I don't donate blood. I just don't. For years, I've told people that, and they've backed off. Oh, I'll help organise one, work like a dog; but no blood donations for me. (Scared of needles? infection? weakness? embarrassment (see below)? Dunno.) And then, one day, a friend added a new dimension to it. And something told me I had to. And I did!
How did it go? Let me tell you:
After having a royal Saturday, (Badminton, followed by some gardening and delicious food at parents', before leaving for parents' followed by more delicious food and lots of talking to. Confused?) , I decided to chuck the lazy Sunday morning, more good food, the F1 race in China, and bike-hunting, and decided to leave from the parents' and go join the parents' (More confusion?) who were leaving for the 'Drive'. I really, really wanted to give blood, you see.
Were it ever so simple. After a minor altercation with a couple of uncouth bike riders, we finally made it to the site. After the registration, we lined up at the entry of the converted blood-bank bus. And the fun started.
[The rest of the post has been suitably embellished and exaggerated to make it more interesting. :) ]
Cute Doctor (CD): "Lie down straight on this bed."
theFriendlyGiant (FG): "It's too small."
CD: "Lie down!"
FG: "ok." *lies down*
CD: "Other way round please. I need the right hand."
FG: "ok." *gets up, turns, lies down, almost knocks over a few doctors* "Sorry!"
Non Cute Doctor (NCD): "Let me find your vein." *tries, rubs wet cotton, tries,.....*
NCD: (loudly) "Nahi hai!"
NCD II: "Let me see." *try, try, try...* "Aapka vein nahi mil raha hai. "
NCD II: "Turn around, let me take a look at your left hand."
FG: *turns around, notices bemused expression of friend, mumbles.* "That's what I was doing in the first place!"
NCD: "Abhi dekhte hai." *tries, tries, tries, *
*gives up. Calls bearded doctor.*
Bearded Doctor (BD): "Mujhe dekhne do." *try, try, try... turn hand, try, try, try near the funny bone...* "yahaan hai!"
[This was quite embarrassing, and I used to face it every time I went for a blood test. Thank God for those new-fangled things they use to draw blood from the fingertips.]
FG: *flinch* "OW!" *open eyes to see smirking faces, go back to poker face.*
BD: "Blood aa raha hai?"
BD: *Adjusts needle.* "Abhi?"
FG: *flinch* "OW!"
BD: *Pulls out needle partly.* "Ab?"
FG: *flinch* "OW!"
NCD II: "Haan. Abhi aaya!"
FG: (thinks) Chalo theek hai, let me watch the movie. *cranes neck.*
CD: "Sar neeche!"
FG: "ok." (thinks) *let me catch some sleep. closes eyes.*
CD: "Aap aankhen band mat keejiyey. Hame pata kaise lagega ki aap theek hai?"
FG: *opens eyes.* "ok. " * $%^^&* den mother* *mumble!* *mumble!* *England!*
[Now imagine this happening four more times with CD and NCD. Heh heh.]
[BTW, got my photo taken too. I'm famous!]
After a while, CD, NCD and NCD II discover what I've always suspected. My blood is damn possessive! It just doesn't want to leave the nice warm innards and get frozen in some "bank". Alas, it has no choice. (Maybe Unrelated: Why does this remind me of all those "Autobiography of blah-blah" essays I used to excel in, in school?). So 20 minutes and a small, red puddle in the pouch later, the cavalry (BD) is marched in. More adjustment follows, and blood starts to flow like water again. But, not for long.
[By this time, I had tried to up the flow by breathing hard and long, hard and short, hard,... pumped the smiley ball all I could (should I rephrase that?), flexed some muscles. I was starting to get frustrated, imagine what the doctors must be feeling.]
CD: "It has stopped again."
NCD: "How much blood has collected?"
NCD II: "400 ml." (Embarrassing, isn't it?)
BD: "Let's change sides."
BD: "Right hand please." *summarily pulls out the needle.*
FG: *flinch* "OW!"
[More smirks all around.]
BD: "Now let's see." *Pokes needle near funny bone.*
FG: * f l i n c h * "OW!" "OW!" "OW!" "OW!"
BD: *Hastily pulls out needle.* "Hurts too much?"
FG: (thinks: hell yes, @#$%ing moron!) *clenches teeth for effect.* "Yess! The pressure on the forarm is already too much. Can't feel my arm. "
BD: "Sorry, just bear for one more jab."
FG: *raises eyebrow* "ok."
BD: *Jabs closer home this time.* "Aha! Here it is!" *Pumps the armband even tighter. Blood flows. FG feigns a faint.*
CD: (all smiles) "It's done. Open your eyes now." *pulls out needle*
FG: "Thanks." *flinch* "OW!"
CD: *Blocks punctures with medicated cotton. Folds arms up.* "Hold them up there, [BD] has said you need to lie down for five more minutes." *Proceeds to call friend and joke about my "adventure". Mobiles should be banned in blood banks.*
FG: *Disinterested shrug.* "Whatever."
And so, I donated blood. But that's not all! (loooong post, I know.)
A little later, having been pinned with this,
and quietly having my coffee and biscuits, I thought I'd get my shoes and slink away. No such luck. As I got up and then bent over to pick up my shoes, the band-aid on the puncture on the left caught somewhere and ripped off. Not that I noticed it. Bending down to put on my socks, I suddenly notice blood on my trousers. Blood!
I instinctively raise my left hand and find it covered with blood. Just as I was wondering why it was in such a hurry after lazing around all day, I also noticed that I had, in raising my hand, nearly shoved the blood-soaked appendage into the mortifed face of an Aunty who had just finished, and was trying to have her beverage. I quickly mumbled an apology, lowered the arm, and hollered for the doctors. After all the cleaning and re-band-aiding, the CD admonished me for being in such a hurry to leave. (At this point I'd been in the bus for about 80 minutes!)
Well, all's well that ends well. Almost. After a delightful meal of rotis, daal, aloo subzi, dhokla and aamras, we left back for the friend's place. Just as I was thinking it was great fun and would be a pleasant memory, ta-da! The puncture develops a blood clot and looks like (as someone said) a love-bite! :D:D
And so it ends. It was a great experience, and I got to do a lot of nautanki along the way. (I wouldn't wish a hospital visit on anyone, but doing all kinds of nautanki when admitted in a hospital, knowing fully well neither the hospital guys nor your own relatives / friends can do anything about it, is, well, the kind of evil fun I enjoy! It also keeps you from getting bored.)
Thanks, EISI. Now, I'll go make a list of things that "I just don't".
PS: Here's another perspective of the Drive.
Update: I forgot! I also get a day off from office for doing this! *evil laughter*