1/6/14

That Time I Passed Out and Hit a Woman . . .

As some of you know, my friend Jennifer Keller once famously harassed me in to giving my life essence to strangers. I can't blame her - it was her JOB (as the then marketing person for the local Red Cross blood bank) to do so.

That Jennifer got me to give blood is a true testament to her professional skillz (with a z) since I am afraid of only six things in this world:

1) Being naked
2) Snakes
3) Needles
4) Blood
5) People seeing me naked
6) The Jimmy Johns that delivers to my apartment closing

She had two obstacles to overcome (and I was (secretly) sure there were snakes at the blood bank anyway) and she did it. This was years ago, though. I'm proud (?) to say that I've since become a regular blood donor (I shoot for every sixty days) and I've never, ever, ever had a problem giving.

Until New Year's Day.

I made an appointment. I got a good night's sleep. I ate a good breakfast, I went to a 5K run (only spectated, didn't run) and then went to give my my A Positive sweetness. I did the screener (I really wish, by the way, that after the 15th time I tell them I did not spend five years or more in Europe between 1980 and 1994 they would just let it go), I chatted up the charming, elderly volunteers, and I even made sure they had Cheez-Its waiting for me on the other side of the chore.

I got on my table, declined to keep my vein-marker and explained to a lovely phlebotomist that I had an aversion to needles and blood so if she could just not produce any snakes, keep everything she had going on under a towel, and not tell me anything I didn't need to know we'd be in and out and on our collective ways. She agreed. I know she did.

From there things get a little speedy. I was playing on my smartphone (I forgot to take a book) and she was yammering about her style of inserting the needle through the skin, doing something operational, and then puncturing the vein and I was pretending to be far, far away. I felt the prick and sting, I acknowledged this had happened (she insisted I confirm she had broken my skin) and I went back to Flow Free (I'm kinda a big deal with that app). A few seconds later I felt TERRIFIC (and by that I mean I knew I was about to lose consciousness - a sensation I'm only vaguely embarrassed to admit enjoying). I set my phone on my lap and just let go . . .

What happened next was where our story actually picks up (with my apologies). I was sitting in a living room on a plaid couch. I was watching television - specifically daytime television . . . one of those court/judge shows. I heard a voice from my left saying "Oh, dear husband." and I looked over to see a woman, Madeline McCullough, whom  I only vaguely know (I've met and chatted with her only a few times in person and while I find her bright, charming, and lovely I have never before thought her as the next-former-Mrs.-Sean-Amore (because that is how all my marriages will end)) sitting next to me. (Editor's Note: What is etiquette on naming women who were your wives in unconscious dreams by name on your blog? Get back to me on that, would you?)

But that is not the weirdest part. The next thing I know I am snapping back to a fluorescent lit, spinning reality . . . I'm looking at a woman who is all-up-in-my-grill and she seems very agitated with me while a gentleman is running toward me yelling and waving his arms as if to intervene on behalf of this sweet, small woman. It seems, dear readers, I was awoken by her kindness and I rewarded her with an open hand of whoop ass to the face - making her lose balance and everything.

Yes. 37 years, 6 months, and 20 days (you now have all you need to figure out my actual date of birth, those who have always been curious - don't be lazy) of being able to look you in the eye and proudly tell you that I have never struck another person in my life were gone and now I will have to put an asterisk on it and say "except that one WOMAN who was doing her job, collecting my blood, and trying to revive the passed-out, re-married version of me."

The next thirty minutes were absurd. They dropped my chaise down in to a make-shift bed. They put cold, wet paper towels on my forehead and neck to "calm" me (I promptly told them it was "F*cking annoying to be wet.") and my abuse victim kept asking me if I knew where I was (I swear I did but the words and my tongue would not combine and do anything). I had people asking me if I wanted orange or apple juice (as though it matters in any way) and I had this horrible, horrible feeling I could not push down . . . did I finish giving my blood? Did they have enough? Was all this even worth it? I kept shouting like some woman in a bad movie that may or may not have given birth and can't get real answers on her baby.

The bad news (for my ego)? Nope. 80% full bag and destined only for their lab accordingly.

I apologized profusely to everyone (including the other people giving blood and other blood components (everyone was staring at the fat, angry, vulgar man)) and I started to cry. Yes. I cried. And could. not. stop. They eventually got me calmed down. I drank three cans of fruit (apple, for the record) juice. I then ate three bags of Cheez-Its (I don't give a damn what happens in this world . . . I'm getting those Cheez-Its) and a thing of plump, juicy raisins. 30 minutes later I made my way out to the parking lot with a bandage inside my elbow and guilt in my heart.

I made my next appointment for March. I'll eat and drink more before I go in and will make sure that I tell the person who will risk their physical safety to draw my red goodness to double down on their "don't tell, don't show" policies and just hope for the best. Maybe that is how I'm approaching ALL of 2014 . . . that would not be the worst thing in the world.

Give blood, y'uns. People need it WAY more than you do.