Um, is that needle supposed to go there?

I rocked in my red metal folding chair as the young nurse absentmindedly asked me seemingly obvious questions that I really wasn’t paying attention to: “Did I serve in the army between the years of 1980 and 1996?  Was I an African American willing to join the Sickle Cell Society?”  

For someone who was about to have a larger than average needle jabbed through my arm, I was fairly calm.  But I had no idea that I was about to spend the next hour and forty-five minutes on one of the craziest, funniest, and bloodiest experiences of my life.

Mike and I were waiting for our turn, when one of the nurses (at least I think she was a nurse – I guess she could have been any average person off the street and I never would have known) called us both over, and said she said she would help us at the same time.  

As the supposed nurse prepped Mike to lose approximately one pint of blood, I wriggled in my cushiony chair – well, it’s not really a chair, its a cross between pool-recliner and the thing you sit in at the dentist’s office.  Either way, they aren’t as comfortable as they appeared.   Then she came over to me with what looked like 100 feet of rubber tubing (it reminded me of those three foot long licorice super-ropes, you know?).  Then she rubbed my elbow down with the chilly yellow-goo, but before she could stick me, Mike had finished filling his whole bag in 4 minutes 32 seconds.  I had to continue waiting, and then go through the entire prep process again.  
Finally it was my turn.  I really wasn’t that nervous, I mean, it was just like a shot with a really, really, big needle.  When I started to get concerned was when a purple bubble started to arise around the area the needle had been put in.  Maybe this was normal, after, all, this was only my first time, what do I know?  I wouldn’t get worried until the nurse started asking for help.

“Um, can I get some help over here?” No, this wasn’t an ironic fabrication of my imagination, it was actually the nurse. 

Oh great.  Apparently my arm started to hemoarapghaglablaas or something, which, they explained, meant my arm had started to bruise, and that meant I wouldn’t be able to fill a whole bag.  They decided to try my other arm.

This time they found a perfect vain.  I glanced around the room to see what was going on, and lucky me, I turned around just in time to see the needle go in, and the blood come out: spraying dark liquid across the bottom of my shirt.  She said not to worry, I couldn’t help but start laughing; somehow this seemed like the perfect cap to a bad experience.

Griffin Muckley, staff writer