Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Backwards Vampire

This morning we were at the Purim carnival at Jarrah's school with Mary and Joy when David suddenly asked "Should I give blood?"

Well, as Meg Ryan says to Tom Hanks in the second segment of Joe vs The Volcano, I had no response to that. For a second, I was genuinely confused. Then I realized we were standing in front of a big trailer with the words "MOBILE BLOOD DRIVE" on the side. So, part of the mystery was solved. Yet I was still puzzled. Why would he do such a thing during a carnival? We were in the middle of throwing darts at balloons and he suddenly thought, "You know what would be good right now? If someone opened one of my veins and sucked out a pint of my human essence. Yeah, that would hit the spot."

I have never given much thought to giving blood as a reality. Perhaps because it's not part of my reality. You see, I lived in England in 1987, and that period of time now makes me at risk to convey mad cow disease. I certainly hope I don't have mad cow disease. I mean, I feel fine. Also, I think I mostly ate beans on toast that year, since the refectory food was vile. Nevertheless, my blood is no longer wanted. My blood is damaged goods.

My next thought was, "Can you do that? I mean, you're not a citizen." David gave me one of his "What are you on about, you silly thing?" looks. But I was just wondering. Maybe they think Australia is a third-world country of some type. Who knows? But I gave him my blessing anyway, not really thinking it through.

He was off like a shot, and I'm embarrassed to say that for a little while I forgot all about him. He tends to be the strong, silent type in a crowd, and not hearing from him for half-hour stretches is not unusual. We were throwing balls at some wooden queen heads when I suddenly yelped, "Where's David?"

"Probably still giving blood," Mary grimaced. "It takes a while."

Good heavens, what had I been thinking? David is a sensitive man, a man who needs his own show on Animal Planet because he identifies with all living creatures, even sympathizing with a pickle-sized cockroach who emerged from my shampoo bottles last summer and made me scream arias for 10 minutes. ("He was just looking for water," David explained. "When it gets hot like this, they have no choice but to come inside.") Made me feel like a total heel for smashing him with a shoe while screaming "DIE! DIE! DIE!" in front of my three-year-old. Sheesh. If he wanted water, why didn't he just hold out a tiny mug?

But back to David. He's a gentle soul who wouldn't hurt a fly, and I was suddenly convinced that I'd made a terrible mistake letting him go inside that trailer, where I couldn't monitor what they were doing to him. "It's his first time?" Mary asked. "He might be feeling pretty weak after."

Oh, no. He's a frail and delicate flower as it is! I couldn't have them weakening him further. What if his blood was like Samson's hair, and he could no longer smash pillars with his bare hands afterwards? I ran up to the door, and a smiling blonde woman greeted me. "Is my husband in there? Is he okay?"

She kept smiling. I guess her job requires a lot of smiling, or more people might suddenly think better of offering their arm for piercing with a large needle. "He's in there. Doing his interview. It's going to be a while."

"What should I do?" I wailed. "Should I bring him food?"

"We'll give him cookies and juice afterward, but he could probably use a good meal right after. He's...he seems....he's..." She gazed into the middle distance with a dreamy look on her face, and I knew it. I just knew I should have been paying more attention.

"He's tender-hearted!" I screamed. "He's a bit delicate!"

Her smile became even more dreamy. She murmured: "Yes. I can tell."

AAAGGGGGHHH! I was so worried now I almost couldn't eat my hot dog smothered in ketchup, mustard, relish, onions and saurkraut. But I soldiered through. With all the commotion trying to get the girls to eat, I was actually a bit surprised when my cell phone rang.

"Hello?" I shouted. "Where are you? Can you walk? Should I come get you? Have you eaten?"

He laughed over the din of the crowd outside. "I'm fine. I had some juice. I'm walking to find you right now."

"Walking! Should you be walking? Should you be STANDING?"

He appeared smiling just a minute later, looking remarkably like himself. I stood up. "Sit down!" I shrieked. "I'll go get you some food."

"Um, I like this kind of treatment," he said. But I wasn't really listening since I was sprinting to the concession stand, where I pantingly ordered a hot dog and pepsi for my depleted love.

When I got back, he had been plied with cast-off cookies from the rest of our lunches, and was conversing just as if he hadn't been drained of vital fluids in a parking lot on a sunny day. He waved cheerfully to a gentleman at the next table, saying "He was in the bed next to me."

Oy, they were in beds? The horror, the horror. What could he have been thinking? I asked him. "I was thinking that last year that truck seemed all lonely with no one going inside, and how this year I was going inside myself. And I'd do it again! It was fine."

The man is a freakin' hero, if you ask me. But it never ceases to amaze me.


Myrnie said... are so funny :o) I like it!

I used to give blood in high school every 6 or 8 weeks, whatever the minimum was. Then I got a bit older, and became chronically anemic or something. My blood pressure dropped too. When I couldn't give blood anymore, I'd do platelets, where they stick one needle in your arm, suck stuff out and send it through a centrifuge to take out platelets, then pipe the rest of it back into your other arm. But the blood pressure thing...I was a LOT lower than the machine. Last time I tried, my arm swelled up like a softball, trying to get all that fluid back in.

It's a great thing to do though, even though my mom still thinks I'm crazy :) Good for your husband!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

"a pickle-sized cockroach who emerged from my shampoo bottles last summer and made me scream arias for 10 minutes"

See? You say things like this and I just love you all the more.

If your toenail ever gets funky, I'll take you to my hot toe doctor. I really want to see your take on that appointment. Not that I wish a funky toenail on you, but IF you got one.

I can tell that David is a good man. He's a lucky one too.


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, you had me at pickle-sized cockroach too!

David is a hero on many counts indeed, the least of which is not his wife referrring to him as a frail and delicate flower! I suppose it is a small price to pay for being treated like the amazing hero his is.

Glad you had fun.


Gina K said...

I, too, have had my blood excluded. At first, I was too small, then I, too, was in England during the "mad" years, as well as two separate malarial locations (which used to be a no-no, I'm not sure now -- I've given up). But Tee is a giver, and it freaks me out for her; she has low blood sugar -- what if she passes out and I'm not there with the peanut butter?!?

Paul and Heather said...

David is a hero! I always feel bad that I can't give blood either. A combination of flat and narrow viens, with deathly low blood pressure...and when they HAVE to take blood for my own health...they have to try at least 10 times with a needle for infants before they get some. Usually there is passing out and puking on my we can't do it voluntarily. I wish I could.

Marlene said...

It's lovely to see how much you love David. What a lovely life. Blood and all.

Caroline said...

I'm with Marlene. This is my favorite love story of recent memory. :) This one post puts my writing efforts to shame.

Love the cockroach, the dreamy blood bank employee, the delicate flower, the phone call. All of it.

Aunt LoLo said...

Would you believe Myrnie used to drag me with her to donate blood?? (we also hosted our 16th b'day party on a soup wagon. she's just that kind of girl. Love her!

Here's to David, the hero!!

The Wades said...

I read this post the other day and thought it was a lovely nod to your husband's bravery. I bet he was so proud how you doted on him. :)

You lived in England? So worldly, my friend Sam.