Thursday, August 28, 2008

How To Scare The C#@p Out Of Yourself

Step A: Donate blood.

Now, I don't mean that donating blood is scary or that it's bad. I do it on a regular basis, and I encourage all of you to do the same. In fact, when I donated on Tuesday, I got a gift card for a free quart of Oberweis ice cream and a really nice barbeque set that included an apron, salt and pepper shakers, an oven mitt, tongs, and a grill cleaner because I'm a member of the four seasons club (donate once each season at least).

Step B:

Do a spin class the next day.

I joined a gym back at the end of May so that I would have somewhere to run as it got beastly hot in Chicago (those of us who don't really sweat can't run outside in summer). As an added bonus, my gym has some neat features including super cheap swim lessons for the wee ones, as well as the pool, and some totally cool classes.

In fact, I no longer do yoga elsewhere because I can do my yoga for "free" at the gym. And I can also do my belly dancing classes there.

Last night when I went to the gym, I forgot my iPod because it was still in my backpack that I'd taken to Vegas. Except I just remembered that I'd moved it into the console of my car in case I wanted to listen to any music on the way to or from Minnesota. If only I'd known that then....

I can't run without my iPod. I hate running enough as it is (and since it's been awhile since I've run due to other commitments, I figured I'd really need it), and without my iPod it's just not happening. Lucky for me, there was a spin class starting at 6pm, and it just so happened to be 5:43.

I've been talking about trying out spinning for awhile now (and Melisa will be proud of me, I think, that I went). However, I don't know if I can ever go back. Not because I don't want to try it again, but because I'm not sure I can face the people in the class.

I got there a bit early so that the teacher could show me how to set up my bike (as instructed by Melisa). No teacher. One person was pedaling slowly on a bike, so I confirmed that yes, there was a class there at 6. A second person walked in and volunteered to get me set up. Yay!

The instructor walked in and we got going. Well started the class anyway, as everyone else had been pedaling slowly waiting for it to begin.

It was actually not so bad. It's been awhile since I rode my bike, but I could do this. Then we stood up to pedal, which wasn't so fun but I did it. We sat down and sprinted, and I did it. I surreptitiously reduced my tension when we were supposed to increase it the next time, and we did two more rounds of standing and sitting.

We stood the next time, and I decided to sit. Then the room, which was already in very low light, started to go dark. Uh-oh. My ears started ringing. Big uh-oh. I slowed wayyyyy down. The room went totally dark, and I prayed that I wouldn't pass out.

I continued pedaling as slowly as I could, hoping that this would pass. I realized that this was not passing quickly and quickly (by my standards at the time) deduced that this was because I was not getting oxygen for some reason. Which would explain why I had started yawning repeatedly a few minutes before even though I wasn't tired.

I decided that I needed to take a break, and I was paranoid that I was going to pass out on the bike and fall over and hurt and/or embarrass myself. I took a few deep breaths and the room came into enough focus that it looked like the Charles Schwab commercials where people are cartoons but not really (I now know where the ad exec got the idea for the concept). I slowly eased my feet out of the pedals and stood next to the bike, grasping it for dear life.

Standing actually made things worse, but there was no way that I could either climb back on the bike or walk out of the room, so I just held on. The room went black again. And my ears started to hurt. You've seen the commercials where cartoon animals have steam coming out of their ears, right? I totally get that now. I thought my head was going to explode out my ears from all the pressure.

Eventually, the instructor walked around to each of us -- fortunately only six of us in the class tonight -- to see how we're doing. I didn't know he was there until he touched my arm. I think I told him that I would be ok, but I'm not really sure what I said or what he asked.

It took almost ten minutes before the room was not fully black and was at least back to the funky cartoon people. I bent over to pick up my towel that had fallen and felt slightly better. That's when I realized that sitting on the couch in the locker room with my head between my knees would probably be a good idea.

I did manage to get to the locker room and put my head down. Fortunately the couches are tucked into a corner. My vision and hearing cleared eventually, but the pressure in my ears and headache did not. And I just felt off after twenty-five minutes.

I realized that I eventually needed to get home and moved over to the bench by my locker. That's about when I got the flop sweat and goosebumps on my arms. Yeah, I was really starting to freak myself out right about then, but at least I wasn't dizzy anymore.

When I got to my car (literally fifty minutes after I had left the class), I called my husband and had him talk to me the whole way home to ensure my brain stayed active and if I crashed someone would know immediately. Looking back, it would have been smarter to have someone pick me up and take me home, but apparently when your brain is deprived of oxygen, thinking isn't its strong suit.

The good news is...

before I went to the spin class, I found Little Miss's missing swimsuit bottom that I had left in the swimsuit dryer spinner thing Tuesday after swim lessons AND

I learned that you're not supposed to exercise after donating blood because the nice blood cells that carry oxygen to your body -- brain included -- haven't fully regenerated and can't supply your heart and muscles and brain if you do it too soon. I wasn't actually having a stroke, and yes, I was paranoid enough to think that for a short while.

After my inelegant exit from class after participating for twenty minutes and standing by my bike like a moron for ten minutes and then weaving my way out of the room, I don't think I can ever go back there and do a spinning class again.

So hey -- go donate blood. It's yet another great excuse to avoid exercise!


