hesperornis: (hespersurface)
hesperornis ([personal profile] hesperornis) wrote2008-02-17 07:34 pm

This is what I get for forgetting what I learned in Physiology class

I've been spending most of my day lounging on the couch watching Chris's Justice League DVDs because I get a headache and feel woozy when I stand up.  This is due to having given blood for the first time in about a year.  Last time I was woozy a lot afterwards too.  I'm starting to really dread going to give blood.  My roommate seems to think I'm nuts, but I figure I'm doing what I can...  I actually mentioned to the guy interviewing me that I was nervous because of past experience, and would giving something like plasma or platelets be less likely to make me try to pass out after donating?  He said maybe, but with my blood type (O+, not the rarest but very useful) they'd _really_ appreciate it if I gave whole blood.  I figure saving someone's life is worth some wooziness and an afternoon watching cartoons, so what the heck.  I'm losing a bit of weight, so I might not even be eligible soon if that goes well...

Anyway, they gave up on finding a usable vein in my left arm, so they took out of my right, which usually makes me try to black out after--and I warned them, so they got ice packs and juice and stuff all ready for me.  And lo and behold, a minute or two after they finished drawing blood and took the needle out, I started getting ringing in my ears and black around my vision.  I've come to expect this, but it's still freaky.  They told me that my lips looked practically transparent.  Normally, this goes away after a few minutes, so I just wiggle my fingers and toes to keep circulation going and let it run its course.

This time was more than usually freaky, though--my hands were seizing up.  Like, I couldn't open them up all the way.  And then I could feel it in my feet and calves.  And then it started affecting my tongue, so my words were slurring.  Creepy _and_ uncomfortable.  I kept talking to the phlebotomist telling him that this was NOT normal, and then this German lady comes up and hands me an open bag of chex mix and tells me to eat some.  Within minutes of taking this advice, I started to feel fine. 

Turns out my blood sodium was low!  I always forget that sodium, as well as potassium, is necessary for proper muscle function.  You need those electrolytes in order for muscle fibres to _release_ after contracting.  This is why eating a banana can help with muscle cramps.  People don't normally think about sodium because it is so overwhelmingly present in most peoples' diets that overabundance is usually more of a problem than a deficiency.  And I'm not a serious athlete, so I've barely even heard of the salt tablets that they recommended to me afterwards.  As a matter of fact, I'm so paranoid about high blood pressure that I take great care to check my food labels for low sodium content.  I'm not sure, but this may count as bona fide irony!  English majors?

Anyway, I'm feeling mostly fine now.  Enough, at least, to sit up and do a bit of work.  I meant to get more done on my wedding dress today, but that kind of went out the window.  Maybe I should read some for my thesis proposals. 

I'll have to remember to take the elevator tomorrow.  Falling down stairwells is usually considered a Not Good thing.