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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Birthdays, Blood and Movies! - Part 2

For those of you who are not familiar with my blog, this is a continuation of the story from 'Birthdays, Blood and Movies! - Part 1'.

I had been turned down and it left me feeling little crestfallen. This had been one of those major milestones in my life and I had failed. Given that I had been terrified to begin, the crestfallen-ness wasn't all that bad and I decided to move on with my life.

I go up from the nurses table and went over to chat to Helen while she had her bodily fluids drained. The nurses hadn't yet arrived to suck her dry, so we sat chatting to pass the time. Our chat was rather uneventful, apart from a RICKY-ALERT (Wee-ooo wee-ooo wee-ooo...). Eventually a rather nice male nurse came to hook Helen up to one of those cool-looking blood bags that you always get to see in the movies.

The procedure consisted of him strapping an elastic velcro thingy around her arm to get her veins to pop up, using a ton of sterilizing strips soaked in alcohol to clean the area and inserting the needle into the appropriate vein. He then held the needle in place with little strips of surgical tape. After taking three samples of blood in little vials, he allowed the blood to flow into the bag.

Shortly thereafter, a girl came and sat next-to Helen's bed thingy. She looked very nervous and so we started chatting to her. It turned out that this was her first time giving blood and she was very scared. So when it came time for her to get bled, she looked like she was going to die.

I felt sorry for her and so offered her my hand to hold as a comfort. She very politely checked that I was okay with this and then clasped my hand for dear life! While she tried to choke my fingers she said, 'Sing me a song!' Immediately all musical thoughts collected into a tiny mental meteor and plumetted from my mind. 'What should I sing?' I asked. 'Anything!' she replied. I desperately wracked my brain for something to hum, never mind sing. Just then, a song jumped into my head! It was...

Cry me a river by Justin Timberlake...

My musical bias aside, I realised that this wasn't going to work for two reasons:
a) All I could think of was a Justin Timberlake song (pleeug!)
b) The only line I knew from that song was, 'Cry me a river'

I voiced my concerns and Helen came to my aid. 'Sing the Kenya song!' I said that it was a stupid song and that I wouldn't sing it. I wasn't about to sing a song about lions and tigers in Kenya in a very large, crowded public place anyway! I decided that this little distraction conversation was in need of a subject shift, and so I asked the donor, whose name we actually never asked for now that I think about it... 'So what good movies have you seen lately?'

'I don't know! I have no idea!' she replied.

Helen pipped up, 'What kind of movies do you like?'

'I don't know! I can't remember anything right now!'

It was at this point that the nurse arrived and began to prepare the donor. He strapped the velcro thingy onto her arm and began to cut the surgical tape into short pieces.

She sounded kind of out of breath, 'Oh my it comes! The needle...I'm gonna die!'

'Uh...not quite,' I said. 'It's only the surgical tape that he's prepping.'

'Oh God, oh God, oh God...' she muttered. I tried to distract her again while my fingers began to resemble tiny long egg plants. Just then, the nurse warned her about the needle. It was crunch time and Helen did the only thing left.

'Look away!'

It was in. The donor did little apart from a small flinch while the needle went in. She then looked down at her arm, almost admirably, and turned to me. 'Thanks, you can have your hand back'

I gratefully took back my distorted and rather purple hand and moved over to Helen to see how she was doing. Her bag was nearly full but she had not come even close to beating her previous bag filling record time. Apparently she once managed to fill a 500ml bag with blood in under 8 min! Soon one of the nurses arrived, stopped the flow, removed the needle and put a cotton ball over the oosing hole in Helen's arm. As the bleeding didn't stop immediately, he put another ball on and held it down with a plaster that had a little South African flag printed on it. I mentioned that I thought the plasters were cool and the nurse immediately gave me one!

Random Fact For The Day:

Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower', because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the 'upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters


  1. Luke!! i fell off my chair laughing! i cannot stand the thought of giving blood. when i have to have blood samples taken i get all shaky & hysterical. i almost passed out watching my mom have a sample taken beacause blood cant be drawn from her has to be drawn from (this freaks me out big time) the veins around her knuckles!!! aaaarrrrghhhh!
    lucky for me, i have an iron deficiency so cannot give blood. but i am donating my organs when im done with them. that counts right?

  2. Totally! If you can't give the fluid give the organs!