I have a confession: I’ve spent more of my life donating blood than not donating blood, but I still haven’t learned to enjoy it.
But it’s much more bearable when you have Moonie along for the ride.
I’m borderline anemic, so I bulk up on iron pills and things like red meat and spinach and Raisinets in the days leading up to each appointment at the Rhode Island Blood Center, but I still end up having my blood spun in the centrifuge to make sure the iron count is high enough. Sometimes they even have to prick more than one finger to try more than one spin. Moonie comforted me from the finger pricks.
He reminded me, when they brought out the intimidating bags and my heart started speeding up, that each pint can save up to three peoples’ lives and that I was doing a good thing. He’s a good little cheerleader.
Even though he’s tiny, he’s also a pretty good hand holder.
He was fascinated watching the blood come out of me and through a tube to the bag, and he asked the RIBC staff members if he could donate some blood too in case a troll might need it.
They said sure, so he did. He worried his blood type might not be universal enough – what if it would only help pink-haired trolls but not green-haired trolls? – but he was assured he would be helping all trolls. Moonie was such a trooper! He’s afraid of needles and pain but wanted to help others, and he didn’t complain at all about the little pinprick. He was incredibly proud of his bandage after donating. We wore matching red ones.
After donating, you have to spend ten minutes relaxing in the refreshment area – which to Moonie was complete heaven. The nice volunteer lady had baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and not only brought me a whole cookie but brought Moonie his own little piece of one, too. Next month will mark 30 years that she has volunteered at the RI Blood Center, and Moonie was the first troll she’d ever seen there. She was tickled pink, and as Moonie is always tickled pink, they got along well.
“That was nice of her,” Moonie whispered to me after she served him his little cookie bit on his very own plate, but she hadn’t yet discovered his appetite for cookies. When she turned to help another donor with refreshments, he dove into the cookies.
Then he found the basket full of Oreos, Fig Newtons and Lorna Doones. Uh-oh. I had to forcibly pull him away. He let me when he saw that other donors were finishing giving blood and getting ready to head over to our refreshment stand. They were going to need cookies, too.
“Can we donate blood every day?” he asked me as we left.
“Sorry, little dude, we need to pace ourselves,” I said.
But I told him we’d be back in a few months, and he’s looking forward to helping other trolls in need. And eating cookies again too, of course. But mostly the helping.