Letters to Holly

Monday, December 13

Double Drained

I'm on the call/mail list for the local charity group that organizes blood drives, and I made an appointment for this weekend. Almost as soon as I sat down with my waiting number, I was asked what my blood type was, and a shining light appeared in the eyes of the organizer when I told him O positive. Would you consider a double donation, he asked. I've done it before, and I know it takes much longer than the usual pint. I said it depended on the time involved and was assured it would be maybe an hour. Twenty seconds later, that was an hour and fifteen minutes. I called Your Sister to see if she could spare me for two hours, and she groggily said yes. OK, I told them, hook me up.

Unlike with previous donations, I had two "yes" answers on the pre-pint checklist. I always tell them I had a heart murmur in middle school, but I had to tell them this time that, yes, I had come in contact with someone else's blood because my wife gave birth. They blew those off, and I suspect I could tell them that not only have I, say, had sex with someone who lived in Africa, I could have dug a hole in Somalia and actually had sex with the continent of Africa, and they wouldn't care. These drives have quotas, and they eye my big-veined supply of warm blood as a walking snickerdoodle.

But the apheresis machine was wonky, and they announced I'd have to wait. I wasn't keen on that, and I said so. Also, if I'm going to be hooked up to that contraption, I'd like to know what's wrong with it. Nothing major, they said. It was a problem with the displays. It had to reboot. The drive organizer backed me up here and told them I couldn't linger. I had a limited window to bleed, and I had to get to steppin.' Within 15 minutes, the machine was back up, and I was in the chair and draining. They gave me the aluminum blanket to stay warm (trivia: this is the same type of foil used to insulate the Apollo lunar module) and Tums for my tingling lips, a symptom of calcium deprivation.

I noted that the floor trembled when someone walked by, and the nurse instead suggested I was shivering. I doubt that. Still, the saline replacement for the plasma was chilled and obvious as it hit my arm. Once they had their fill, and I ate their cookies and juice before getting Starbucks for Your Sister and me.

Rumors moved through town that the Sunday snowfall was gonna come early. We zoomed to the grocery store, and there was everybody. The rumors panned out, and we got almost five inches before Sunday. Your Sister felt some cabin fever (and probably some misanthropy) and volunteered to clear the driveway. I hovered over junior. Within a half-hour, she had caught the eye of a passing freelance snowplow, and he happily scrapped our driveway clear. That left Your Sister with less to do, and she helped the neighbors shovel their pavement. They told her they were tired of clearing their steep drive, and they were selling the house. It's a nice place, but that driveway does look like a beast to shovel.

We gave the boy his first sweet potato, and he seemed to like it. I mean, he puts everything in his mouth, so I can't see him getting indignant over foodstuffs. He returned from Your Parents' Friday, and Your Mom seemed more cheerful than she's been maybe since they came back from the last trip. Maybe Your Dad talked to her.

My Mom is feeling Dad's absence again, and I wonder if she's becoming inured to the anti-depressant. It's also the holidays and she's no longer working. I want her to get out of the house, and we suggested she hang out with Your Sister and the boy every once in a while. She's keen on coming up for a holiday meal and visit with whomever can make it.

We're asking a high-school friend of mine to do our first portraits as a trio. She lives fairly close by, and we'll feed her in addition to paying her photography rate.

I'm working from home today and will spend some downtime proofing the comic script so Your Sister can read it. I think she'll dig it.

Oh, I bought a set of markers and took another pass at the holiday cards I'm sending out. Even with the snow, they should be received before Christmas.

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