I was always taught to share.
At a young age, I learned that there was a reckless imbalance in the world; with excess here and scarce there, hence it was very important to share whatever one had in excess with those who had in scarce.
So I walked through the doors of the hospital , determined to end my procrastination and finally practice what had been preached to me.
I headed straight to the woman behind a desk. She had a warm smile, chirpy voice and a head full of grey.
I explained to her why I was there and her smile grew even warmer exposing a gap tooth.
“Is this your first time? “She asked. I nodded, smiling for the first time that day. There was something about her.
She reminded me of a teddy bear. Teddy bears are safe. She was safe.
She settled down to the business of taking my blood pressure and talking about her son. But our chit chat was cut short when my blood pressure registered normal and I had to go in for the first set of tests. This time around, with a young nervous nurse.
She took a quick, small, painless sample of my blood and nodded in satisfaction when the blood immediately sank to the bottom of the bluish fluid she had dropped it in. There was something about her.
She reminded me of a cricket. Crickets are awkward. She was awkward.
I must have passed that test because I was referred to an inner room for further test. The young male in an immaculate ward coat took another sample of blood and asked me in a rather soft voice “Is this your first time? “. I nodded, smiling for the second time that day.
60 minutes of waiting in the reception went by and I must have passed the second test too because I was finally called in, handed a blood bag and directed to an inner room. The setting for donors was quite comfortable; laid back chairs, a television set, an air conditioner… I was getting relaxed.
Oh my God! Where did that needle come from?
Remember the last time you had Soda? Remember the straw you used to drain the juicy content of the bottle? Now imagine that it was made of steel and it was boring into your left arm.
I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth as the Sent-from-hell needle entered my flesh. Why was I doing this to myself?
I was always taught to share.
When I opened my eyes, there was a wooden ball in my hand and the nurse asked me to keep squeezing the ball to facilitate the outflow of blood. A human pumping machine. I closed my eyes and steadied my breathing determined to take it one squeeze at a time.
When I opened my eyes again, there was a dark handsome stranger seated across the room. The veins on his left arm bulged temptingly as he squeezed his wooden ball like it was made of rubber. He smiled at me. I smiled back. How lucky can one girl be?
Time passed slowly. I watched my Dark Knight fill up his bag with blood and leave the room with a bounce to his step. A nurse handled the filled bag with great care and put it away in what looked like a dwarf freezer. Meanwhile, I was only halfway through. If something was wrong with me, why didn’t they just tell me? Why did they let me go ahead with the donation?
15 minutes later my bag was full, maybe a little too full. There was no nurse around. Somebody help!
She came running towards me, embarrassed for her negligence, yet scolding me for continuing to pump even when it was past the limit. How would I explain to her that I was lost in thought? That the pumping action of my hand was no longer voluntary but now reflex? I said nothing.
She hurriedly took the bag to a sink and before my horrified eyes, began to drain the excess blood.
I was learning fast.
Life has so much value. And yet, so little value.
After I was cleaned up, Cricket came over to me and said that she “can’t let me go” because I didn’t “look too good” and I should “rest for at least 30 minutes”
Why couldn’t I be like my Dark Knight? Why couldn’t I walk out of here with a bounce to my step? Why did I feel so exhausted? George Orwell was right.
All animals are equal. But some are more equal than the others.
I made it home that day, armed with my souvenir from the blood bank and a plaster on my left arm. I peeped into the bag; a bottle of water, a bottle of malt drink, a jotter and a donor card. How generous! I drank the two bottles in 2 minutes and reached for the jotter. Above the over-edited picture of a happy family, it was written
SHARE BLOOD. GIVE LIFE.
I opened the first page, grabbed a pen and began to scribble in barely legible handwriting
I was always taught to share…
Have you ever donated blood? Tell me your experience in the comments below. Xoxo