I’m twenty-eight weeks pregnant, and being RH negative, that means I needed an injection of someone else’s blood products. At my last pre-natal appointment, the doctor had warned Tex and me that we would need to pick up said products from a small window hidden in the recesses of the unlit basement of the hospital before our next appointment.
Based on the doctor’s description, in my mind, I pictured some combination of “Labyrinth” and “Nightmare Before Christmas”, with Tex and I wandering about the tunnels of the hospital’s underbelly. With the help of a spindly monster dressed in rags we’d come upon a tiny hole in the wall with the words “Transfusion and Blood Products Center” written hastily on a piece of cardboard, as though the entire place could close up shop and move at any moment.
The experience was similar, but not quite like that. Ever the organized engineer and prepared Dad, Tex had dropped by the hospital during the day while I was at work to see if he could locate the secretive window of blood products. This meant that when he returned with me, we easily found the place.
I was a little surprised, instead of a makeshift hole in the wall, made by knocking a couple of bricks out of place, there was a large opening, complete with glass. Not surprisingly there was a bell, in my sinister imaginings of the place; I had thought there would be. Only I pictured tapping it once in an empty unlit corridor, then waiting in a strained and terrifying silence only to have a hand slip out and a disembodied and creaky voice curtly ask “Papers?”
Along with the obscure and difficult to locate placement of the transfusion window, Tex and I had also been warned to bring all the necessary paperwork with us and then some because the staff working there are hesitant to hand out blood products willy-nilly. I had prepared myself to answer some sort of skill testing question after handing over all of my documentation and ID. Actually I wasn’t prepared at all, I figured in the event that two characters popped up with impossible riddles that Tex would hopefully reply under his breath because with two professional degrees and being fluent in three languages, he seems to know the answers to most problems.
No such event occurred, however there was a moment when I wondered whether we were actually going to get the product as the staff had trouble locating some paperwork on their side of the window.
While we were waiting, a blood products porter dressed in scrubs with a hurried air, came to the window. He apologized in advance for the gruesome sight of his order after hearing me say that I wasn’t sure whether I needed to puke. The porter needn’t have apologized, I always have to puke, it’s just the smell of the hospital had upped the vomit ante.
Tex rubbed my back in a reassuring way “Don’t worry Unwashed, think of it as a bag of Kool-Aid when you see it.”
Not only was this grosser because people actually drink Kool-Aid, I was made more upset because this thought transformed the Kool-Aid man from a beloved children’s mascot shilling sugary drinks into a serial killing, vampire-like character.
The thought of all that blood sloshing around in the Kool-Aid man’s big glass pitcher made me almost yak on the spot. Seeing my green tinged face, the porter sped away down the hall as soon as his transfusion bag arrived.
Happily, our product came wrapped in a tiny brown bag, and Tex and I left for our doctor’s appointment. We encountered neither other-worldly beasts on our way out, nor an enraged Kool-Aid man with a taste for the red stuff. Although we found the window and secured the blood products relatively easily, and as innocuous as the whole experience was, I was a little relieved we don’t have to go back.