06 September 2016

What We Do For Others

Last weekend I attended my twenty-second consecutive Dragon*Con. I've written about Dragon*Con before. Cuddly Hubby and I refer to it as the best weekend of the year, even better than Christmas. Over the years we have attended a variety of panels and activities. With 40 programming tracks, this is the sort of show where you could wear out a time turner. It isn't uncommon to decide to do something this year and to skip it next year in favor of something else we had to skip this year. But this year I did something I had never done before — I donated blood.

The Cuddly Hubby donates blood every year, usually on Thursday. Our tradition is to go pick up our badges on Thursday afternoon. Then Cuddly Hubby spends an hour or so donating blood. Then we go eat a good dinner at Max Lager's brew pub. But this year, Cuddly Hubby had doctors' appointments the week before the convention. Some of his test results weren't back. He wasn't able to donate.

It helps to know that every year the blood drive has Dragon*Con-themed t-shirts. Donate blood, get a t-shirt. I do not care about t-shirts. I rarely wear t-shirts. Getting a t-shirt is not motivation for me. But Cuddly Hubby has gotten a t-shirt year after year. At this point, he wears a different blood donor t-shirt every day of the convention, including Thursday. He was bummed when he couldn't get this year's t-shirt.

I never donate blood. In my youth, I had a couple bad experiences with needles. I have a pronounced fight-or-flight response. I almost passed out during the blood test for our marriage license. I also just barely make the weight requirement for blood donation. So I never donate.

By Saturday, it was clear Cuddly Hubby's results wouldn't be back in time for him to donate. So on Sunday morning, I psyched myself up. I walked into the Hilton and down the escalator. And I did it! There was a point when I first got in the chair that the fight-or-flight response really kicked in and I just wanted to jump up and run up the stairs. I kept my eyes closed almost the whole time. About halfway to three-quarters of the way through I got dizzy. All of a sudden, people were tipping my chair back and putting ice underneath my neck. I'm sure I changed colors. But I did not pass out. The person behind me actually threw up while I was donating. (Yes, they wisely put me at the far end with the experienced technicians dealing with the "problem children.") And it took a little bit of work to get my arm to stop bleeding afterwards. But, I faced down my fear and I did it!

And I got a t-shirt in Cuddly Hubby's size.

Later in the day, we met up at a panel. Cuddly Hubby sat down next to me. I had the t-shirt draped over my bandaged arm. I handed him the shirt and said, "I got your t-shirt."
He asked, "How'd you do that."
As I handed him the shirt, I pointed to my bandaged arm. "I donated blood."
It was worth it for the way his face lit up. He knew I had faced down a fear to do this for him.

How do you know you are married to the right person? When that person makes you a better person. I wouldn't donate blood on my own. I wouldn't donate blood for a t-shirt. But I thought of Cuddly Hubby getting out his Dragon*Con blood donor t-shirts every year in the future and seeing that hole in the sequence where 2016 went wrong. I didn't want him to have an unhappy story. So I made it a happy story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I'm glad you gave. I'm glad he liked the T-shirt.