you know I think I almost died last time.  Well not died, but I went into shock.  Just you know, a little bit. I mean they covered me in ice and I ended up, heh, heh … well I ended up on a stretcher.

She had more of a shocked look on her face than I was hoping for and said maybe she’d tip me back for my donation just in case. That would make things go a little easier. My immediate thought was … why not do this every time someone donates then?

I tried to stay calm even though I was terrified about passing out and barfing everywhere.  The multiple underwear under my jeans eased a bit of the nervousness from that end.

In no time the needle was in and my rare B- blood was pumping out.  My phlebotomist did not leave my side.  Not for a second.  I’d glance at her and she’d glance at me and I’d say “so far so good” and then we’d  give each other the thumbs up and start the routine again. By now the entire place knew about my previous experience and were coming by to ask how I was doing so they could decide how to place their wagers.

At this point my sister was seated across from me and almost done her donation.  She was merrily telling her phlebotomist about my experience last time.  I think I heard the word wussy but I’m not positive.

When the moment of life or death came (when I was done and the needle was removed) I stayed very still and waited for the room to close in on me and my skin to turn both hot and cold at the very same time.  Nothing.  I waited some more thinking it might take a bit longer since I was in the luxurious laying down position.  Nothing.  The staff was so great, they even brought me over some juice before I tried walking. Everyone stared at me waiting to see if they needed to rush to my side.  Nothing. Money passed hands, high fives were given and I breathed a sign of relief.

I did it.  NO problem.  I thought.  Just as I made it to the free cookies and juice table I glanced over to my sister to give her the thumbs up when it happened.

To my sister.

She was staring over at me with unfocused eyes, white as a sheet and a look of “omgi’mgoingtodie” on her face. Not unlike the face that was staring back at her during our previous appointment.  The one she smiled and waved gleefully at.

Down she went.  I tried to get to her, to give her love and comfort and endlessly sarcastic remarks but by now we were kind of infamous in the blood giving department and no one would let me over there because they were afraid if I saw my fading sister up close that I’d go down myself.

Evidently that would cause all kinds of trouble over the bets that had already been placed and collected on.

I suddenly remembered my sister mentioning she’d only had a couple of coffees that day.  Nothing to drink otherwise. She was dehydrated like I was the day I gave blood and ended up under a blanket of ice and cold towels.  Wow. This drinking water thing before donating seemed to be really important. Poor thing.

So I sat and ate cookies and watched my sister’s eyes roll into the back of her head from a distance calling over to her in a reassuring tone … “Hey! I signed us up to donate blood again!


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  1. Alycia says:

    Hahaah so funny to read this! Happened to me as well! And my whole family! My mom and 2 sisters all passed out and the ambulance came! I wasn’t there that time. Hahaha then the first time I gave blood and my mom tried again she was about to pass out so we went in the bathroom together and I passed out! And pissed myself! Hahaah

    • Karen says:

      LOLOL! Ohhhh that made me laugh. Of course as you know, NONE of it is funny when it’s happening but there’s a certain camaraderie between anyone whose gone through it. ~ karen!

  2. Alexis says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your 2 stories. I tried to give blood for the first time yesterday, and it went pretty similar to your first story. I frantically started googling “why did I almost shit myself why donating blood?” and in the absence of any honesty from the medical field, came across your articles. Your stories made me laugh and feel not so alone, so thank you! They really should put a disclaimer on the donation questionnaire: “some people might shart themselves”. I would have worn some extra undies too!

    • Karen says:

      I can’t believe you found my post by Googling “why did i almost shit myself while donating blood”, lololol! Seriously. That’s the best thing I’ve heard in a long time. ~ karen!

  3. joanne says:

    Thank you for trying again (and succeeding) in blood donation! It is so important to those in hospitals and in emergency situations!

    I give as often as I can, and have resorted to chewing on rusty nails (and/or iron pills) to keep my iron levels in the allowable range (with my doctor’s permission). There is nothing more shaming than being told “thank you but no, you can’t donate today”, and doing the walk of shame out of the donation center without the sticker.

