Monday, May 31, 2010

I Volunteer...

As close as I'll ever get to Lance...sigh.

Oh, and how could I set foot on true Texas Dirt and not have a pair of these?!?

Quite a bit. Volunteering runs through my veins like the blood my mother used to help drain from other peoples bodies.  She had done Blood Drives for the Red Cross since the war, right up to a few years before she died.  She was the old-fashioned style nurse with pefectly white uniforms, and the perfectly starched - then folded and pinned- pointed cap that her nursing school adopted.  Each school, my mother had explained to my sister and me, had its own design of cap.  Style maven that she was, my mother chose a nursing school straight out of high school that was forty some odd miles away from home.  She liked their 'cap' the most.  Given my penchant for monster movies, I  personally  would have been a bit worried if a nurse  showed up at my bedside dressed like this...

Arline Constance Gifford
Graduation. 20 years old.

When I was of that certain age, I tromped down to the local Blood Drive to do my part.  They told me I didn't weigh enough for my height to give blood.  I can't tell you what this did to my fragile ego.  I had already been through the same thing at the recruiting office.  I couldn't even volunteer to be shot at. I would have been good too.  Living with my sister had made me the master of evasion. Never the less, the Red Cross Nurses put me to work emptying wastebaskets of bio hazard stuff and bringing cookies and orange juice to their victims.   On the occasion of my father receiving his first - of many -  'Gallon Donated'  pins, I asked my mother, after noticing her lack of even one little plastic drop of blood pin,  "Do you donate blood?"   Her reply was not only one of her classics, but served to show me a bit of the side of my mother I did not often see.  She said, " Oh good grief,  no.  Laying there with all that bright red blood running out of me, are you kidding?"

A few years later I was forced to be subjected to all sorts of immunizations for a job.  I drove over a hundred miles to the medical office my mother was working in to have her give me the shots. 

Three shots, all to the arms.  I didn't have a lot of excess fat on me and strange nurses had a tendency to not listen to me when I would tell them, "You need to use a shorter needle,"  while they proceeded to jab me, straight to the bone.  Ow?  If you have ever had the opportunity to experience needle-crunching-bone you know what I mean.

I should have stayed home.  My mother had all three short-needled hypodermics lined up on a tissue covered tray.  I sat down.  Then she, my very own mother, picked up the first needle, slowly fanned it in front of my face, and said,  "Do you remember... when you knocked over your Grandmother's entire butler's tray of Waterford crystal....."

Total silence ensued as the numbness of one who is feeling betrayed swept over me. I went deaf. Couldn't hear a thing, my eyes began to fog over.  But, through the haze that was slowly enveloping the room, did I see that, by now, all  too familiar twinkle in her eye trying to be repressed?

Suddenly a tall body in a shirt with monogrammed cuffs slid through the door.  My mother could no longer hold it in and was overcome by a fit of hysterics that forced her to slump in a nearby chair.  It was the doctor she worked for.

 Keeping this in perspective, this man was The Genius of heart doctors.  Youngest member at the time to ever be admitted to the American Assoc. of Cardiologists. Henry Fonda was under his care during a filming in the state (and yes, my mother got his autograph on a prescription pad).  Christian Barnard was his hero.   For a moment I thought there might be magical, invisible EKG machines monitoring my heart and all the red lights had gone off in his office, set flashing by the possible slight heart attack I may have just had, until....

He said,  "I heard nothing but silence, figured I'd better make sure you hadn't fainted!"      He was in on it too. My mother was good. Great even.   I may never live up to her.  But I keep trying.  Ask my kids.   But no, on second thought, they still are not quite old enough to appreciate this stuff.....

I maintain my Secret Blog Status.


  1. You must have inherited quite a bit of her sense of humor. This was a fun reverie.

  2. Oh, I can just see those skinny little arms, and I cringed at them being punctured. Great story about your mom, and I compliment you on your ability to develop a story line. Glad I stumbled on your blog!

  3. Your mother is a HOOT.
    I've been giving blood for decades. The last three times I tried, I got sort of sick afterwards. Another post-menopause weirdness? So I got my husband to come too, even though he's deathly afraid of needles. Turns out he's so healthy his problem is he heals up before they can get enough blood out of him. I think we should both quit.

  4. Love the Lance picture. But who says you can't get closer! you must go on a Lance mission! :)

  5. It seems like every time I had to go the doctor as a kid, it involved getting a shot... ALWAYS in the butt. Fast-forward 50 years - I had to have a Tetanis booster. The nurse asked me which arm I wanted it in; the concern was to save my "good" arm as the shot made you kind of sore.

    I asked if that was the case how come you don't administer it Glutealy (butt)? She said that most people don't like the indignity of showing their bare ass, but really, it was a better place to give the shot. Hell, I told her to give it to me in the right cheek. Didn't feel a thing!

  6. Probably would work for me as well if I hadn't had so many darn allergy shots in the butt as a kid. By the time they gave up the skin was so scarred from so many shots the needles were bending (double OW?) and they didn't want to graduate to thicker needles. Oh, and have I failed to mention the shots turned out to be useless anyway? About ten years ago I took bee pollen suppliments for a long time and all my allergy symptoms disappeared. Only recently have they returned (as I sit here with a box of Kleenex).

    And phew, do those tetanis shots ever hurt!

    My son actually met Lance before he was LANCE. I think it was just after the first race he won when he surprised everyone by coming out of nowhere. To make matters worse, a rider I ran into a few towns over said LANCE actually showed up for a ride there some years ago. Apparently he does it on the sly to stay in shape. Oh jeese, I would have collapsed. I was only 10 when I was with my brother-in-law in Boston and we ran into Bobby Orr. I was close to fainting. Alas, during Livestrong LANCE is always doing the rides. Unfortunately I am a hiker (but I do really well at the LANCE stuff booths!).

  7. Entre Nouse: I am taking care of them. One of them actually passed away. Little Nicky :( From the other two, Devil #2 found a home, so now it's just Devil... we'll see what happens. It's hard to find homes for black cats you know?

  8. Annah

    What a cool way to spell your name!

    Yup, I know, I have two all black with teeny white hairs on their chests from the previous litter, and three black ones from our latest drive-by-drop-off. Two silver tigers already have homes, at only five weeks old (they can't go until 8 or 9 wks).But one of mine is not doing well. sigh. They were born in a mulch pile waiting to be coyote food. I can't stand it. And if I see one more picture of an oil soaked pelican on TV I'm gonna have to go down there and find that beach......

  9. Talking about Lance, my middle son wanted to see the Tours de France with Lance, but my dad, who lives there, said, "You see it better on TV." Thanks for visiting my blog. I fear the needle when I get my blood checked.

  10. Your mom sounds hilarious, but I would have been passing out with the three needles for retribution of previously broken things.