Bloodsport: My adventures donating the red stuff
Wait, I missed posting to my blog last week? WTF?! Wow, that one flew right passed me. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit taking fistfuls of Xanax. Yikes, the things that happen when you stay sober. Life lessons, people. Lessons that you learn in life. That’s what this is. How did I lose a week?! Maybe I was abducted by aliens. Yeah, that’s it, aliens were not-surprisingly attracted to my ridiculous awesomeness and had to perform their “experiments” on me to determine the origin of my awesome (maybe my wife and I should stop marathon-ing X-Files episodes, it may be affecting my thought process).
Actually, I fully intended to post an article last week but several things stopped me, and by “several things” I mean “one thing”. That one thing is that I’m really f’n lazy.
It’s time I call a spade a spade and just lay it out on the table. I’m a lazy S.O.B. If the TV remote is lost in the cushions of the sofa, I won’t look for it. I’m watching whatever is on TV, even if that happens to be a marathon of makeover shows on TLC. 10 Years Younger, What Not to Wear, You Look Like An Idiot…whatever. I’m watching it. I once watched a marathon of home decorating shows on HGTV because the batteries in the remote were dead. It’s insane. Speaking of, how many houses have nice maple wood floors underneath orange shag carpeting? If you watch these shows, pretty much every home in America. I also learned that if you live in the Northeast, your home is as old as the US Constitution, has at most 1000 square feet and can be sold on the open market for about $400,000 – $500,000. That’s just how the Northerners roll. But I digress.
So, I’m lazy. It’s not like I can say I had anything other than my usual work duties last week. I wasn’t curing cancer or volunteering at a homeless shelter or reading to blind children (which I would have a tough time doing anyway because I can’t read Braille…it’s just a bunch of dots to me). So I have no excuse. Oh I did do one thing, I donated blood for the first time ever.
Many of you know I was hospitalized in 2004 for a bleeding ulcer. I had lost probably 75% of the blood in my body and finally I just collapsed under the strain. While in intensive care, I had a blood transfusion. Someone gave blood so that I could live. I wanted to return the favor, so when Winn-Dixie had it’s recurrent Blood-Drive last week I signed up for an early spot and went. How was I to know about the medieval bloodletting that was about to occur? Prepare to hear the (literally) gory details.
I got to the “Blood-Mobile” just before 8am and walked on in. The nurse handed me this 5 page questionaire asking me everything from “what was your birth weight” to “have you recently had sex with a polar bear”. After answering these concerningly probing questions, the nurse takes you into a tiny little office away from prying eyes so she can study your answers then ask more in depth questions like “when having sex with a polar bear, what position(s) did you employ”. After trying to defend my answers for what felt like 45 minutes (“Yes, I do routinely microwave my leftovers while naked. Is that wrong?”) she pricks my finger and steals a few drops of blood for an “iron test”. Wait, was this like a blood donation appetizer? Aren’t you about to take a few pints of blood in like 2 minutes, can’t you wait? I guess not. I guess if your blood is too iron-y then you can’t give. Sorry to all of you with metal-based blood, you are gonna have to sit at home and not answer probing questions before having your life’s blood sucked out of your body. Suck it, losers.
So then I’m led to rows of Dr Frankenstein looking chairs and told to lay down. I’m strapped in and I start to get the feeling like I’m Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man and fully expect Sir Lawrence Olivier to sit down next to me and start asking, “Is it safe?”. After strapping me down the nurse asks me if I want anything to drink; Coke, Diet Coke, OJ, Sprite? It’s 8am so I said Bourbon. She said we don’t have any alcohol so I pick OJ. I’m then informed that they are out of OJ and to pick something else. “Wait, you just asked me if I wanted OJ”. “I know, but we are out”. This should have been my first sign something was off. After getting Coke, she starts rubbing down my arm with alcohol (I thought they didn’t have any). I mean really rubbing it on. She’s rubbing an area from my upper bicep almost to mid forearm. WTF?! How big is this needle? And she’s rubbing it for like 4 minutes. I realize I have nice, “ready to be rubbed” biceps, but this is ridiculous and bordering on harassment. After what seems like an eternity she finally stops and whips out the harpoon she thinks she’s going to be sticking into my defenseless arm. “Holy crap! You are crazy if you think I’m letting you impale me with that gi-normous needle, you quack!!” This must be why they strapped me down. The needle is so damn big she has to throw it into my arm like a javelin. When it gets fully in there it feels like it’s gone entirely through my arm and poked back out the other side. Is there no fully qualified doctor on the premises? Nurse Ratched is trying to impale my arm like Count Vlad Dracul and there’s no doctor onsite for quality control? I have visions of my lone arm sitting atop a pole outside the Blood-Mobile warning future blood donors to behave or else. Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.
So the colossal needle is sticking out of my arm like a sign post and the nurse hooks up what looks like a giant IKEA bag to the tube attached to the needle. “How much blood are you taking, again? You do realize I’m currently using a lot of it?” She tells me to “Just relax”. That’s comforting coming from Nurse Marquis de Sade. So the thing that is giving me life flows freely from my body into the IKEA bag and I’m sitting there minding my own business drinking my little cup of Coke (does that really help for massive blood loss?).
Pretty soon I start getting dizzy and sweating profusely. I mention this to the nurse and she’s says, “That’s normal, you’re fine”. Thanks for your professional opinion, didn’t mean to interrupt your neglecting the other blood donors. I start to lose consciousness and she finally comes over and starts putting cold compresses on me to keep me awake. I’m really feeling weak and ready to slip off into that good night. WTF is happening? I feel like my body is looking like an empty Capri Sun packet, all drained and empty of life. And they keep putting those cold towels on me instead of dislodging the GIANT FRIGGIN’ NEEDLE IN MY ARM. It’s almost like they are trying to just keep me alive long enough to get my blood donation. I imagine them yelling “Code BLUE” which means “just keep this sucka alive long enough to get his 2 pints then dump him in an alley”. After what felt like an hour my donation was done and they unhooked me and left me to die in the chair. Well, actually, they said, “take as long as you need, as long as it’s not longer than 15 minutes because we have a lot of blood to be stealin’ from other people”. So I hung out a bit, drank some more of their Coke (for blood loss? Really?) and stole a few packets of Goldfish crackers in a final rebellious attempt to make myself feel better. I limped out of there like a hit-and-run victim to face the rest of my day.
So that was my blood giving ordeal. Needless to say, I don’t plan on giving again. I repaid my debt to the blood world, so I’m going to hold onto the blood I got now like a starving man does his final turkey leg. If the Red Cross wants more, they are going to have to have a fight on their hands.
You hear that Red Cross? Come get some.