  4. Kari says:

    😂😂 this is hilarious. As always!

  5. jaine kunst says:

    LOL I needed a good laugh today, thank you. I just love how that “sister karma” worked out.

  6. Marilyn says:

    I give blood regularly. It’s a family thing. My parents did it and we all did too. I still do. 50 donations so far ! But eating is important and do is drinking lots. Lol a couple of coffees isn’t gonna cut it in the blood donor world.

  7. Fiona says:

    Back in the day I tried to give blood. Three times. Fainted every time. Started fainting other times too. They told me to not come back for at least ten years. My head was calm and rational but my body was not. Apparently in my repeat-offender case it was likely that the nerves in my spine would freak and cause muscles in my back to tense which would choke off that main artery to the brain, depriving my brain of blood and causing me to faint. Its been a while now and I no longer faint at a blood test, so I should probably try again.

  8. Kmarie says:

    My haematologist keeps threatening but I will have to get a blood transfusion if my Iron doesn’t improve. I keep telling him that I’ve managed years without it… But I am at that brink of possibly needing it. I don’t want to do it. But in a way it makes me glad that there are people like you giving blood whom I will trust a little bit more in an odd sense – because it’s scary to have to trust that somebody Is disease free, taking careful of nutrition and body needs before giving blood. Of course I’m not your type ;( but still it makes me feel slightly less scared of my possible futures.. so thanks for risking an unpleasant experience for the sake of others .

    • Karen says:

      Go to a donation place and take a look around. :) All perfectly normal respectable folks. I mean, no one else as great as me but … come on … ;) ~ karen!

  9. Diane Walters says:

    Soooo funny…thanks for the laughs!

  10. Gaeyl says:

    Happy you prepared for the donation . Sweet revenge resigning the two of you up for the next donation. You might want to bring an extra bottle of water to offer pink tool belt before the blood draw just to make sure she doesn’t have another bad experience.

  11. Donna says:

    Don’t feel bad. My, who is in SpecialForces passed out his first time. Went down perfectly stiff like a wooden plank. I laugh every time I think of it. Other than that I’m sure I was a good mom.

  12. Jeanne says:

    I am giving blood in about 45 minutes and had not eaten today.
    Need food, now!

  13. Mary W says:

    Money started changing hands – a laugh burst out for me. From nowhere – kind of like the sick to my pants feeling. You are such a good writer and I enjoy you so much. I’m also so thankful for people that donate blood like you did. Actually more thankful for those people just like you with rare blood and horrible reactions – you are doing so much good even when it is horrible for you to do it. Bless you Karen!

  14. Art Vernon says:

    Congratulations on your service….It gets better…..the fluids are
    a big help…. you ROCK GIRL!

  15. Wendy says:

    Good for you! I have a tendency to pass out,happened last year in class,so friggin’
    embarrassing,so I really admire your trying again.Also,really glad you didn’t shit
    yourself….that’s such a pain!

  16. Donna says:

    OMG – I’m laughing so hard that I’m crying. Thank you, thank you for sharing.

  17. Jo says:

    I gave several times with no problems (despite my lifelong horror of needles) – until the day *after* my last donation, when I very nearly passed out at work. I went along next time anyway, but when I told them what had happened they said perhaps I should give it a miss. At no point did anyone tell me about drinking extra water!

    I’m about 3 stone heavier (sob!) then I was back then, so I guess I should give it another go really.

  18. Niki G says:

    oMG. I have a new phrase, sick to my pants. I’m dying here. I laughed out loud at the office. Thank you for that ;-)

    Love your writing – all the way from Texas

  19. Jenny says:

    I’ve a terrible track record at giving blood. I tried several times and never managed to give the full amount. The last time, the phlebotomist accidentally ripped the needle/tube out of my arm when she was turning away. Blood. Everywhere. That was kinda the last straw for me for awhile. However, my blood type is A- so I need to try again.

  20. Heather says:

    You’re the sassiest writer I read but you’re also the sweetest. A rare and loveable character. You’ve earned your place in Heaven.

