The Norman Transcript

June 14, 2014

The Dracula Wagon

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The people at our company must have gallons of excess blood sloshing around in their bodies.

Every four months, Vampira, a member of our property management department, sends out a companywide email. “Be the first to sign up and donate your excess blood.” How can it be excess when it flows evenly through the veins?

The Dracula Wagon appears in our parking lot and employees pretend it is grownup recess time. They march to the draining center because they get cookies, juice and a T-shirt.

After years of non-participation in this ritual, I lost my mind and signed up. Admittedly, I was curious about the process, but perhaps willingly puncturing a vein may be a bit extreme just to satisfy an inquisitive itch.

I grabbed my driver’s license (for identification purposes) and my security badge (because after nearly twenty years they would not recognize me when I reentered the building) and walked downstairs on shaky legs. The elevator was far too quick. Besides, I did not want to appear too eager.

When I tried the bus door, it was locked. With a sigh of relief, I started to leave. Then someone opened the door. Drat!

The bus rumbled when I stepped inside. It sensed that another victim had entered its clutches. I presented my arms, a victim ready to be led to the ritual table. Actually, it was a lounge chair, but there would be no relaxing and napping in that bloodletting seat.

But first, a smiling woman led the way to a cubicle, complete with two seats, a desk and computer. Following a few preliminary questions, out came the blood pressure cuff.

As the blood flow returned to my arm, all manner of gauzes, swabs and strange looking gadgets appeared, including a stabber. “I’m going to prick your finger for a blood sample,” the lady explained. Wait was that an evil smirk she hid?

The stabber punched a painful hole in my finger. Then she squeezed the damaged digit, milking every drop of blood she could from it. The words hovered on the tip of my tongue, but I refrained from asking “Where did you learn your technique, on a dairy farm?”

Handing me a list of questions, she told me to answer them on the computer and left. I wondered why she decided to give me privacy, but the light bulb blazed above my head when I saw the questions on the screen. The only thing that was not asked is whether I had been friendly with a kangaroo.

“I have no idea what most of those diseases were,” I exclaimed as I stepped out of the cubicle. Everyone laughed that nervous titter people use when they do not know how to respond.

Madam Pompadour reclined on the lounge and the nurse tied a tourniquet around my biceps. “Squeeze this,” she said, thrusting a squeeze toy shaped like a baseball glove in my palm.

She poked a needle into a defenseless vein and taped the draining tube to my arm. I averted my eyes and squeezed that glove — squeeze, relax, squeeze, relax. I had problems with the relaxing part as my blue blood turned red and drained into a baggie.

Then the well went dry because the tourniquet was left on my arm which caused my vein to collapse. She called to another technician. He pressed on the needle embedded in my arm.

“Does that hurt?”

Now why would he ask? My body was levitating above the chair!

After a whispered conversation, they removed the needle. She covered the angry black, blue and red spot with gauze and wrapped yards of blue masking tape tightly around my arm.

“No smoking for thirty minutes,” the nurse instructed.

No problem.

“No alcohol for forty-eight hours.”

What! That’s heaping torture upon torture.

As I tottered out of the rumbling leech machine, I was faced with increasing pain and no red wine to numb my suffering.

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