Deep End

September 23, 2017

Virtue (or is it honor?) (or madness?) (whatever) lies in how you act when no one is looking.

In that case, I am not virtuous. (Or honorable.) (Or sane.) (Whatever.)

Yesterday, the phlebotomist gathered her vials in the blood work lab and I sat in the wide-armed chair and found that I was thinking, with real lust, about the ice cream I would buy immediately after. There’s no virtue in that.

I’d hoped (because I no longer have “mature dehydration”) that she would cry “Eureka!” and declare I had the best elbow veins of any blood donor she’d ever seen. I’ve watched with envy in the past as other people (at larger labs or at blood donor drives) get tapped like a maple tree, their life-rich corpuscles jetting out obediently into labeled baggies. I, on the other hand, have always been a “hard stick,” and the very first time I gave blood, I bled so reluctantly that after twice the normal time they’d gathered half the usual amount of blood, which had all congealed by the time they called it, and had to be discarded. Very disappointing.

My grandmother – admittedly a small and birdlike woman – donated her own body weight in blood over the course of her lifetime; this seems to me like an amazing feat. THERE is virtue. (Or honor.) (Or madness.) (Whatever.)

I’d LOVE to be able to do the same, but there have been times when the Red Cross has given up and sent me from their bloodmobile couches, unable to even strike oil. I go with my head hanging down, doomed to be called ever after by them and having to admit with each “It’s a disaster, will you give blood?” call that I am a reject. Why don’t they note that in their records?!

I have wandered SO far afield.

The lab lady once again despaired of my elbow veins. Keep your dreams of hydration and blood donation; my veins remain deep and uncooperative. No joy in Mudville. She drew, as usual, from my hand – four vials in all of my blood (which is lusciously colored, really. She told me she can see the difference in smokers and nonsmokers when she takes blood, and knew I was a nonsmoker because there was enough oxygen in my blood to make it that gorgeous color. So cool). I left the lab. I went to the store.

I bought ice cream – a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

I went home. I got a spoon. I popped that annoying plastic collar off with a kitchen knife. I went to the porch with the dog and the cat in an honor guard.

I ate it all. Every bite. I licked the lid.

I did not think of fasting blood sugars or cholesterol or my A1C. I ignored the Tupperware of pumpkin seeds in the pantry, crying out in their tiny pumpkin seed voices. I just had a little ice cream orgy.

And then last night, I called my friend Kevin and made him go with me to Baskin Robbins, where I had MORE ice cream.

By this I know that Chip’s hard work as my nutritionist is having an effect only because of my will power, not because of my virtue. (Or honor.) (Or madness.) (Whatever.) Because once the blood is drawn – once the evidence is sealed away in its sterile, gleaming tubes – I am going right off the deep end with a grin of delight.

Man, I love ice cream!

Better choices today, though. Madness (or honor) (or virtue) (whatever) was yesterday’s ruler. Come here, darling, she crooned to the pumpkin seeds; I’ve come back!

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