  21. Cindy says:

    I am one of those blood sucking women, lol. Water is extremely important–it’s to plump up the veins and make the blood flow well. You also need to have eaten a very good meal that day. It’s the people that don’t eat that are sick the majority of the time! I just love when someone tells me they ate a good meal, and after passing out, getting sick, feeling dizzy, etc., they admit they only had an orange or a bowl of cereal for breakfast! It only hurts YOU when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do before a donation. Start a couple days before donating by drinking at least a half gallon of water each day, eating good, hearty meals, and if you don’t feel 100% healthy, don’t do it! We want your blood (you save up to 3 lives every time you donate), but we also want to keep you safe as well, so please don’t lie about how you much you ate or how you feel–you can always do it another day when you do meet the requirements! Thank you to everyone who donates!!

  22. Mar wolters says:

    Lolololol sister are such shits!!!!! Lolololol

  23. Julie says:

    I’m not going to lie….based on the title I read this to see if you either donated blood or sh#t your pants :)

    I am glad it was just the former.

  24. Ev Wilcox says:

    Well done you! I always wanted to donate, but was told I couldn’t because of the meds I take. So I’ll never know if I would have the “pants” reaction! But, for you, what an opportunity to tease your sister-repeatedly. Enjoy! And thanks for being a good person.

  25. Eileen says:

    The same thing happened to me. My blood pressure was too low, as usual and I shouldn’t have even given blood. I was told not to come back and the doctor got yelled at.

  26. Sabina says:

    Good job!

  27. Kathryn says:

    The first time I gave blood (just a couple of years ago) I felt so good afterwards that I thought I could just swing by Ikea on my way home.

    I passed out in the checkout line. A couple of lovely Ikea people gave me juice and water while I waited for my daughter to come and drive me home. Since then I’ve taken the hydration and rest more seriously.

  28. Debbie says:

    Thanks for donating. Unfortunately, I can’t but my family used to on a regular basis. My Dad set up blood drives at his local church. I was on the list for blood marrow donations (I highly recommend that everyone does this–no blood involved, just a cheek swab), but unfortunately, I can’t anymore due to my advancing age. I was so hoping I would be called, but, sigh, never was. I would so do that in a heart beat to help save someone’s life.

  29. Kitten Caboodle says:

    Tee tee hee. Irony, karma and a little schadenfreude – all in one story. A cynic’s fairytale!

  30. Jack Barr says:

    Congrats, Karen. Thanks for donating: it does save lives. Some folks just can’t donate their blood, but a great many that could, don’t. It baffles me. In Canada and likely elsewhere, the rate of donors is between 3-4% of the population (where are all those healthy, young bodies?), which often results in a scramble during emergencies. I quit giving blood for some years during the blood scandal, angry at the Red Cross’s “holier-than-thou attitude. I resumed donating after the dust settled, but had to quit when I reached 70, due to chronically low RBC iron….. B12…… in spite of the occasional steak, lots of greens and regular use of my treasured, old cast iron frying pans. Perhaps I should also have been eating rusty nails. Keep up the donating and your great blog. Both are appreciated. Looking impatiently at your community garden, yet?

    • Karen says:

      Yep. I went up there the other day to try to pull some leeks. The tops were chewed off and the bottoms were still frozen in the ground. :) ~ karen!

      • Jack Barr says:

        It’s still February, after all; in spite of this rollercoaster weather. However, the daylight is getting longer, the frost will depart. Enjoy your overwintered leeks…….. then go pick some wild ones- even better.

  31. Myra says:

    This happened to me too – the one and only time I’ve ever donated blood. It was a few years ago, I followed every recommendation to the letter ahead of time (I was nervous – having passed out once during BLOODWORK), and it went fine until the very end when I threw up repeatedly and more or less passed out (I could hear the nurses but not see anything). Not ideal. They recommended that I hold off for a while before trying again, but I’ve pretty much been either pregnant or breastfeeding ever since so I put it off (and scared… damn I’ve been scared). I’m so glad to know that it went much better for you next time around. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try again soon!

