Twice a year, the church I attend hosts a Red Cross Blood Drive. For the past two years (four times), I have been recruited to work during the five hour drive – checking people in or making sure they eat and drink something after they give blood. Most of the workers attend the church, but a few don’t. At any rate, everyone knows everyone else and we have a good time.
I worked one of those drives today. In a quiet moment, I couldn’t help thinking about the first time I gave blood. And the second.
My first time went smoothly. I was in and out in no time, without a hitch. So, when the opportunity arose again, I wasn’t the least bit nervous about it and invited my young daughter, about 20 at the time, to go along and do a good thing also. She went – reluctantly.
Because she was so nervous and afraid, and I feared she’d back out, I kept telling her there was nothing to it. “A piece of cake!” I said.
We both passed the little test that is given before they allow you to give blood. And, after answering a lot of questions, we were each instructed to lie on a table and were readied for the blood to be drawn. We were only about four feet apart and I could tell she was getting more nervous by the second. I kept saying things like, “It’s no big deal.”
“Doesn’t hurt a bit. There’s nothing to it.”
Once we were both hooked up and the blood was leaving our bodies and going through a small tube into a plastic bag, she began to relax. She looked at me and smiled. I smiled back, feeling better about her.
But guess what?
I began to feel queasy! Dizzy! Hot! The room was spinning and I was sure I was going to throw up. I motioned for a nurse and told her I was gonna be sick. I thought she’d immediately unhook me and let me go – but no! She cranked the head of my cot down and then down some more until I was almost standing on my head. All I could think was, I’m gonna up-chuck and, lying upside down like this, I’ll choke to death!
Doesn’t anyone care?
Everything was a little out of focus but I couldn’t forget about my daughter lying over there. I wonder how she’s doing? I kept thinking.
Then, suddenly, she was standing beside me. And a nurse appeared and told me I was finished and started helping me up. Relief!
She said, “Please go into the next room and have some wafers and orange juice and sit for a while before you leave.” We nodded.
As we walked out, my daughter said dryly, “You were right, Mother. It was a piece of cake. Nuthin’ to it!”
I never gave blood again!