Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Red, Red Blood

There are many things in life that I try to do with some regularity. This would obviously include various body functions, as well as taking the time to eat on occasion and even try to sleep here and there. (Truthfully, the sleeping thing has never really worked out for me.) But one thing I've always tried to do is donate blood whenever possible.

I first gave blood at the age of seventeen, owing in no small part to a blood drive hosted at my school to help with some fellow classmates that had been involved in a terrible car accident. Donating blood just seemed to be one of those no-brainer sorts of things.

I'm not particularly squeamish at the sight of blood, nor do I have any major hangups with pain. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type to assault my sensitive bits with a meat tenderizer, but a little prick from a needle has never been anything to send me into shudders of fear.

After I gave blood that first time, I pretty much decided to do it whenever humanly possible. I have a pretty useful blood type and I have no major hangups about the procedure.

I tend to be the type that will excitedly talk up anything I'm interested in, hoping to sway the opinions of the person that I'm dealing with. This should be readily apparent by my overall body of work. It, therefore, goes without saying that I set to work almost immediately to convince my girlfriend at the time to join me in my sanguinary ritual.

Mind you, this would not be an easy task. Stacie was horrified of needles, prone to running and squealing whenever one was brought into her vicinity. If I was ever going to get her to donate, I'd have to convince her that the procedure was simple and painless.

After arriving at the VFW center and waiting in line, I made my way to the table where they ask you a handful of questions: Have you had sex with a man since 1975? No, my gay debauchery ended in 1974. Have you been out of the country in the last 6 months? No, but the week before that...

After making my way through the questionnaire with the nurse, I asked if it would be possible for Stacie to join me at the actual donation chair. I assured them that she would remain out of the way and that this was purely in the interest of procuring another donor for them.

Amazingly, they agreed and we made our way to the chairs.

I lay back in the chair and offered up my left arm to the bloodletting physician. I turned my head towards Stacie and began assuring her that the procedure was no big deal. I kept my eyes locked as they found my vein, covered me with iodine and prepared the needle for insertion.

Just prior to the needle going in, I looked to Stacie and reminded her that there was very little pain. Only the tiniest flinch crossed my face as the needle dug its way past my skin. I maintained my smiling demeanor, preparing to say, "See, no biggie!", when I noticed that Stacie was turning an ashen pale, jaw slack and eyes wide, staring directly at my left arm.

I glanced over to the left and found that the nurse had accidentally punctured my vein. A small geyser had formed around the needle, pumping streams of red kroovy into the air until dropping back to my arm with a wet splash and spilling over the sides onto the floor.

All I could manage was to chuckle and say something along the lines of, "Well, how about that".

Needless to say, she never ended up donating.


GeologyJoe said...

I first donated in High School too. I think I have donated 8 times total..which i think is about a gallon.

I've got to get to the donate place soon...its been a while.

E said...

I try to donate whenever possible. The unfortunate thing is that you cannot donate for a year after getting a tattoo. And I seem to get a tattoo every 10 months. :P