I like to donate blood. “Like” is probably a strong word. I actually don’t like it. I think it’s the right thing to do. People benefit from a tiny sacrifice. Maybe they benefit to the point of having their life saved. Maybe not my blood. But somebody’s blood. So I feel the need to take advantage of the opportunity.
I’ve had good donations and bad ones. With some time behind me, the good exceeds the bad but the bad ones, the experiences at least, still linger. Occasionally, even as recently as late last year, the weirdness and light-headedness can spring up. Room fills with diffused light. Dry mouth. Ceiling gently spins. Sounds fade into the background. “Sir?” “Are you ok?” “Sir?” Maybe a chill…cold fingers. Doesn’t feel good…not being in control, wondering:
Who’s gonna wear my breakfast?
Who’s going to be strapping me in, tipping me upside down and trying to revive me?
Is this the time I wake up in the back of an ambulance?
It’s embarrassing but, what are you going to do? The benefits outweigh the risks as they say. The good news is that of the possible outcomes, I’ve only ever experienced the Strap, Tilt and Slap. I’ll take your Bend and Snap and raise you… Even with that, there have been times where avoiding the barfarama was not a given. If you’re wondering, I avoided it today!
But I digress….
Even though I feel this personal responsibility to participate, I’m still reluctant. Every time. I try to be aware of how I’m feeling. Try to remain calm. I try to ignore the poking and massaging. Will they hit the vein the first time? Will it be a two arm day? Will she twist it in my arm, drilling for oil until there’s a flow? Deepwater Horizon, anyone? Ugh. The blood. It’s usually the nail in the coffin amid all the other discomfort.
I tell myself every time.
You know what happens when you look.
Anxiety is powerful. All the things you might do to manage it for yourself are influenced by things that are out of your control. Like today. Today was a good example of an unmanageable input.
The Nurse is massaging my arm. She’s asking for a “second opinion”.
Really? A second opinion? How many times have you done this?, I want to ask. Are you a hack? Because if you’re a hack, Barfarama avoidance may be over and we may be faced with Barfageddon.
The “Second Opinion” tells her, “There’s a vein. It’s small…but it’s there and then it kind of goes to the left…don’t second guess yourself.”
I stop listening.
Did she really just say that? It goes to the left? Is that a breach of privacy? A breach of my Private Health Information? (Mental note to ask Jacinda about that…maybe I have a case and can quit my job.)
I digress again.
Who says that? In front of Captain Queasy? While he squeezes the stuffing, it’s really foam I guess, out of the stress ball. Are you nuts lady? Can I see some ID? Are you authorized to do this sort of procedure?
She seems oddly relaxed, notes out loud that she always doubts herself.
She’s wiping the iodine. Circles. Around and around and around. Does that hurt? It feels like it hurts. Around and around and around. Enough already!
She’s prepping the “main line”. The hack is about to plunge the foot long needle of death into my arm.
“Just a little prick”, she says.
I giggle to myself unable to avoid the fact that I was once a middle-schooler that would find things like that funny. I don’t anymore. Goes without saying…
I try to think about other things. Distraction! That’s it! There’s music on the radio. Great idea. A Distraction! Zero in on that. Ignore Dr. Frankenstein’s widow who is preparing to impale you.
Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go…
Really? This is no time for Eminem.
The sound from the radio fills my senses and I try to reach out and touch it, extending my ghostly fingers as far as they’ll go…back and forth they kick to the rhythm…straining…stretching.
I know that song though. What is it? I think I know who sings it….Lisa? Lita? No…. Leona! Leona Lewis! Simon Cowell found her I think. Simon’s a hack. He’s probably related to the Impaler.
I know this part. Catch up to it… How does it go?
The sword is thrust into my arm as the words filter into my ears…
But I don’t care what they say, I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away, but they don’t know the truth
My heart’s crippled by the vein that I keep on closing
You cut me open and I
Keep, keep bleeding love
I keep bleeding
I keep, keep bleeding love
Keep, keep bleeding love
You cut me open
Fade to black….