My son, Eric, just turned 16 and was given a truck by my mother on his birthday. He was so excited to turn 16 not so that he could drive or get a job but he wanted to give blood. What a weird wonderful kid he is. I could not give blood in highschool because I did some traveling outside the US and was always seen as a risk. After being questioned and rejected I would wait around, watch my friend Jason White give blood and borrow some bandages.

It is amazing what I could get away with when I had a bandage on my arm. “Mr. Graham shouldn’t you be in class?”, Mr. Palmer would say. I would point to my arm wrapped in a bright blue bandage and shrug and that was enough to throw them off my scent.

As an adult I have given blood quite a few times but it never ends well for me. I’m not a small guy and certainly have enough to give but for whatever reason I wind up depleting the blood bus of their supply of cold packs as the staff tries to keep me out of shock. Everything starts off well but then I break out in a sweat and then there is a bright light. When I come to I am covered in little white bags.

I am not disturbed at the sight of blood at all, I have seen more dead bodies than your average bear and to be honest I don’t really have an aversion to needles. No more than the next guy anyway.

I once had a minor procedure; it was a surgery but they did not knock me out. I showed up at the doctor’s office and the staff seemed surprised that I showed up for my appointment. They took me to a backroom where they turned the lights on and began removing boxes and blankets from the “operating table” in much the way you do in your passenger seat for a friend that you are unexpectedly giving a ride in your car.

I began trying to rationalize the situation in my head. “This is fine, this is completely normal,” I said to myself. “This looks like a storage room.”

The nurse made several attempts, in each arm, to start an IV. Never before or since has a nurse struggled to find a vein in my arm. I felt as though I were being practiced on. “Oh well”, I thought, “everyone has to start somewhere”. The decision was finally made to stick me in the top of my hand where, apparently, I have bulgy veins.

As I stated before they did not knock me out, however I was given enough drugs that I did not care that they were making incisions in me. So as I laid on a dirty table in the backroom of a small clinic being operated on I began carrying on a conversation with the doctor. I am not sure what we spoke about exactly but what I do remember is at one point losing my train of thought due to a terrible smell in the room. That smell, as it turned out, was some part of me being burned closed.

After the procedure I was immediately ushered out of side door, my guess is that it was an attempt to cut down on the number of witnesses, and was driven home by my wife. Everything worked out fine despite the Civil War Era Emergency Room feel of the situation. Though I could have used a stick to bite down on.