Thursday, January 14, 2010

Donated blood for the first time

I donated blood for the first time on 13th January 2010.

Since it was my first time, I was apprehensive and didn’t know what to expect. I wondered how I will feel about physically sharing a small part of my body, a blessing that God has bestowed me with. Because I have the right to share it or refuse it, I can consider it to be a mine and parting with it can be termed donation but I wondered if I would feel happy, should I feel happy or do I have any right to feel happy.
Anyways, I was still contemplating how and what I should and would feel about it when it was my turn to go, the first donor of the day. The initial paperwork was long but the conversations provided interesting interlude and the time went by slower than what the clock were pointing to.
I sat on the table, spelled my name, turned by face away for the initial prick and then rolled the red squishy ball within my fingers; things progressed normally, and so did the conversations. I found out that the guy who was helping me with the donation process has been to port of Bombay as a part of Navy assignment. It took 9 minutes and 30 second to fill the one pint bag about 8-10% of my total blood, sounds a lot when you do the math. So, the chord disconnected and test tubes for samples filled and I blurted out without even thinking, that nausea feeling that I am feeling, is it normal? They removed the support from the back and lay me down on the table, asked me to breathe to counts, first normally and then in a paper bag and I thought, guys that’s too much fuss, I am fine. They gave me juice and talked how I am doing while my mind was on getting off the table so that I don’t keep the next person in line waiting longer than what I already have. So, I told the guy, I am fine and would like to get off the table. He said okay and came and stood beside me, and I looked at him thinking don’t fuss over me, I am not a baby. I turned my body and flexed my foot so that it goes directly in my shoes and that the last of it that I remember…
The next thing I recall is lying on the table with something ice-cold on my head and something warm and soft on my tummy, I heard some voices and wanted to tell them I am fine but the lips didn’t move and the cheeks felt very hollow. I opened my eyes and the faces seemed so far away, I closed them right back. And as the senses came back, I realized I was lying on the floor with my belly exposed and Jeanne’s sweater covering it with all the warmth. I had no idea what happened and I was not fine and so even when the control over my lips and cheeks returned I kept quiet and followed orders.
I snapped in and out of dizziness a couple of times and while I had control over my senses I said I am fine, thank you and sorry a bunch of times. I also managed to scoot out of the way, first so that the next person has enough room to access the table and then again so that the door is cleared for the people entering the room. Slowly, things came to normal. People who met me for the first time that morning knew when the twinkle in my eye, as they termed it, returned and when the smile on my face looked my own. Nobody spoke of the return of the color on my cheeks, as I found out an hour later looking in the bathroom mirror was still very pale, I had not seen a more yellower shade of me before.
I didn’t feel embarrassed as a lot of people who witnessed it or later broached the subject to enquire my well-being were guessing. It was an accident, I didn’t have as much control over my body as I thought I do and it was all very sudden. I know, I fell, a stranger supported me and lay me down, my sweater rode up higher than normal, I threw up my hands in the air when losing control and forgot to thank the person who lend me her sweater until the next day but I still don’t feel like it was my fault and I should feel embarrassed. What I really feel is a sense of gratitude, for the presence of all those who were there and didn’t let me lose it. I feel thankful for the force or energy or power that moves me, cause I surely don’t. I don’t know what stopped functioning and what revived inside my body but somebody else did, some power that held me together and revived whatever it was that was lost. And gave me back the sense of control that I truly don’t possess. And it answered my question about what will I feel when I give blood, well its just gratitude that the blood that I seemingly gave away flew through this body that I call my own; in the true sense of the world it’s not mine, I just happened to be the part of the process…
Later as I was reminiscing over my day I wondered if this is how death would seem like, that loss of energy in the fraction of a second or is it the sixth or seventh phase of meditation that Dalai Lama talks about when all the senses are blocked from your conscious. I don’t know but I trust that I will know when the need arises…

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