I do not like people stealing my blood. That’s right. I said stealing. My blood. MINE!
Amid the myriad of pills they concocted for me whilst I was trapped on ante-partum hospital lockdown, one that amused me to no end was to treat me for anemia. Stop taking my blood and maybe I won’t be anemic! But none of the medical professions seemed interested in this obvious and logical argument. Pill pushers…
And then the muppets came.
(Side note – amount of blood loss due to major surgery following six weeks of strict bedrest will cause a newly minted preemie mom to pass out in the NICU should she insist on walking into the unit full tilt. Just sayin…)
One warm June morning, the chief of the neonatology unit called me with urgent news. Search needed a blood transfusion. We had been warned this was likely, as his tiny body was still a little confused about how to function. Destroy is a little mini-me of his father – down to matching blood types. Search has a few of my features – including my blood type. (Which, despite numerous protests by my mother, is A-. I promise.)
Being only two weeks after giving birth, I was not allowed to donate blood to my son. Doctors decreed I didn’t have enough to go around, apparently. (Really, how much does a 2-pound person need?)
So Search received an anonymous bag of blood from a donor who will never know he saved my son’s life.
Almost two years later, I’ve been inspired by my rosy-cheeked cherubs (only partially brought to the forefront by last weeks feverish pneumonia debacle) and The Bloggess’ Traveling Red Dress project.
“The traveling red dress isn’t always red. It isn’t even always a dress. It’s anything you’ve always wanted but denied yourself because you thought it was too silly. It isn’t. Joy is always worth it. Go and find your personal red dress, my friend.”
I agreed to donate blood tonight. So someone I’ll never know can continue to find joy. Because at this point, my fear of needles is silly. And because maybe there’s a child somewhere who’s having some retic issues and needs some help to get that healthy glow back.
At 6 p.m., I walked through the doors of the clinic. And then I stopped. You know those times when you think, “This seems like a good idea.” And then you get where you’re going and think, “I was wrong. Very wrong.” This was one of those times.
After answering approximately 172 questions to ensure I was not secretly suffering from smallpox or malaria, a white-coated lab technician escorted me into a small private room. She strapped a blood pressure cuff to my arm and stuck a thermometer under my tongue.
My blood pressure began racing. I was back in the hospital having my vitals taken (and throwing temper tantrums when the nurses tried to do so at 2 a.m.). Despite the sudden dizziness and spinning room resulting from my light head, I promised myself I wouldn’t pass out.
And then they led me back to the chair in order to stab me with a blood-sucking needle.
I’d tell you what happened next, but I shut my eyes and held my breath for the next 15 minutes, while a whooshing sound sucked the life-blood out of my left arm. (I may be a bit overly dramatic here, but my point stands.)
Finally, it was over. I was instructed to sit in their lobby area for 15 minutes as mandated by the State of California. (I believe this is a CYA regulation to make sure I don’t keel over and die.)
Full disclosure – it was for the life of a child. Pay it forward as thanks for what was given to my children. But really, I was promised ice cream.