Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Blood Bag Blues
Drained of their miraculous magenta contents, empty blood bags are neatly stacked sit on the anesthetist's gas machine awaiting their round trip journey back to the hospital blood bank. The few remaining droplets of blood form an intricate spider web design visible through the transparent container that always reminded me of stained glass. The drained bags are now a component of the detritus remaining as an artefact of the previous surgical adventure with their own tale to tell.
Artefacts and relics mean different things to different people when their intended function has ended. I thought many times how strange it sounded to keep blood in a "bank," but then I began to figure it out. Some of my very best insights occur when fatigued and sleep deprived as that caffeinated jolt works it's magic.
Blood bank CEOs and commercial bankers have much in common. Blood banks rely on the innate goodness of volunteer donors whose reward might be a glass of orange juice and a stale cookie. Bankers of money pay paltry sums of interest to the hapless savers and charge exorbitant fees to credit card users. Blood bank CEOs and bankers reap their massive salaries and stock options on the backs of little people just trying to do the right thing. In nursing it always felt as if large sums of money flowed right around me much the same as the blood in a suction tubing. Nursing and donating blood is a waste of time if you are doing it for the money. It may sound strange, but I always felt a sense of pity for the greed consumed CEOs lounging in their administrative playgrounds. They probably never had the warm feeling that comes upon you when really helping someone at a critical time in their life.
Blood had almost magical qualities when transfusions went well and the source of blood loss could be corrected. Used blood bags always had redundancy in miniscule sticky labels with an identification number. There were always plenty of these little stickers left over even when all the documentation was complete. I tried to keep the good juju times a rolling with these little stickers by sticking them on the back of my name badge or wrapped around the earpiece of my trusty stethoscope. I don't really know if they helped, but when times were tough, I could cheer my spirits with a quick glance at the back of my name badge.