I do not like people stealing my blood. Thatâ€™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 wonâ€™t be anemic! But none of the medical professions seemed interested in this obvious and logical argument. Pill pushersâ€¦
And then the muppets came.
(Side note â€“ 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 sayinâ€¦)
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 â€“ down to matching blood types. Search has a few of my features â€“ 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 didnâ€™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 sonâ€™s life.
Almost two years later, Iâ€™ve been inspired by my rosy-cheeked cherubs (only partially brought to the forefront by last weeks feverish pneumonia debacle) and The Bloggessâ€™ Traveling Red Dress project.
â€œThe traveling red dress isnâ€™t always red. It isnâ€™t even always a dress. Itâ€™s anything youâ€™ve always wanted but denied yourself because you thought it was too silly. It isnâ€™t. Joy is always worth it. Go and find your personal red dress, my friend.â€
I agreed to donate blood tonight. So someone Iâ€™ll never know can continue to find joy. Because at this point, my fear of needles is silly. And because maybe thereâ€™s a child somewhere whoâ€™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, â€œThis seems like a good idea.â€ And then you get where youâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t pass out.
And then they led me back to the chair in order to stab me with a blood-sucking needle.
Iâ€™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 donâ€™t keel over and die.)
Full disclosure â€“ 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.