Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It Comes to Us All. It's As Soft As Your Pillow

By the time most of you read this, it will be hump day. So, I thought this pic would be appropriate.

Hey, kids. I thought I'd do a little writing exercise tonight. This time I'm writing about giving plasma. Sounds neat-o, huh? I'm sure you know the drill by now. I just wrote this, so I know it needs a lot of work and feel free to point out anything that looks all janky to you:

You are now a commodity. You are questioned, measured, poked, and tested to make sure you will be good enough. Once you pass inspection, you are led to a room full of others like you lying in beds, hooked up to bags, which are in turn, hooked up to machines. You are instructed of everything you can and can't and some things you must do. You can bring a laptop (they offer free wifi), you can listen to an iPod and text or anything else you can handle one-handed. You can't eat or drink, but you must continually pump your hand while the product is being taken out of you. You also must stop pumping your hand once the product is skimmed of its plasma and whatever's left gets pumped back into you.

Even before you realize the girl next to you is droning on and on to someone on the other end of her cell phone, you hear one horrible song from whatever music stream they have going and quickly plug yourself into your iPod and open up your book. Some guy in a lab coat is preparing to start the IV. You say, "I have great veins, but they're really rolly, so you have to hold them down," to help you both out, and then you quickly look the other way. You don't like to watch the needle go in.

The iPod isn't completely drowning out the droning girl next to you, so you turn your ear to rest on the pillow to see if that helps. Doing this causes you to hear the sound of your own pulse. It's louder than you're used to. It keeps time to your music and counts down the seconds. Thump, thump. You pump your hand to it and almost forget to stop when the cycle is over. Your arm starts to feel sore and stiff and you wonder if that's how it's supposed to feel. You figure that the blood wouldn't pump right if there was something wrong, so you don't say anything. There is a shift change with those wearing the lab coats before you are done.

The new girl says they have all they need from you and starts to replace your fluids. You have done this once before, so you are prepared for the sensation. The saline solution they replenish you with is colder than your body temperature, and you cool down from the inside. A blanket or coat can't help warm you up and you start to shiver violently. Your arm is still sore and now you realize that it is much larger than it should be. You mention it to the girl who seems perplexed that they were able to still get the fluid they needed, since it appears that the needle pierced all the way through. It means that some of what your heart pumped out was wasted and seeped out into your body leaving you bruised and sore and swollen.

The new girl tapes an icepack hard to the inside of your arm and you think how strange it was to be totally unaware of what was going on inside your own body. It reminded you of when your daughter was younger and got so sick. You sat in your living room with her head in your lap gently dabbing her face with a cool cloth. You knew she wasn't well but you had no idea the battle that was going on inside her between her antibodies and the bacteria that had invaded her. You carelessly watched a movie while the bacteria launched a surprise attack and fought their way into her spinal chord fluid.

You leave the plasma center favoring your unbending left arm wondering what kind of internal wars everyone else around you might be waging.


MrManuel said...

Excellent account on what is usually a pretty mundane task. Great writing!

rel said...

Your attention to detail is fantastic. I read it with compelling interest and tepidation at the same time.

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

That is really well written.. the detailing of everything going on.. Hope your arm feel better..

Tara said...

I have to say, that sign you posted made me laugh. It might just keep me giggling all day, so thank you!

NoRegrets said...

happy hump day!!

SkylersDad said...

Nice writing, you are talented!

booda baby said...

Wonderful! What a nice wrap it up!

Ananda girl said...

I have never given blood and have always wondered what it was like. Now I know.

I love that photo! Made me think of a bunch of hopeful people standing a thousand yards up the street! Ha!

Great writing Churlita.

thisnewplace said...

it must feel good!!

thisnewplace said...

it must feel good!!

Churlita said...

MrManuel, Thanks. It normally is mundane, unless there's a screw-up. I'd much rather it were mundane.


Thank you. That is something I have to really work on. I'm not always so good with the attention to detail thing.

Mrs, It's still pretty bruised a month later. I'm going to have my Dr take a look at it at my annual in March.


Good. It's served its purpose then.

Nor, Happy hump day to you too.

Skyler's, Thanks. One of these days, I'm going to have more than 20 minutes to write and then maybe it will be a little better.

Booda, Thank you so much.

Ananda, Giving blood is way less of a pain than to give plasma. It should be a lot easier if you ever decide to just give blood.

This, My arm? Yeah, it feels awesome. Ha ha.

jeci said...

So good. I love your writing exercises.

laura b. said...

I like the idea...or believe in the idea...that there is a struggle going on inside of most people. It is unknown, sometimes even to the person, but it is there.

Loved it, Churlita.