Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Green Badge of Honor

I'm wearing the green badge of honor on my arm.

I've been wearing it for the past six hours. You see, that green badge signifies that today I donated blood. That green badge is actually green gauze wrapped around my arm to ensure that my vein doesn't start bleeding out again.

But here's the best part- today was the first time I ever donated blood. I wasn't old enough before and I didn't have the opportunity. But today, especially since I am convinced that it is a chiyuv to donate, I saw the sheet that informed me the Blood Drive was being held in Schottenstein, headed over and began the process.

I didn't know what to expect. First they asked me whether I had eaten anything today. I had to think about that one, but luckily had eaten some scrambled eggs and a couple of orange slices. They recommended I eat a cookie anyway. Then a lady pricked my finger to check my iron count (they accept starting from 12.5 and up, but not when it's too high. Mine was 13.3.) Then she measured by pulse, temperature and blood pressure. After ensuring that I was fine, she waved me over to the people who would actually stick the needle in my arm.

They had me lie down on this fun navy blue beachlike chair. I was determined to brazen this out, not to be afraid, to make myself cheerful. So I started bantering with the two guys sticking people with needles, Cooper and Shaun. Cooper is this big black guy with a personality that sparkles. Shaun is a student in a gap year before attending MedSchool. I smiled and joked with them and Cooper told me that I was cool and that he liked me. He tied a yellow latex-like cord around my arm and had me squeeze a small weight in an effort to find a vein. He tapped at the crevice of my elbow in order to find it, untied the yellow cord and took out the needle. I'm a little bit crazy so I needed to watch him insert the needle. I told myself that I would be perfectly fine and that I would enjoy the process, aside from which, it's always better when I understand what's going on. So I watched him thrust this needle inside of my skin. He was amazing. He got the vein on the first try and the blood danced through the plastic cords, filling up happily. I had a party.

I asked them about their lives and how they got involved in their jobs. Cooper got involved because of a girl who asked him to work with her (the girl has since moved on.) Shaun figured this was a good way to spend his gap year. The two of them have some crazy stories. Shaun told one story where they wander around in the Bloodmobile and the dregs of the earth come onboard. In this situation, the fellow inquired "Can I sell my blood?" "No," Shaun patiently answered,"this is a volunteer donation." "Do you have condoms?" the man inquired next. "No," Shaun answered. "Is this a place where you get a free HIV test?" "No," said Shaun yet again, but explained where the man could find such a place. Finally the man paused and said, "Can I sell my sperm?"

Some people just don't get it.

The girl who had gone before me had seemed perfectly fine, but once she got to the table where she was supposed to rest for a bit and eat and drink up, she slumped. She was ashen, her skin white. Everyone rushed over to her to help her and ended up lying her down on the sofa. I determined that this wasn't going to happen to me. I was cheerful the whole time, watched the blood drain from my arm, asked lots of questions about when and how soon I can donate next (I can do platelets in three days!) and how long the blood lasts (42 days.) Anyway, I really had a party. Giving blood is fun!

The only thing I hadn't known was that I couldn't shower for six hours, seeing as I had to keep the green gauze dry. Now I'll know to shower before going to donate.

Despite having lost a pint of blood and being told not to exercise, I walked all over the place tonight. I took the local in Washington Heights (you happy, Daddy?) but had to walk for a bit and passed two crack dealers on the way. That was interesting.

In other fun news, remember how I ran all around Manhattan but refused to divulge the reason why? Well, that reason is a happy one and can now be explained; my friend liked his present, which is exciting.

In even better news, remember how I mentioned the random tourists who took pictures of Tzarich Iyun and I when we walked the Brooklyn Bridge? They actually sent us the pictures! How amazing can people be? These random people who didn't know us at all took our pictures, took down our email addresses and actually remembered to and did send us our pictures! We live in such a beautiful world.


Erachet said...

Okay, see, I feel queasy just reading about you giving blood. Giving blood myself... ::shudder::

BrooklynWolf said...

As a long-time blood donor, I welcome you to the gauze brigade. May your membership be long, fruitful and bloody.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

You're crazy, you know that? You really could have waited to bring back the sleeping bag on a day when you hadn't just lost a pint of blood.

And how come I never see the crack dealers? You meet all the interesting folks.

Stubborn and Strong said...

GO CHANA GO CHANA! by the way, that girl who pass out, is totally ok!

Tobie said...

I love giving blood...it's this resource that I have lying around in massive quantities, far beyond what I really need. Unlike time or money, it's not something I miss... it's totally like free charity.

Ezzie said...

What Erachet said... :::shaking:::

SaraK said...

Ditto to BrooklynWolf. I donate as often as I am allowed. Good for you! You can do direct donations for Chai Lifeline patients at Sloan Kettering, e mail me if you want more info.