A Story by Raevyne

A real experience I had earlier this year. Seems much funnier in retrospect!

I would like to be able to state my intentions were selfless, humanitarian even...but I will be perfectly honest- twenty bucks for a pint of blood seems like a pretty sweet deal when you've been eating cheerios for 3 days. However, I also can't say that I felt good about myself when Eliza and I walked into the donation center on North avenue, conveniently located in between a vaccum outlet and a dry cleaner.
    "Oh hell no!" was the first thing that came out of the receptionist's mouth as soon as our combat boots hit the tile. It took about five minutes of persuading and government issued ID to assure her that we were in fact legal adults residing in the state of Maryland. We were then allowed to write our names on the waiting list and take a seat in a cold plastic chair. The blood bank was a bare bones operation, the walls only sporting signs clearing state requirements and compensation, not even any inspirational kittens or bible passages tacked to the wall. A boy sitting across the room was trying to persuade his girlfriend to let him have her twenty.
    "Are you a Juggalette?" asked the house painter next to me.
Before I was able to give an indignant response, a nurse started yelling at a man wearing a rosary to pull up his sleeves. When our turn finally came, I was hustled to a cubby where a clearly seasoned nurse quizzed me, in a commendably small about of breaths, about my sexual conduct and traveling habits, and receiving a satisfactory response she unceremonious applied a tourniquet to each arm. I am genetically blessed with large, abused looking veins. She determined my right to be favorable victim. After our evaluations, Eliza and I did some more waiting, feeling rather like cattle, until she was called to give up her fluids. She didn't even flinch as the 18 gauge needle went into her arm, in fact she looked downright bored the entire process. My turn came soon enough, and I have to say for someone with tattoos and self-inflicted piercing, needles inspire child-like terror in me. I was given a little pillow-like device to squeeze, in order to pop out my vein. The nurse told me to take a breath. There was a sharp sting, then nothing, and then a strange aching sensation. Even after the needle was situated I was told to keep making a fist, though my blood was doing me proud in it's eagerness to evacuate. The needle kept hurting, stiff and uncomfortable as if it were continually poking me from within my vein. My arm felt weak. A girl next to me, with a wide, eager face, was telling me it's always weird the first time. A strange whooshing went through my head.
    "Goddammit, only a little more and it's over" I thought.
The wave came again, accompanied by a pounding in my ears and blackness at the edges of my vision. There was a tightness my stomach. The nurse, making her rounds, looked at me funny.
     "I feel dizzy" I admitted.
     "Oh lord" she sighed.
Then there was the pounding again, greyness, then I was dreaming.
    The birch trees in Northern Michigan were beautiful. It was fall. I was watching myself driving the Mustang, the top was down, and the road traveled alongside a lake. "Is that Canada on the other side?" I asked my father. He looked at my across the table. "Of course, we always come here". The diner was like diners everywhere, and our booth was by a window. "Hold her tongue down!" said the waitress. Brightness interrupted my dinner.
    Faces were crowed close to mind, hands holding my arms. I struggled to go back to were I was, unsure of where I was going to. Clear moments broke through, getting longer and longer, until I realized I must have fainted. I felt bad. I didn't want to have caused a scene. I strained to remember where I had just come from, feeling like I had lost something. The moments of clarity were getting stronger. I felt feverish. There were wet paper towels on my face and neck. Someone asked if I could feel the fan. Water dripped out of my right eye.
    "Oh, honey you're crying" I heard.
    "No, no not crying" I mumbled.
    The head nurse took my arm and told me to wrap it around her waist to keep steady so she could take my blood pressure. I concentrated on the task, checking my arm from slipping and grateful that I couldn't feel the cuff pinch this time. A nurse asked my birth date and age, but unfortunately I always forget how old I am, even on the best days. The paper towels were removed as it was explained that I had been unconscious for a minute and thirty seconds and had suffered a seizure. Also, according to more than one nurse, white people were not meant for donating blood. Guilt crept into me, blanketing my nausea and disorientation. With the very small cognoscente part of my brain, I considered putting on a tough front so I could sneak off in embarrassment, but it didn't seem as though I could even raise my head. I noticed that my feet were propped up and my arm had been bandaged. Eliza was looking at me from her chair.
    "Wow, you should see yourself. You're so pale!" she exclaimed.
     "...Well, at least something good came out of this" I wheezed back,

© 2010 Raevyne

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Added on December 21, 2010
Last Updated on December 21, 2010



Baltimore, MD

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