  32. Constanze says:

    In Germany, the staff will only let you donate blood if you drank at least 1,5 liters of water that day. If you haven’t you get sent over to the complementary drinks section and have to drink until you have that amount XD
    My first blood donation, my best friend took me with her so I could overcome my fear of needles… since then I have donated blood several times, and plasma a lot more, and I only was a bit woozy once or twice, when my blood left my body wayy too fast because it appears I have thick veins …. (my friend has thin ones and it takes her a lot longer, and sometimes they don’t quit hit the spot with the needle, she even gets a smaller one than the standard, and then her arm gets a really big bruise….)
    Also, the staff is always quick to make jokes and it’s always a fun experience (at least the places where I donated up until now)

    Hope your sister feels better soon =)

  33. TucsonPatty says:

    Way to go, Karen! I’m seriously proud of you. And your scheming sister! Yes, hydration is key. I’ve not been good a couple of times over the years, and lived to regret it. But, I did live! I just hit 21 gallons a couple of months ago. I donate platelets, and they count differently than blood (one unit of platelets is equal to one unit [pint] of blood). I have lately been able to donate a “triple” (that would be three units/pints of blood), so it adds up faster. The end of last year, they defered me because I had reached the cap on plasma loss in one year. I’m back at it and love all my peeps at the Red Cross. I’m glad you didn’t get sick to your pants this time, but you didn’t finish telling us about your sister – were her pants clean later? They really like those ice packs and cold wet paper towels at my place! Cheers. Hope your sister feels better soon, too.

  34. Wendi says:

    I’ve tried twice and blacked out both times. After the first time, I was told that I was dehydrated. So the second time I drank so much water beforehand that my eyes were practically floating. I still got sick. Phooey :(

  35. Maria says:

    LOL! Love your story :). I’ve been a blood donor since I was in college. Just gave last month. I’ve given about 14 gallons. Nope, not a typo. A few times I’ve been bruised pretty badly. Two times ago I had a bruise for nearly 30 days. One time the blood would not flow, didn’t get past the tube into the bag so they asked me if they could go to the other arm. I said “um…no.” And don’t let this scare you Karen, but one time, the point of needle insertion ballooned to the size of half a grapefruit! I don’t recall what they did perhaps because I just don’t want to remember!?

  36. Willow says:

    Karen, Thanks for the fun story, you are always fun you know. I have to thank you so much for donating you precious B- blood. I needed blood, a lot of blood and platelets 14 years ago. The person who donated B+ for me and those type Os saved my life. So thanks to all the donors out there. For saving me.
    I am happy to be saved so I can, continue my laughing and joking, as well as reading this wonderful stuff!

  37. judy says:

    Am I the first? If I weren’t so tired and unable to sleep I’d shout Hooray! My experience was 59 years ago when my now Husband and I went for our blood tests and the 6 ft 2 guy melted into the floor,gave me second thoughts about levels of wussy-ness but everybody deserves something that makes um fudyaint-mine is flying.

  38. Muff Hackett says:

    Yup, pretty much the big secret to successful blood donation is hydration beforehand.

  39. Lynn says:

    First off I wish to say Thank you for donating blood . I unfortunately have never been able to do so due to medical reasons. Not everyone can for one reason or another. Even when I have had to go in for operation they refused to draw my blood to have on hand in case they needed it. (They never have said why , just looked at medical records an said no).
    So I am one of those people that you donors help to save with your donations of blood.
    No fancy blood type here just reg type O
    So thank you

  40. Meredith says:

    More water! Is that the key!? I was woozy for days after the last time I gave blood! I’ve been too scared to go back! Thanks for the laugh!😂

  41. virginia says:

    Now they will have you do a public service announcement for how to prepare yourself for a blood donation!

  42. Brenda says:

    Back in the day when I could give blood, I almost always had the” lose my s##t” moments. Yep, being well hydrated and a little overheated seemed to be the answer to a successful draw for me. Since I have all sorts of critters swimming in my blood from too many visits to exotic lands in the service of my country, my blood is no longer welcome. Good thing I have the most common blood-type, and not a rare one as you do.

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