Jeff August 28, 2008 at 2:56 PM  

Hey, my local blood bank doesn't give prizes! If I got ice cream and BBQ tools I'd be there every 6 weeks!

Angela August 28, 2008 at 6:32 PM  

Man alive! I was going to try spin classes, but now? Uh, no thanks!

Glad you lived to blog about it! :)

Angela August 28, 2008 at 8:32 PM  

Oh my goodness! I'm so glad you're okay. That's very scary! I would have thought 1 day would be enough to recoup, but hey, shows how much I know. So glad everything turned out okay.

While you're waiting for your blood levels to recover, check this out. It's SO addictive you may not want to go back to spin class. The only hard part is putting your own recipes in; not even hard, just time consuming. But ultimately I think it will be worth it!

Melisa August 28, 2008 at 10:14 PM  

Wait a second, wait a second.

First of all, I am VERY VERY proud of you for spinning: that's awesome!

Second, I'm not convinced that your near-blackout was from donating blood the day before. (Read that in a warm, caring tone: NOT a mean tone!) I mean, yeah, possibly, but would you say that you were A)eating right for the two days, B)properly hydrated and C)Not just dead tired?

I think you're going to need to go back and try it again when it's not the day after you've given blood. Don't worry about the instructor (who will be OVERJOYED--seriously--that you came back) or the other five people (who may not even remember you anyway because they were hopefully mostly focused on their own workout); go back and try again. Not only to just try again, but also to make sure this near-blackout thing doesn't happen again. If it does, I would be calling for a physical, probably.

But back to the Proudness: YOU GO GIRL!!! :)

Angie's Spot August 28, 2008 at 10:43 PM  

Wow, I give you HUGE accolades for giving blood in the first place (I'm a total chicken with a needle phobia) and for going to a spinning class. My SIL is an instructor and even SHE can't convince me. Glad you're feeling better!

Karen August 29, 2008 at 7:46 AM  

Good grief, woman! You're never supposed to do anything strenuous when you give blood. And spinning?! That's as bad as it gets.

Sydney August 29, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

Oh my goodness that must have been scary! I got dehydrated after my
5K last weekend and it scared me. I didn't start feeling it until about an hour after the race. I was thirsty, but didn't think much of it. I started getting a headache on the way home, thought it was just adrenaline. Hopped in the shower, still didn't feel better. Ended up in bed for 4 hours with a migraine! BLECH! (And I hate running, too, BTW)

Good effort for trying to work out so quickly, but wait a day or two next time after giving blood!

Mabunny August 29, 2008 at 10:56 AM  

Never been able to do a spin class,so congrats to you for even doing it for 20 mins!
Sorry you felt so bad during the class though, I know I would have been frightened for sure.
Have a great holiday weekend:))

morninglight mama August 29, 2008 at 1:08 PM  

Man, oh man. That sounds horrible!

morninglight mama August 29, 2008 at 1:08 PM  

Man, oh man. That sounds horrible!

Michelle August 29, 2008 at 10:52 PM  

Jeff - Really? Maybe they only have to do this in large cities where you have really rude and selfish people who also tend to get injured a lot. But I almost always get an Oberweis coupon for donating, and each quarter I get a different gift for being a four seasons member.

Angela - I don't mean to frighten you off spin classes. I'm just suggesting that you don't try it 25 hours after donating blood.

Angela - I obviously thought a day was enough, too. Look what I know! And you realize that within two minutes of you posting this (one direction or the other), I had commented to you that I needed to know more aobut this Taste Book thing. Great minds....

Melisa - Thanks. Aren't you proud of me for finally following through? I was definitely properly hydrated (I carry around a 22 ounce water bottle everywhere I go and fill it up 4-5 times a day). And I'm always dead tired. I can run for 28 minutes without an issue like this. I wasn't doing the spin class nearly as hard as I would run. Maybe it's just the different type of exercise? Still the closest I've come to passing out in the last 6 years. And I still have the scar from that incident! And the instructor was a sub, so he won't be there again probably. Maybe I'll have to try a different day :) Because what better way to know that I need to see a doctor than to force passing out?!

Angie - Donating blood is easy. It's quiet and they give me food and drink and coddle me. I don't get that anywhere else! Plus, I'm a neonatal donor, so my blood goes to the little little babies -- how can I not do what I can for them?

Karen - They said "Don't do anything strenuous for the next day" but it had been 25 hours. I figured I was ok. Apparently they really meant 26 hours....

Sydney - Yep, definitely scary. Bummer on the migraine, but still great job on beating your new time in the 5K. I still have to go out and do my first one. Sometime.

Mabunny - Thanks! It was my first try. And I'm still trying to decide if it was my last try, too!

Morninglight Mama - Yeah, it was pretty rotten. I actually called a friend of mine who belongs to the gym who I knew was planning to go that night to see if she was there yet and could drive me home (her husband was going with her so her car wouldn't be stuck there), but no such luck. Fortunately, I'm fully recovered now, and my "fitness yoga" class tonight was totally fine.

anymommy August 30, 2008 at 4:51 PM  

Yikes! Don't you know that after giving blood you are entitled to a big cookie and a nap? Glad that you are all right!

Michelle September 4, 2008 at 7:08 PM  

Anymommy - I did get a cookie (Famous Amos little bag actually), but ummmm nap? I didn't get that message. I'll have to try it next time!

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