Passing out at the blood drive

Shannon Cunnien

Everything went black. Suddenly bright, bold colors of images I hardly recall flashed before my eyes just as I awoke in a blurry haze. The only facial expression I could concoct was a blank stare. “Do you know where you are?”

I have no issue with blood or needles. The sight of pain or pain itself does not generally make me queasy or light-headed. My blood has been drawn a total of 14 times. The difference? I had never given blood before, and it ended a bit different from my prior experiences.

With little hesitation I signed myself up to give blood. Conveniently choosing a time to do it, we planned on giving blood when a break in our days would be needed, hanging out eating cookies and drinking soda, and returning to classes just in time for seventh hour — the day would go perfectly smoothly.

The day started out normal enough. Mr. Wander amazed me with his expansive knowledge of everything in first hour. AP Calculus endlessly confused me (yet still made sense) in second hour. Third hour was lonely but free. Fourth hour I quietly went about my business in the dark room. Lunch came and I was ready for what was next — or so I thought.

My iron levels were high enough. I weighed at least 10 pounds above the minimum. I hadn’t been to any hazardous countries within my recent history. I’ve never sold my body for money. I didn’t have mad cow disease. There was blood inside of me. I was 100 percent ready. Or so I thought.

Sitting in the tall lawn chairs I calmly looked away as the nurse slid the needle into the large juicy vein running down the center of my arm. Once she stopped pushing I looked and was only slightly disturbed by the sight of the larger than normal needle sticking out of my arm. The nurse taped the needle down and all I had to concentrate on was squeezing the tube they placed in my hand.

Squeeze. Release. Squeeze. Release. “How are you doing?” asked one of the nurses. I simply responded that I was okay. “Are you sure? Don’t lie to me,” the nurse continued. A few seconds later I was less confident about my initial response of “okay.”

The next thing I knew I was staring at the ceiling extremely confused. “Do you know where you are? You’re giving blood,” said the image hovering above me. I couldn’t find words to respond. “What’s your name,” the voice said. “…Shannon,” I meekly responded.

Soon realizing where I was and what I was doing, I began to squeeze and release, squeeze and release.

I hoped to receive at least a few scars from the rough battle but I woke up the next day to find little more then a red dot on my inner arm and another, more purple, oval where the needle poked me internally when I passed out. It was days before a bruise showed up and I actually had proof of my horrifically hilarious incident.