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  • Kristan Higgins

My delicate flowers

Updated: May 5, 2022

wonder woman

I like to give blood; it makes me feel holy and heroic. “One pint saves three lives,” they like to tell you. Friday was a rainy day, and I’d just finished reading a book, so I was in that book hangover mode. I’d made the kids an appointment to give blood—they have the rarest blood types, and since Dearest received two transfusions in the hospital, we owe the world, right?

Right. So a grumpy son and an amiable daughter were off, when I said (perhaps because of some maternal instinct), “Why don’t I come, too?” I usually give platelets, which takes longer, but what the heck. Into the car we three went.

The blood drive was quiet, and they were happy to have us. As you might know, I love medical attention, and I was chatting up the phlebotomist. Since the Princess fainted the first time she gave blood when she was 17, I kept calling out, “How you doing, honey?”

Dearest was a champ. The staff kept praising me for bringing my kids in, and I was preening happily and agreeing that yes, they were rather fabulous.

Dearest sprang from his bed and went to the snack table, the only reason he really does this. He also got a t-shirt, which was just extra. When I was done, brawny peasant stock that I am, I too sprang up and went to see my baby girl.

delicate flower

When the phlebotomist had taken the needle out, some blood squirted on her arm. “It was so dark and red,” she said, and then her eyes fluttered, and her face went white. “She’s fainting,” said the tech, and because I imagine the fainters are more exciting than we brawny types are, there was a sudden cluster around her. A cold cloth was put on her head, and the Princess, being her mother’s girl, was rather enjoying the attention. She felt sleepy and had a tummy ache but didn’t think she’d puke, God bless her.

Dearest Son, who is a good brother, came over and patted her shoulder, but because he is also a little brother, whispered, “Go into the light.” Thus assured of his sister’s good health he went back to eat more CheezIts.

red blood cells

I patted the Princess and murmured reassuringly, then instinctively glanced at Dearest. He was green. “Honey?” I said, then leaped over to him, just as he started listing to the left. A tech grabbed his shoulders and gently pushed his head to the table. They got him a mattress and he lay on the floor. “Give me my phone,” he whispered. What horrible last words.

“You fainted,” I said.

“I’m fine. My phone?” I kept it in my pocket, wiped his sweaty face, and kissed his cheek, as he was helpless and I like to grab an opportunity whenever possible.

The Princess was sitting up, but then they quickly lay her back down, so I cantered between her gurney and my son’s mattress, patting and dabbing their sweaty, pale little faces. Shot off a text to McIrish, telling him his (Irish) children had both passed out, but their (Hungarian) mother remained strong as an ox and was caring for our offspring, but would be longer than expected. Back and forth betwixt children I went. Dearest was thrilled, as he hadn’t been too happy when I told him he was donating blood that afternoon. “You can never sign me up for this again,” he said smugly.

I pulled the car around, and the nice techs rather proudly escorted my children to the car, where we all thanked them for being so kind and helpful. The kids agreed that they’d had a great time, that karma had made Dearest faint, and that they could guilt me about this for quite some time. “I’m so sorry, kids,” I said.

FDM post blood

“It’s sort of your fault,” said Dearest, but with a smile in his voice. “But I will give blood again, don’t worry.”

“Me, too,” said the Princess.

They’re such good kids.


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