Days have ceased to drag, and I am scared. It was Monday five minutes ago and I have no idea what happened. The faster time flies the less I have time to finish, the more stressed I become, and the faster the minutes pass. It will never end.
I found a free hour and a half a few days ago. It must have been a Tuesday although it seems like it was this morning, no less. After working for five hours, which I did after going to class for three, I met up with Aaron and went to East Quad to give blood. Being the nerd that I am, I made an appointment ahead of time, and was thus given permission to cut in front of the dozen or so people waiting in line already. I still had to wait for half an hour, but that’s not so bad. In that time Aaron and I looked at handy paper placemats displaying little know facts about the rarity of blood types and donor potentials. It turns out I can give blood to 84% of the population, which is pretty good. I am O+, by far a member of the majority. Most caucasians fit into this blood type. Surprisingly enough, Aaron has the rarest blood type of them all, AB-. But he is the universal plasma donor. I am not sure how that works.
So then it was time to talk to an RN behind a black screen (in a pathetic attempt at privacy). They use laptops to take donor info now, very smooth. She typed in my SS# and other vital info while sticking a disposable thermometer under my tongue and wrapping my arm with the cuff of a sphygmomanometer. She tried to take my blood pressure, and then called another nurse over to give it a go. They came to the conclusion that I was indeed coming up at a steady 78/56, which they deemed unacceptable. I was prescribed three laps around the building, which would have taken a good half hour to accomplish, but I settled for a jog up and down the crowded hallway past kids in pajama bottoms and slippers. No one really noticed.
I got back to the nurse and the black screen a few minutes later, but she had taken on another patient in anticipation of my long absence. So I waited and waited, feeling my heart settle back into its pathetic, lethargic beat. So I hopped up and took another run, this time sprinting past the sign in desk and running all the way to the elevators and back. The nurse was free, thankfully, and took my BP again as my heart pounded. I clocked in at a whopping 100/70, which still worried her but made me happy. At least I kind of resembled a living person.
I was passed on to a new line, papers in hand, and waited for a bed to free up. Aaron was waiting there too. We were sitting next to one cot where a curly-haired blond girl, no more than 5'6" and painfully thin, was being watched over by a strikingly beautiful nurse and a doctor wearing scrubs. The blond girl was babbling about never being able to give a full pint, how she always fainted and was sent home. I rolled my eyes and bit my tongue to keep from saying that that was why one must weigh at least 110 pounds to donate. Why was she wasting everyone’s time?
I got a bed by an open window, and was frozen by the time a rotund, short-haired brunette nurse came over to take care of me. She told me to roll up both sleeves, which I was reluctant to do due to the drafty location, but I knew it was necessary. So I complied and displayed my two incredibly veined inner elbows to her shocked eyes, which quickly became happily ecstatic at her good fortune. She begged me to let the nurses gather round and observe my humongous veins; they all poked and prodded them, made such statements as "you could drive a truck through that left one," and then reluctantly wandered back to their not-so-impressively endowed patients. My nurse chuckled in delight as she opened the sterile package containing the needle.
I looked away as she set about inserting the thing into my arm, and was dismayed to feel a sharp jab of pain instead of a tiny, dismissible discomfort that should have lasted a millisecond. It was excruciating, sort of, but I have a way of ignoring pain that would shame most people. So I didn’t say anything. I figured it would work just the same, pain or not.
Thirteen minutes later, the beautiful nurse I had seen earlier came over to check on me, since my friendly round lady had gone to dinner. She looked quizzically at my ¾ full bag, then lifted the bandages to check the needle. She gasped and immediately fiddled around with it, and the pain disappeared as quickly as it came. She patted my head and said "Didn’t that hurt??" in an very concerned voice. I nodded, shrugged, and asked what was wrong. In her enthusiasm, the rotund nurse had managed to plunge the needle through a valve inside my vein (you know, those things that are responsible for making sure the blood only flows one way) and then into the vein wall. That’s why, thirteen minutes later, the bag was not full, and the reason I was silently hurting. Good to know.
After the adjustment, I was done in a minute or two. A different nurse fixed my arm up and sent me over to the cookie and juice table. Aaron was already there, surrounded by the volunteer students who were helping with the blood drive – all of them were girls of course, and all were hanging on his every word as he told some dramatic tale that made them giggle and drool. I glared at everyone, grabbed sixteen oatmeal raisin cookies, and deliberately sat next to Aaron. And glared at him too.
He drank a few more containers of OJ, and together we polished off an entire plastic container of cookies. Bedecked with stickers, we left.
It was dark and cold, but I had my trusty scarf, hat, and mitten combo. We walked back to my apartment, dropped off my bike, and then walked the mile or so to his car. My entire left arm was feeling incredibly heavy, and it was impossible to bend it, but I was hungry, so we went to TGI Friday for a late dinner. I had the crispy orange chicken and a house salad with bread; he had chicken bruschetta and a Caesar salad with Italian dressing. It was nice.
And now it is somehow going on Friday morning, and I have a million things to do.