A word to the wise: maybe don’t drink after donating blood, lest you end up passing out on the floor of a public restroom.
Yes, my friends, it happened to me.
Last night, my co-worker and friend W and I went to the Puget Sound Blood Center and donated a pint of blood each. If you’ve never done this, it’s really a breeze:
1. You give the volunteer at the front desk your name and birthdate.
2. You fill in dozens of bubbles asking questions about your health, sex life, body art and travel.
3. A technician takes you into a little room where she asks for you name and birthdate, pricks your finger, takes your pulse, blood pressure and temperature, and questions you about your mother’s travel to Latin America.
4. Another technician gets you settled comfortably in a lounge-esque chair, asks your name and birthdate, scrubs your arm with alcohol, sticks a needle in your vein and tells you to squeeze a ball every ten seconds.
5. You sit and visit or read for ten-or-so minutes.
6. Another technician takes the needle out of your arm, has you hold it in the air for two minutes, and asks your name and birthdate.
7. Another technician asks your name and birthdate and bandages your arm.
8. You sit in the kitchenette for ten minutes, nibbling on cookies and drinking juice.
See? Easy as pie. That’s been my experience each time I’ve donated, and that was my experience last night. And then…
…W and I went to Smith on Capitol Hill for a drink and some gnosh. W had a butter lettuce, watermelon radish and spring onion salad with sweet potato fries and a nutty beer, and I had a Cuban pork and ham sandwich (I know, I know) with a pint of (aptly named?) Original Sin cider which, by the by, is NOT AT ALL DRY as the waitress purported.
All was fine and dandy – we enjoyed good food and good conversation, and as we were wrapping up, I excused myself to use the restroom. And then the craziness began.
The two-stall bathroom was dimly lit and empty when I walked in, and I chose the stall furthest from the door which, while sizeable, had an inadequate lock that made me a little nervous.
Perched on the toilet, I pulled a few-weeks-old issue of The New Yorker out of my bag (where one is always handy) and began to do my business and read a line or two. Finishing, I put the mag back, thought to myself, “What was that big bang?” and found myself lying facedown on the floor, half out of the stall. Mind you, while I’d finished, my pants had not yet been returned to their original upright and locked position.
The next several minutes are really fuzzy, but I know that I cared a lot more about getting myself back into the stall and the door closed than about assessing any potential injuries or ailments. Once more on the throne, I breathed deep, clutching my head in my hands as the room danced around me and the light faded in and out. Just then, the waitress who doesn’t know sweet from dry pulled open the quasi-locked stall door and slammed it shut again with a quick “I’m so sorry!” I heard myself reply “hell-o” sounding hell-a drunk.
Once the coast was clear, I took a deep breath, zipped quickly, lurched out of the stall toward the sink, and promptly sat on the floor, crossed my legs, and laid my forehead on the cool tiles, uttering silent prayers that no one would answer nature’s call in the next few minutes.
Eventually, I was able to wash my hands (under all circumstances!) and leave the bathroom. W was the epitome of compassion, driving me home and making sure I was all right.
And while it felt like an out of body experience for the rest of the night, I woke up this morning feeling mostly normal, with just a bum pinky finger, a chewed up left eyebrow, and a badly beaten ego. At least I still remember my name and birthdate!