Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Donation of Blood

“OK, you’ve got a lot more rose in your cheeks.”

It was a routine day … I got up around 7:00; said goodbye to my wife as she left for a physical therapy appointment, did a little work on the computer, took a call from my wife to hear about her appointment, and left for the Memorial Blood Center. To give blood. Whole blood. A pint. I’m a veteran, having done this forty-something times.

I arrived early, signed in, chatted with the receptionist, took a flyer about the Renaissance Festival, read the medication deferral list and Fran ( not a real name ) took me.

We remembered each other; we laughed and chatted our way through the routine. Take blood for hemoglobin; check blood pressure; check pulse and temperature; check my arms for needle marks and we get to the question list. I passed and we proceeded to the room to actually get my blood.

All went well; she found a good vein without any difficulty and poked me to start the flow without incident. In what seemed like only a few minutes she told me I’m done, gave me the flyer to take home, and told me to visit the canteen, “get something to eat and drink.”

“The cookies is why I do this,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s what they all say.”

I went to the canteen, got and downed a bottle of Cran-Apple juice, ate a couple of cookies. I noticed the receptionist was not at her station. I began wondering if I felt OK. I saw the receptionist come from the back and walk to her desk. I realized I did not feel completely OK. Before she sat down, we met each other’s eyes. She mouthed something, gestured something that I completely missed and I shrugged. She was soon rushing toward me, asking if I felt all right; “Fran, a little help.” Fran, too, was on me in a flash.

“Are you all right?”

“I don’t know; yes, I think so. I don’t know.”

“Did you have a good breakfast this morning?”

A breakfast bar that tasted a lot like a salted nut roll did not qualify; “Not particularly …”

They were on either side of me, guiding me back to a reclining chair in the blood donation area. Although I continued to protest weakly ( “I think I’m fine.” ), they practically laid me in one of the blood donor’s reclining chairs. Fran brought me a bottle of water, “drink this,” and asked what sort of snack I’d like. She also brought a physician’s, “What to do when you leave,” discharge sheet.

Downing the snack she brought and drinking the water, I began to feel better. We were chatting … suddenly, she chirped, “Well, the rosiness is back in your cheeks!”

“I looked pale, then?” I asked.

“Yeah,” through feigned exasperation. “But you’re good now.” Smile.

Throughout, I did not feel faint … never dizzy … just “not right;” a little weak. The weakness was gone. Feeling “right,” I slowly got out of the chair and walked toward the exit. I thanked both Fran and the receptionist as I left.

Amazed at how quickly and certainly the staff came to my aid, I continue to be impressed and want to continue donating my precious blood at this facility.

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