Yesterday I headed over to my local Red Cross to donate platelets. When all the paperwork was done and I was settling in to my reclining chair, getting ready to watch a movie and survive two hours of nausea, all hell broke loose.
A young man a few chairs over, in the middle of his first-ever blood donation, had gone into shock.
Every technician in the place swarmed to his side. As I was already immobile in my chair, I couldn’t see much except this faraway look in the kid’s eyes. He kept pumping the stress ball in his hand, like you’re supposed to do to keep the blood flowing, only they’d pulled out the needle and the blood was… Well, there were people mopping up the floor, the chair, the kid’s arm.
I’ve never seen that look in someone’s eyes before. His brain had just checked out, was no longer connected or concerned with whatever his body was doing.
They kept talking to him, touching him, doing whatever it is you’re supposed to do for someone in shock. Eventually, his eyes came back to earth, the color came back to his cheeks, and I started breathing again.
He sat there for a long time. They brought him water, made him call home for a ride. There was genuine concern for his well-being, both physical and mental. They treated him professionally, but also with such amazing kindness.
I don’t know what I really learned from the experience, except that as much as I hate the corrupt healthcare industry as a whole, the people who devote themselves to this work do not deserve to share that reputation. They’re smart, caring, quick, and willing to make decisions that drastically affect other people’s lives on a regular basis. I’m so in awe, and so, so grateful.