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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No News

http://www.anemia.org/images/anemia/blood-donor-bags.jpg

As I lay on the portable gurney staring at the ceiling the attendant asks me in a routine way, what's new. I search my now blank mind. It's 4 in the afternoon, I am hungrier than I should be. What is new? Nothing. My days seem indistinguishable and I can't say if this is good or bad. Nicky, who is prepping me to donate recognizes this too, how little things change in the two month span between blood drives. Life goes on fairly unchanged. Pearl is with me, waiting on the other side of the room, away from the needles and bags of blood. I tell Nicky when you have a child, predictability is the goal and change is not really sought except quietly to yourself.

I lose track of time as the pint drains out of me. It doesn't feel like anything, I won't miss it, I focus on breathing deeply in order not to feel anxious. I am not afraid of the needles or the bags of blood but I always feel vaguely ill at ease in the process, the scrutiny of my stats, will I be allowed to donate. I was turned away the first time I went, unbeknown to me I had a low fever. I had stepped into a wasps nest the day before and my ankles were badly stung, I was undeterred and went back the next time and have been going every two months ever since. When it's over I am instructed to take a moment and get up slowly and go to the table where another volunteer has a little display of cans of juice and cookies. She is saving the pull tabs from the cans for a friend who needs dialysis. Each pull tab is worth one minute on the machine. I choose Cranberry juice and a chocolate chip cookie, Pearl has Apple juice and a Molasses cookie. We sit there while I try to gauge how I am feeling.

As we leave the volunteers thank me, genuinely for coming. I am blood type O-negative which means everyone can use my blood. This makes me a useful commodity to them and they are grateful which makes me feel good because it's no sweat off my back to do this good deed. When I had given a gallon they gave me a little metal stick pin. Last time I went the blood supply was very low and they gave me a little gold key stick pin to acknowledge my part in donating my universally useful blood on that day. I was on the fence about going yesterday as I am up to my eyeballs in work but I find the whole thing so satisfying that I hate to miss it. I feel like I would be letting down the cheerful volunteers, Sarah and Beth now that I have made this commitment to be a regular blood donor. Maybe in July I will have something new to share with Nicky.

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