won’t feel a thing…

I had to do some shopping for the house yesterday, so stopped by the local grocery.  The Red Cross was set up outside the store and was taking blood donations to assist with victims of the current ongoing violence that is taking place in Kenya.

I decided donating a pint of blood was at least something I could do to help.  They took my info, weighed me and had me sign some forms.  Found out I was a bit heavier than I wanted to be.  Think the scale was off by about 10kgs (25 lbs) or I just had a lot of stuff in my pockets.

They set me up with my left arm.  All the while I am thinking about my friend Joe.  He passed away last year due to multiple complications with his kidneys.  We met in 4th grade and had been close friends for a long time.  He was always in and out of the hospital.  He had his first kidney transplant at the age of 8 and I think one or two others after that plus numerous operations for other things.  The last that I remember he was up to something like 15 major surgical operations with massive scars to prove it.   I was thinking about Joe because he always joked that he was very jealous of my veins.  That if he had mine, the doctors would never have problems finding where to stick him with a needle.

So with my confidence in my veins I laid down on that bed expecting things to go very smoothly.  Apparently veins get more difficult to find as a person gets older and fatter.  The man looking for mine seemed to be having some difficulty.  He pulled that strap really tight and whacked the place with his fingers for a minute before being satisfied.  Then he stuck me.

Normally getting stuck to draw blood is not a big deal.  You feel a little prick and then just lay there for a few minutes till they tell you it’s finished.  I felt a big prick and a heck of a lot of pain.  Told him.  Then he did something else and I felt more pain.  Told him about that too.  After he dug around for a minute (ouch) he was satisfied that he had finally gotten it in.   Apparently not.

At this point my desire to do a good deed was fading quickly.   A lady came over to check the progress of the bag and wasn’t very happy.  She said it wasn’t working and would I mind if they tried the other arm.  I was a bit dubious.  Was thinking I should just get up and walk away.  But there I was on the bed already and she seemed a bit more knowledgable in the art of finding veins, so I decided what the heck.  She strapped the other arm, whacked it a bit and then went to work.  A little prick, no pain and we were good to go.

Joe would’ve laughed at me for complaining about something small like this.   He was no stranger to needles.  I think through the course of his life he had just about every available vein tapped by one.  Arms, hands, legs, neck, toes, you name it.  I miss Joe.  I never got a chance to tell him that.