Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One For the Road

I'll be heading out tomorrow to enjoy the fourth of July break in beautiful Boise. I'm going with friends, and we won't be coming back until Sunday night. I'm taking this opportunity to post a few thoughts before I take off.

In physics lab today, we were testing a piece of equipment we made for an experiment. It's a rotating table that we'll be using to test centripetal acceleration (boring, I know). Well, we spin the table from below by hooking it up to a drill. The drill is plugged into a transformer so that it's speed can be controlled by rotating a knob. One of the group members requested that we turn up the speed, and the guy controlling the knob started to crank it up.

Here's the moment of brilliance: Without even a thinking, a Princess Bride quote flowed through my brain and rolled out of my mouth in elegant diction, "NOT TO FIFTY!!!"

My group erupted in a hushed laughter (trying to maintain the reverence appropriate to a lab room). They got it. It was a perfectly-timed quote. I love it when that happens.

I went and donated plasma with Bryce today. We really cashed in; I finally got the referral money for referring Bryce. I promised to split it with him, so that added ten extra bucks to both of our total ...um, ...winnings? It's better pay-out than the slot machines -that's for sure.

I'm getting used to the whole process, but I still get a bit tense for the needle insertion. I just crank the song "The Rockafeller Skank" by Fatboy Slim (the funk soul-brutha), chew my gum and grip down on the segment of PVC pipe they give you to squeeze on. After the insertion, the rest is pretty pleasant.

Prior to donating, they prick your finger and take some blood for tests. This doesn't bother me at all any more, but my nerves react to it. I hold out the finger to be sacrificed, and the one next to it shakes. It just does. They tell me every time, "You're shaking."

Oh really? Thanks for pointing that out. What do I say, "You're not." See, I can be observant too. Have they dealt with so many fainters that they want to make sure I'm not going to face-plant on the tile right in front of them? I don't know.
I think next time I'll tell them, "Yeah -my fingers have been through this before. They know you're about to jab them and make them bleed. They're a little afraid. Wouldn't you be?"

There's always a story to tell after a visit to that place. Once they've tested your blood, they'll call you into a tiny interview room and ask you the screening questions about your involvement in any high-risk situations, etc. The workers just fly through them like a grade-schooler praying over pizza. They also check your temperature and your blood-pressure to make sure you're in a healthy state for donating. I was chewing gum today, and the worker didn't pop the thermometer in my mouth while the blood pressure cuff was going. They normally do these two things together. So as she proceeded through the questions, I stopped her and asked, "Are you gonna take my temperature?"

"Oh, yeah. But I can't do it with gum in your mouth, so I'll just save that part for the end and let you get in a few more chomps before I make you spit it out."

I hid my laugh.

Really? A few more chomps? For what, two more minutes of sheer chomping blissfulness? Please -you're too kind. Really. Somebody give this girl a raise -and a hug.

Little did she know I had a whole pack of gum in my bag waiting to be enjoyed ("chomped"); each one, right down to the last second. I should've offered her some.

The movie they were showing when I went in: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Vampires fighting werewolves. Honestly? You're drawing blood from donors to the tune of that noise? Let me ask, who has the audacity or twisted sense of ironic humor to pop that into the DVD player?

I pointed out that fact to my "Insertion tech" (I don't know what they're really called -except vampires).

"It's kind of weird to be watching a vampire movie while getting blood pumped out of your veins".

He chuckled, "Yeah, I know. They played this yesterday too. Then after it was over, they played Interview With a Vampire."

Somebody's having way too much fun picking movies. I'm always hoping they'll play something humorous or happy. Give me Finding Nemo or something. I need something to laugh at while they cycle my blood through the centrifuge.

Bryce has found a favorite insertion specialist. His name is Seth and he's been jabbing people in the arm for two years. The past two times, Bryce has had Seth stick him. And Bryce won't stop raving. "It didn't even hurt! It felt good! I told him to stab the other arm too!"

I saw Seth the last time I went in. I got his attention and told him, "Hey -my buddy was in here the other day and he keeps saying how good you were. He tells everyone."

It made his day. Now every time Bryce comes in, he'll ask for Seth. And, more than likely, he'll get to be stabbed by his favorite insertion friend.

I guess that does make it a little less nerve-racking, knowing the person and trusting them to do things right. I always get a little nervous thinking back to the time when "Liz" was my poker-pal. She jabbed me, and the blood wasn't flowing. So she fished around, poked about three times and left me with a good bruise when it was all done.

I have big veins. It's hard to mess up. I think I'll start requesting Seth. He's sure won Bryce's confidence, and now it makes his day whenever Bryce comes in, smiling like an idiot, ready to have his arm poked. It's nothing short of magic to produce those kind of results, getting someone to smile because you're going to jab them in the arm. He must be really good.

Well, that's it. I'm off to Boise. Happy Independence Day everyone! (And happy Canada Day to the others)


Alicia said...

YOU ARE GOOD! They drew blood from Trenton's tiny veins yesterday and had to fish and fish and repoke. I was crying just watching it.
Mom watched me get my blood drawn four times in one day for a glucose test, and she noticed that I curl my toes anticipating and then straighten, lift, and spread them all apart when they hurt me.
And the way they say, "Little poke..." right before just makes me whimper. Why? Because. My name is Alicia and I am a wimp.

Have fun on the fourth. We'll be thinking of you. I'm feeding the elders that day. They're getting beef straight from the steer. And you're invited to my place for cheesecake after fireworks. Even though you can't be there. Or eat cheesecake.

It's the thought.

And you, dear brother, have been thought of.

Alicia said...

And it took me a good 5 minutes of driving on I40 to remember where the "post man. Do what I'm post to." quote came from. But I did it! It goes to show that my brain isn't totally fried from lack of sleep and social interaction.

MERN said...

I have to tell you, this is my ALL TIME favorite post of yours. It's wonderful. It always makes me laugh.