so you might know that i hate needles, hospitals, blood, gauze, and anything with big medical words on it. this disdain keeps me away from certain places and activities. one of these places and activites is blood drives.
i gave blood once. i was 16. i passed out. it was an awful experience. i never did it again.
one of the laypersons in this church, though, works for the red cross and has been encouraging me to give blood. she keeps sponsoring blood drives at our church, and offering free mets tickets to those who donate. up to now, i have resisted these efforts, promising that if they were yankee tickets instead of met tickets, i would surrender my longstanding blood drive boycott. so far, she has yet to deliver.
however, last week one of the youth in our church told me that her school was doing a blood drive and every donor got one yankees ticket. she told me she would give me her ticket and then i could go and get another. and so i went.
first of all, it was in a high school. does anyone remember high school? not me. but i suddenly remembered it this morning as i walked through the halls of what seemed like an adolescent purgatory, complete with various levels of torture including classrooms, lockers, and people making out in the hallway. i was afraid. very afraid.
i finally made it to the blood sucking room, and instantly remembered the smell of sterile bandages and cups of apple juice. this is not a good combination. i filled out the form. waited in one line to get my finger pricked and endure conversation with a maladjusted man who was only interested in talking about how awful it is that the methodist church ordains women. it is not fair to argue with someone who is holding a sharp object and whose sole purpose for sitting so close to you is that he is about to take that sharp object and force blood from your body.
then i had to wait in another line, and i finally made it to one of the reclining lawn chairs where the actual blood letting happens. i immediately told the guy that they should get the smelling salts ready. he seemed to understand my situation, and immediately laid me down and put my feet up. now, like a human bat, i am ready to fill up a ziploc bag with blood. the things i will do for yankee tickets.
much to my surprise, the experience was NOT terrible. it was pretty much over before i knew it. i did not pass out. it didn't hurt (much). the blood-taker-man said i bleed quickly (thank you?). so then i am escorted to the snack table ("this guy looks like he might keel over at any time"), where i devour a pack of lorna doones and a cup of aforementioned apple juice. then i inquire about the yankee tickets. the high school girl working behind the counter looks at me as if to say, "you don't look like any teacher i've ever seen, and why are you whiter than a peice of college-ruled notebook paper?" but she doesn't. she says, "oh, if we get 200 pints of blood then we get some yankee tickets that we will have a drawing for.
great. so no yankee tickets for me. just a bandage on my arm that pulls out a new armhair every time i bend my elbow. and the satisfaction of knowing that i've helped society today. and the lingering odor of gauze in my nose.