Tag Archives: hypotension

27 Before 27: Donate Blood

2 Oct

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

This was a fail. But I’m still crossing it off.

I was excited to do this one, because it’s rewarding to give back. It wasn’t going to cost me money, like other things on my list, and I was going to get free juice and cookies out of it. I’ll do just about anything for free cookies.

It was simple to just google “Donate Blood NYC” to find a blood bank conveniently near me to donate through. I showed up rather early on a Monday morning (early for me since it was my day off), hydrated, full of a healthy breakfast, and ready to give a pint.

Blood banks make you fill out a rather lengthy form about your health history. But I honestly didn’t think there would be any problem. I’m a healthy, young lady. Used intravenous drugs? Nope. Slept with a prostitute? Nope.

So the nurse calls me into the room. She starts by pricking my finger and putting some droplets of my blood into a neat, little machine. She then took my temperature. Finally, she pulled out a blood pressure reader. I gulped.

I knew how this was going to go down. It happens to me every time I visit any sort of doctor. She took my blood pressure, then got a screwed up look on her face of pure disbelief. She took it again. She took it again. I sighed. I knew what was coming.

“Your blood pressure is very low.”
“I know.”
“It’s normally like this?”
“Are you sure?”
“You don’t feel like passing out right now?”

My blood pressure is 80/50. This isn’t normal. But it’s also not bad. There’s nothing really to be done about it, except to wait for time to raise my blood pressure as it does with people. Technically, a blood pressure like mine should mean I’m passing out all the time or at least feeling rather dizzy. But I’m not. I’m a medical miracle. But this medical miracle cannot donate blood. Apparently, losing a pint of blood could possibly throw my body into shock and make me very ill.

I’m sad that I’m ineligible, but maybe in a couple of years. Alas, I need all my blood right where it is.