Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Milk? Whatever. Got Blood?

MJ and I donated blood the Monday before Christmas.

With the holiday whirlwind, I’m just now getting around to blogging about it. It was a Christmas miracle that our schedules aligned to allow for the mootual donation in the first place, but it was important.
Time magically appears for the important things.

We dressed in cow suits for our donation in honor and memory of Ryleigh Thomason. Ryleigh was a friend and classmate of MJ and became my buddy through my volunteering at her school and being on a Relay for Life team together with her folks.  After Ryleigh passed away when she was 15 from leukemia, our Cows for a Cure team became Ryleigh’s Herd.

Ryleigh’s elementary school hosts a blood drive in her honor in late November near the anniversary of Ryleigh’s passing, and neither MJ nor I were in town to attend.  We scheduled our December 23 donation date weeks in advance.
I was swamped at work trying to meet a year-end deadline for a project. I hadn’t made the gym that day and likely wasn’t going to for the next three. The last thing I felt I had time for was a trek out to the Red Cross at the mall to get a needle in my arm. The mall. Dang  I still had Christmas shopping to do.  Oy.
I was hurried as I drove up and knocked on MJ’s door in my cow suit. I had one for her draped over my arm. She has a suit, but she took it with her to college.  If you know me and bits of my life’s history, you can fill in your own blanks at the continuing weirdness and sting of MJ now having a different door and my having to knock on it.  
That sting comes in a flash and can be gone just as quickly when I’m slung back into the moment. This moment was about remembering Ryleigh and hopefully offering a piece of ourselves that might help someone some day.
MJ greeted me with a smile and exuberance to suit up and in minutes we were off.  I drove like a maniac. We took a blazing shortcut through the McDonald’s parking lot, and exchanged a few cow quips at the chain’s expense.
When I parked at the mall, we sprinted through the parking lot. Children pointed with one hand while holding their mom’s in the other.  Families stopped to stare and we could hear faint murmurs as we trotted to our appointment.
We explained about Cows for a Cure and Ryleigh’s Herd immediately as we checked in. I sensed that the ladies quit smelling us for alcohol once they heard about the Herd.
We are fairly regular donors, but it's still good to read the booklets.
I am a good blood donor. One time, a lady caressed my arm in an almost inappropriate way and went on and on about my beautiful veins. I admit. They are lovely. And I’m fast. They can’t leave me unattended for very long.

I told the worker that after my bag was in place and she said, “If you need me, just moo.”

Um. No. I explained that it was fine for people to moo at me, but I was not about to moo at any woman not in a cow suit. Ever.
My time this year was 5:19. A Bovine Best!
MJ took a little longer.

I just assume that most of the pictures I take of this calf are going to have the
 "Take the Picture Already!" look.
I was thrilled that MJ took longer because it gave me more time to (a) brag about my swiftness and (b) to enjoy some guilt-free cookies.
I didn’t realize this about Keebler, but check it out. They donate 6 million cookies a year!
All I need to push me over the edge in a sweet tooth frenzy. WITH milk, of course.
I bet I talk about Ryleigh in at least half of the times that I wear a cow suit, and this was one of them. This wasn’t my first time donating blood in a cow suit, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last.  And every single time, I will think about Ryleigh and how she and her family have become a part of my herd.

1 comment:

  1. All the times I've donated and I've never seen the Keebler sign. Good to know! And good to keep reminding us to donate. I have "those veins" too. The staff is always excited to stick a needle in my arm. And like I said, I never met Ryleigh, but you talking about her is what encourages me to donate. Every. Time.