Free-Floating Hostility

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sanguinity at the Blood Bank

The following post concerns blood. If you are one of our readers who faints when such topics are discussed, skip it and catch up with us tomorrow.

Today I had an interview a few floors up from a blood bank, so when I was done I hung around to donate--spring breaks are made for this kind of thing. For me, blood donation is an exercise in vanity. It's nonstop compliments from the time I'm done with my paperwork until it's time to have my snacks. It starts with my history. The gentleman (nurse?) who took my history actually thanked me for not having traveled anywhere exotic. Then came the compliments on my blood pressure. Next he stuck my finger and complimented me on how quickly I clot and tried to win me over to apheresis, talking up the comfy chairs, the smaller needles and the selection of dvds I could watch while I donated. As we emerged from the private interview room the nurse who would be taking my blood overheard and shouted, "Hey, Justin, what's with the recruitment speech? Quit poaching my whole blood donors!" "What?" said Justin defensively, "She's got great veins." It's nice to be fought over.

This nurse's name was Chuck, and he sported a snow white ponytail down to his tush (it's not New York, but you've gotta love San Francisco). He asked to see the crook of my arm and initiated the flattery of my blood vessels. "Whaaugh," he all but slavered, "That's a nice big garden hose you got there. Thanks for bringing that with you." He led me to a really very comfy leather chair, kind of like a superhot lazy boy with the feet up. He disinfected my inner elbow while we chatted. Chuck turns out to have a background in the navy and in emergency nursing, reinforcing that I shouldn't judge a book by its pony tail. I like to watch the needle, and that's how I saw two cartoonish drops of blood shoot out of me. "Oops," said Chuck, "I'd say this was just an excuse to touch the hem of your garment but I think we got a drop on your shirt." One of the upsides to being incorrigibly scruffy is that this kind of event doesn't bend me out of shape, so I told Chuck not to worry about it. He examined my output.

"It's going really fast," he said. I asked what that meant about my physiology, and Chuck explained that it meant I was well hydrated. "I can't stand those folks who say they've had enough to drink, only when it comes time to find their vein it comes out that they really meant a coffee at 6 am. Then there's the folks who say they've had enough to eat and it's not till they pass out in the chair that it turns out it was really just a yogurt." The whole thing was over in less time than it takes to read a chapter of my trashy book. "Showoff," said Chuck. I stuck my tongue out at him, but he did not take the opportunity to compliment its unusual properties. "Ever wanna hold a bag of blood?" he asked. I humored him and took it. "It's warm," I said. "Durr, it just came out of you. Oh well, it goes over better with the high school kids," he said.

By the way, when I showed up for the interview, the jovial research assistant who escorted me through security made sure to mention that he read the blog and found it interesting. See, you all think this is just a hobby, but I'm making my career here.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at March 31, 2006 6:25 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I hope this is the kind of fun I can expect when I give my oral argument. I expect it will be like giving blood or going to the dentist.

  •   Posted by Blogger Alice at April 03, 2006 6:07 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I dressed up as a drop of blood for the Barnard blood drive once. It wasn't a very flattering costume, but I'll do anything for the cause.

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