Sorry folks, no beer today.
Instead of putting fluids into my body, I’ve signed up to have them taken out.
I’m donating bone marrow on May 11th to treat my father’s leukemia. This means the Johns Hopkins Hospital Phlebotomy staff get to have their way with me, whenever they want. I’ve never really loved needles, but I’ve also never feared them. I can’t really be mad at the needles though, they’re just trying to do their job.
They’ve taken a lot of blood from my 5’7, 150lb frame. Twenty-two vials two months ago, sixteen vials yesterday, a pint and little bit today. If not for that “Hospital” word being on every sign on every wall, I’d think this place was run by not-so-subtle vampires.
The hospital staff seems astonished at how healthy I am. I find this a bit surprising, as I’m pretty inconsistent with taking care of my body. I hope they don’t notice the extreme level of hops and barley that I assume have permeated my blood. Or the overabundance of caffeine that, given my coffee intake, has probably mutated my red cells into hazelnut hybrids.
But what’s a little blood and marrow for my Dad? For all he’s defended me from, all he’s taught me, all he’s paid for, the least I can do is give him a few bags of my vital fluids. I just think back to all those times he helped me up off the soccer field when I was legitimately hurt, and all those times he told me to walk it off when I was being a wuss. All those times he taught me which bolts to loosen in what order, to prevent an exhaust manifold from falling onto my head. And all those times he showed me what respect, confidence, humility, and bravery were all about, through his careful words and actions.
He taught me how to be tough, how to be awesome, and most importantly how to overcome any obstacle in life, no matter how massive or threatening. It seems fitting that I’m using all of those skills he passed along to get through this donation process.
But don’t misunderstand. The donation may be stressful and painful, but I’m excited to do it. Giving him my marrow (that really isn’t doing anything else right now) is a tiny gift, compared to the gifts he has given me.
Oliver 1 : Dad 4,322,012.
Against hospital rules, I took some pictures. Oops:
I have no idea what each of these are for. I asked, but my needle-bearer could only tell me what additives were inside. The tests being done on them remain a total mystery.
These pictures suck because I was being all clandestine, trying to snap them with my phone when people weren’t looking. This needle is piffling compared to the 16 gauge sucker I had rammed into my veins this morning.
That’s a lot of blood. I feel a bit woozy. I’m going to go lay down for a while.