Thursday, 2 February 2012

Below the limit...

Hand in hand we went to the blood bank. Yes, this is our idea of an interesting date. Our goal was simple. We wanted to donate blood - to the bank - to the hospital - there is a story behind it. Potus' grandmother was in the hospital, sort of on her last legs. She had been given a couple of bottles of blood overnight by the ICU folks, who requested us to replenish the bank if we could, kindly. Of course we could, we said, and looked around expectantly at the waiting family...

Flashback to when dad was in the hospital for his surgery. I was at home, being cared for by an aunt, attending school, wearing my uniform, and crying at the lightest comment by anyone. So the story was narrated to me later. A friend of dad's, upon hearing of the usual plea for donating of his cells, had loudly (and rather too relievedly) proclaimed that he was diabetic, and therefore, couldn't. It didn't matter much as there were hordes of people young, healthy, and not scared of the act over there that day so it was a virtual party. And the old man told the story several times for years to come.

Back to the present day. The waiting family did the tortoise. Crawled back into their shells at the mention of the act. So potus & I went on by ourselves, not in the mood to ask anyone else. Potus is not a small person. He looks like a healthy adult human being and was welcomed into the fold of the blood bank with open arms by the very Mallu lady nurse sitting there. He glibly glided over the form with pen. I was given the once over by the lady. Another lady was called in for assistance.

My finger was pricked and inserted into a machine - presumably to get my hemoglobin count. My protests that my hemoglobin count was rocking, and that I am a runner, and I eat heart healthy foods, and such like were ignored. My inserted finger beeped and the number was 0.05 lower than their (in my opinion) arbitrary standard. I insisted that they do the test again, offering up another finger for the same. I am not queasy about this things, you see. This time the number was 0.1 higher than the standard. "So there" I said to the reluctant looking nurse.

Grudgingly she set us up for our date on adjacent beds. Wheeled over various contraptions and set the thing going to extract the red stuff from our bodies. She switched the TV channel to tamil songs (oh my absolute favourite. fuck. so. not) and took off to twiddle thumbs/read about Mohanlal vs. Mammooty or whatever. We joked around about this and that. Hey. It was the first time we were alone together in a long while, thanks to a very long hospital duty jaunt that potus had to do and the various things I had to do meanwhile at the back end to keep the wheels rolling.

We were offered a couple of biscuits, and some juice at the end of it. We compared the colours of our blood and made some comments about it. She had finally extracted less from me than him and so that was annoying for me, funny for him, couldn't care less about this shit for her. We sat down and drank the juice while a nicer lady showed up and made us a certificate. Seriously, I am pretty proud of that one. We vowed to come back often and donate. 'Only once in 3 months' admonished my one true believer.

The family, admittedly, were in shock and pain and grief about grandmom. But still they came up with the funniest. Mostly, they were asking me these weird questions. 'Did it hurt?' "Don't you need to lie down?" "Do you feel your head spinning?" "Shouldn't you eat something right away?" I was like dude, whatever, lady dying 5 meters away alert. Lets worry about me later. I'll be fine - I'll eat some, get some sleep, and yeah, it will be okay tomorrow. I am 37 and an athlete. And I am going to come back and donate in 3 months...

I haven't done that, should go do that again. Should put that on my list. Maybe not once every three months, but once a year. My parameters are good but perhaps not fantastic and also I run too much sometimes, and things like that, so once a year sounds fine. I don't know why there is so much fear about things like organ & blood donation, even in this day and age [I might joke about it but of course its just as important to keep oneself safe while at it and if your hemoglobin count is really low you would do well to avoid taking the risk].

PS: And it reminded me of that one awful time in college when I was almost rejected from this Engineering job that was my one hope in case grad school didn't materialise, because I was underweight. Damn. I have worked hard on losing that tag. 

5 comments:

madrasi said...

No you haven't . bet you are still underweight.

kbpm said...

No! I am not underweight. I am at the super ideal awesome correct exact on the dot weight for my height now. Erm. Bad Girl Madrasi for casting aspersions. Now that we have established I am taller, we have to establish I am heavier than you as well. You come here next time & we will go to Cream Center and do this (post lunch)

Ludwig said...

I got a card generated and printed on these guys' website. Laminated and carry it around nowadays. With a Post-It note saying whatever happens, don't take liver (sick) or brain (dirty).

kbpm said...

ludwig- thanks. done. lamination pending. since i have all healthy (if small) organs. Your brain would be good as study material, clearly.

dipali said...

Folks have very very weird ideas about blood donation. I'm officially too old now, plus on meds, but it was good donating while I could.