Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vampire Heaven

I gave blood today for the first time since my senior year of high school. This time was different, in that I wasn't trying to get out of a French quiz.

Anyway, my health questionnaire was just as hilariously vanilla as it was in 1993.  Have you lived in Europe for 5 years?  Nope.  Have you visited any of these [mostly developing] countries?  Nyet.  Have you shared needles?  Knitting needles?  Oh, those needles.  Again, no.

The only question that gave me pause was, "Have you been around people who have received a smallpox vaccine?"  No. Wait. Did my kids get the smallpox vaccine?  If they did, the last batch of vaccinations would've been Little Guy's in January... But if they got it, wouldn't we all have been vaccinated?  And they wouldn't ask me this if it's a vaccine that everyone gets. So... No. 

Behold the power of my deductive reasoning!

Upon concluding my questionnaire, determining that my iron count is good (13.5, yo!), and that my vitals were fine, they took me over to a gurney.  After I laid down, they poked around for a good vein (apparently I have a Y-shaped vein on my left inner elbow), and jabbed me.  Not to brag, but they told me I had good flow.  So, I've got that going for me.

It took all of eight minutes for me to fire hose the pint bag.  'Cause I'm awesome. It was at minute seven, though, that I started feeling faint.  I didn't actually faint.  That'd be weak sauce, and I am made of sterner stuff.  Stuff like Jell-O.

Instead, as everything faded to black, I announced calmly, "I'm starting to feel a little faint."  The attendants very helpfully plastered cold, sopping paper towels on my forehead and neck, handed me the most delicious five ounces of cranberry juice that I've ever drunk, and told me to tent my knees.  The fadeout reversed itself, and I thought, "Ooh, so that must have been what a vampire's victim feels. Huh."


I felt better after a minute or so, which, I am guessing, is largely due to the fact that they stopped taking my blood.  I moved over to the 'canteen,' a.k.a a table laden with snacky-type foods.  After I munched some pretzels, I felt far from woozy, an wobbled back to my office for a staff meeting.

We don't have blood drives at work every day. This one was put together in the name of the wife of one of my co-workers; she was recently diagnosed with a particularly vicious kind of cancer.  Much as I empathize with their situation, my contribution was in honor of my mother. While she was undergoing chemo, she had to have a few transfusions. Her body wasn't oxygenating blood properly, which made breathing a problem. The transfusions didn't save her or anything, but they made her more comfortable. How can I not offer that, or other lifesaving juice, to other people? 

It's something I'd been thinking about doing for awhile, and when the opportunity to do so opened up twenty feet away from my desk, well, it was time.

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