Need to feel better after whole blood donation.
May 8, 2010 5:02 PM   Subscribe

I donated blood almost a week ago and still feel weak. Has this happened to anyone else? When will I start feeling better?

It was my first time donating whole blood last Sunday. I ate a large meal beforehand and made sure to drink plenty of liquids. The donation process was fine. I'm not afraid of needles or anything and it didn't hurt.

Afterward I felt a little lightheaded but nothing bad until about seven hours after the donation process when I threw up and passed out. All color drained from my face, my hands started to tingle, and it felt like there was cotton in my head right before passing out. My heart also was pounding like crazy. I drank and ate and laid down and seemed okay the rest of the night, but pretty week.

The next day while at my clinical rotation site, I got really pale and almost passed out again. I kept drinking water. My heart continued to pound just from simple things like walking.

On Thursday I woke up incredibly dizzy, sick, and weak and had to call in sick. I literally couldn't get out of bed until 2:00PM when my husband came home with a bunch of fluids. I drank 2 liters of pedialyte, gatorade, and had soup that night and felt better. I went in on Friday but still felt weak. I feel like I can't drink enough to keep up with whatever is going on with my body.

Today I tried to do some very minimal cleaning of my apartment which resulted in me laid out on the couch with a pulse over 100bpm as my husband forced liquids down me. I feel out of it and my pulse just goes crazy. I feel really weak and unable to think properly.

When will I start to feel better? I've been having chest pains as well since this happened and my pulse is higher than normal and it feels more intense. I'm a small person, only 5'2 and thin but I met the requirement to donate. I'm just really scared by how I've been feeling lately. Sometimes just getting dressed has me feeling winded, dizzy, and sends my pulse soaring.

Any suggestions? Is this something I should see a doctor about? I feel ridiculous going in complaining about this. What can they even do to treat something like this?
posted by rainygrl716 to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is this something I should see a doctor about?

Uh, yes, definitely. You don't know that this has anything to do with giving blood. I doubt that it does.
posted by amro at 5:04 PM on May 8, 2010

I'm going to agree that it sounds like you're quite sick, but that it is probably unrelated to giving blood.
posted by brainmouse at 5:08 PM on May 8, 2010

Yes, please see your doctor. It's fairly common to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and altogether out of it for up to 48 hours after donating. A week is pretty excessive. Seconding amro - it might be unrelated to the blood donation, but it's hard to tell at this point. Get in touch with your doc.
posted by raztaj at 5:09 PM on May 8, 2010

Nthing seeing a doctor. Is there any chance you have a history of anxiety or anything? I know that when I feel sick, especially dizzy or lightheaded or have a racing heartbeat, I end up getting more worried and literally worry myself sicker. Perhaps you've been really worried about complications of the blood donation and that's compounded things. That's what would probably happen to me, anyway.

Get thee to a doctor and find out what's up!
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:19 PM on May 8, 2010

Go see your doctor. If it does turn out to be related to your blood donation, the organization that you donated to may pick up the costs of your visit / treatment. Something similar happened to me a few years ago, and when I called the Red Cross hotline number to ask for guidance, they directed me to the ER and said they would be picking up the tab.

Anecdotal: after IV fluids and enforced rest, I was just dandy. Apparently my normal-state blood pressure was just too low to catch up through oral rehydration.

I've since given blood with no problems, but I always make sure to load up on fluids before and after.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:22 PM on May 8, 2010

Definitely see a Doctor. That many days of dizziness, chest pains, increased heart rate, would all indicate a doctors visist even if you didn't give blood beforehand. And if it turns out you have something infectious, like the flu or something, the blood donation peple will probably want to know too.
posted by shelleycat at 5:27 PM on May 8, 2010

Honestly, most of that sounds like pregnancy with some anxiety mixed in for extra special fun. It sounds nothing like side effects of a blood donation that was made a week ago.

posted by 26.2 at 6:55 PM on May 8, 2010

Any light-headedness or low blood pressure issues from giving blood should be long gone. If it were me, I'd suspect either anxiety feedback or something unrelated (both of which have happened to me).
posted by Lady Li at 7:16 PM on May 8, 2010

Have you considered the possibility you could be drinking too much water?
posted by jamjam at 10:03 PM on May 8, 2010

I went to the doctor and she sent me to the ER. They couldn't figure out why my pulse was 120bpm, even after giving me anxiety medicine, but they did rule out MI and clots. They want me to see a cardiologist Monday but I honestly cannot miss anymore school or I'll delay my graduation so I don't know what to do at this point.

