Friday, April 7, 2006

I Fainted For This Shirt

This incident happened many years ago now when I was a freshman in college. It came to my mind the other day when I was explaining to Bethany the two reasons why I don't give blood.

On this particular day I was on campus in the Bearkat (what a name!) cafeteria. There was a blood drive being held on the second floor and I had nothing to do. I was waiting to meet and eat lunch with a friend but I had almost an hour to kill. I didn't have anything to study and my next class was in two hours. I had never given blood so I watched the long line winding up the steps with some curiosity. It was moving fairly quickly. People would go up and in a little while they came down looking a little pale but (and this was a big but) they also had this really cool red t-shirt. The logo proclaimed I TAPPA VEIN. It was very greek looking and I was quite taken by it. I am at a loss to explain this since I never had the slightest interest in joining a sorority; still I wanted that shirt. I decided I had the time since the line was moving so well and I joined in. I was off to get my t-shirt.

It didn't take anytime at all to reach the top of the steps where I was greeted by a nurse who took all my information. In due time, I found myself on a table with a strap tied tightly around my arm. This is when I discovered that I have small veins. Finally, however, the needle was in and my blood was coming out. I was given a rubber ball and told to squeeze it. At first all went well and the bag was filling nicely. After a while though it stopped filling or else it was filling very slowly. The nurse kept coming by and saying, “squeeze the ball, squeeze the ball”. I was and did keep squeezing the ball. At last it was over and I was quite relieved since I could see that I was going to be late for lunch. I was given a cookie and some juice and told to sit on the table while I ate it. I ate it very quickly and asked if I could go. The attendant asked if I felt alright. “Yes, I lied, I feel fine”. I was off the table, grabbed my backpack, and headed for the door. As I walked through the door I knew something was wrong. My stomach was queasy and I felt hot and sweaty. The line was still there except that it was longer. I looked toward the stairs and knew I would never be able to press through the crowd and make it down them without being sick. I headed for the only unoccupied chair and sat down. The next thing I knew, a nurse was slapping my face and asking if I was alright. I asked what happened. “You fainted, the nurse told me, but you were only out for a moment.” How strange. The hallway was empty and there was no more line snaking down the stairs. Only a few anxious looking donors were left lying on the tables with an army of nurses and attendants standing around. From the way they were all looking at me, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to leave.
I was late to lunch and to class that day but when anyone asked about my shirt I would tell them, “Hey, I fainted for this shirt”.