I don't know. I left the ER more confused than I was before without any real answers as to why I feel like this. They basically were shipping me off to the cardiologist to see if he can find anything, but the ER doc did say I had a very apparent heart murmur. I don't think those cause issues though.

So confused. I just want to feel better.
posted by rainygrl716 at 10:11 PM on May 8, 2010

A heart murmur can be a symptom of other problems. You should probably really, really see a cardiologist about this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:24 PM on May 8, 2010

Look. Talk to your professors. Tell them what's going on. This is the situation incompletes are designed for. What you are describing sounds pretty scary and not something you want to delay treatment for, even if it is creeping up on finals. (I am a professor. )
posted by leahwrenn at 10:57 PM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]

Dying would delay your graduation. So would an extended hospital stay. I agree with leahwrenn, talk to your school because there will be procedures for this (a department secretary, the University medical clinic, the general enrolment/administration department, any of those will all be able to point you in the right direction). You may be able to get an aegrotat or some other mechanism for not failing at this point and even if your graduation gets delayed that beats continuing to be as sick as you currently are. You need to put your health first at this point because school will give you a second chance, something seriously wrong with your heart might not.
posted by shelleycat at 11:49 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

They want me to see a cardiologist Monday but I honestly cannot miss anymore school or I'll delay my graduation.

I'm really sorry, because I know that this is incredibly inconvenient, but if there's potentially something wrong with your heart then you need to get it checked out right away. Listen to shelleycat. You need your heart in order to be able to keep on living. Hopefully all this will turn out to be no big deal, but on the off chance that there's something serious going on, the cardiologist appointment is where you need to be on Monday. This is no joke. People can survive for years and years and years with problems in other parts of their bodies, but if your heart gives up, it's all over. Your health HAS to come first, before everything else in your life.
posted by different at 1:44 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

The ER doc didn't seem too worried. I will see the cardiologist this week but I am not going to miss my clinicals. It is not as simple as just delaying my graduation. I have accepted an amazing job starting ten days after I graduate, contingent on me graduating. It is an opportunity that is quite amazing so I am going to do all I can to not delay my graduation and take careof my health at the same time. I'm just scared and a little frustrated but thank you all for telling me to go to the doctors! I would have been under the false assumption my blood donation was the cause of this.
posted by rainygrl716 at 11:58 AM on May 9, 2010

There must be an hour that you can fit in next week for a doctor's appointment that will not result in a complete derail of your college career. If you can't do it Monday, do it Tuesday or Wednesday.
posted by amro at 12:42 PM on May 9, 2010

Note: ER doctors never seem too worried, unless your head's half off.
posted by sunnichka at 8:47 PM on May 10, 2010

Well it is a great mystery I guess because my echo was fine. Still feeling bad though which is very odd. I almost passed out just walking from my bus stop to my clinical site and my left arm feels weird like a pinched nerve. I'm gonna see me regular doc and see what she has to say but anytime I've ever complained of symptoms and my lab work comes back normal she just tries to stick me on antidepressants. I'm already on one so she'll probably just increase my dose or something equally as useless.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I am mildly anemic from donating the blood so I'm hoping maybe my body just doesn't like it at all and that is why I'm feeling so bad. I do feel better today than I have all week.
posted by rainygrl716 at 7:37 PM on May 12, 2010

I guess this is resolved now, but I never did discover what made me feel so sick. I'm too afraid to donate blood again though, which is sad. It may have been unrelated, but I just can't risk feeling like that again. I certainly in the very least did pass out from donating blood the seven hours after donation, which was a very scary thing to happen in a public restroom. Now my husband is forced to donate for the both of us :-)
posted by rainygrl716 at 6:53 PM on February 5, 2011

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