Red under the Skin
Human mind is complicated. It has so many layers which cannot be comprehended, the deeper you dive the clearer it becomes just like an onion smeared from the outside but oh so beautiful on the inside. Human body is so similar. So beautifully unique from outside, but carrying our essence of existence on the inside, our red under the skin.
As I write this, various emotions surge through me and I recollect those fond memories. Having donated blood, a total of six times, I can say today, it leaves you nothing but so happy. But this happiness had to pass through so many phases – fear, courage, confidence. Let me take you through my journey because it has been one rollercoaster ride and I am sure you are bound to enjoy it.
My first time was the only chance I needed to know for myself that this is not just a “good deed” but it gives you a kind of rush which I had never experienced before. I have been contacted by BDC members quite frequently. Knowing fully well how rare it is to procure my blood group (I’m B-, in case you’re wondering) I try not to refuse, as much as I can. So, one day while I was standing in the balcony of my room, I got a call asking if I would like to donate blood? My friend shared the story about a baby girl born
mere 6 hours ago and was currently admitted in the neonatal ICU, she was in desperate need of blood.
The mere thought of the child overwhelmed me and a drop of tear trickled down my cheek thinking how badly I wanted to help, to save her life but couldn’t as I was on my periods. I remember that whole day I just
sobbed. You might blame hormones, but her face kept creeping up in flashes. The mere fact that I wasn’t able to give that baby what she needed the most at that moment broke me somewhere. It has that impact on your mind. This little inhibition had caused such unrest in my heart, I rushed to the NICU, and her wellbeing had somehow become my priority.
For every breath she took my hopes got a lurch. Did I know her? No. Would she remember me? No. Would I remember her? YES. Somehow, I had connected to that little bundle and her existence had been the sole reason of my joy. Somewhere the girl might be happily unaware about how special she is, so different, so unique yet so similar to me, for she shared the same red
under her skin.
Another day, another memory: Exams in BPKIHS, these words are enough to bring that unpleasant knot in your stomach. My semester exams were going on and I was lost deep into my world late at night when I hear a BRRRIINNGG!! And I bolt upright.
A call at around 10 pm asking if I could donate blood now? A lady who was 8 months pregnant but sadly the foetus could not survive, needed blood for delivering that foetus. I asked if it could wait until noon tomorrow, for the anxiety had reached its brink, and I somehow knew it would further add to my grievance.
To my content they could and that somehow made me at ease. My exams went well and I returned peacefully to my hostel, had my lunch and lied down for a minute. At that moment, my phone rang and somehow, I already knew who the unknown number was. From the other side came a polite yet
tired voice telling me that he had exhausted all his resources and he couldn’t arrange the blood his wife needed and asked me if I could donate blood to her now? I couldn’t say no.
As I reached, the husband took me to the emergency ward to make me meet his wife. A nurse was already attending to her. She explained the whole situation to me. I looked at the women lying down on the bed tears in her eyes. I couldn’t understand whether it was physical pain or the painful void that had been created from the loss.
Through the seamless tears she looked at me and asked me if I was comfortable and strong enough to give blood to her? I gave her a weak smile back for I could not imagine her pain but through a new found strength I said, “Don’t worry about me, we will make you better”. I went more firmly on my way back to the blood bank and sat on the chair to see myself poked by the needle. Did I feel any pain?
None, for my heart was with the mother who had just lost a child. I sat there on the chair, thinking about how all my friends would be studying, so oblivious to this all, so trifle it now seemed to me. While I rested, they (the patient’s husband and her sister) gave me a huge bag of juice boxes expressing their gratitude, I accepted thanking them.
On my way out I saw them huddled together, as I walked past them; they caught a hold of me and told me to accept all the money they could muster together at the moment. I could not accept it, but this act portrayed their happiness. I tried to persuade them, but they were so unwilling to budge from it all. I told them currently they needed it more than me and somehow, they agreed.
They thanked me profusely and we walked out together. I wished them speedy recovery of their dear one and walked away with little tear drops in my eyes too. Till this time in my life I had never felt that I was capable of saving someone’s life and that I could have such an impact. Later that night I called to check on them and got to know that she had a procedure scheduled, due tomorrow morning.
Two-three days later I got to know that she was being discharged on the day of my last exam. They invited me over and we exchanged our final goodbyes. Even though she was weak and needed assistance in walking, but she was worried about me for I was standing in the sun for 5 minutes (mere 5 minutes!!!) waiting for her.
She forced her husband to bring me more juice cans even though she was clearly more in need of the nutrition and care than me. So, in the end
before sitting in her car she asked me if she could take a picture with me and I happily obliged. She thanked me for helping her and then went on her way. I watched her go by with a smile on my face.
Again, I asked myself, did I know her? No. Was I related? No. Would she remember me? Hopefully yes. Would I remember her? Definitely.
We are one, after all, you and I; together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate one another. For we share the same red under our skin.
First in essay competition Organized by BPKIHS Students’ Blood Donation Committee on Occasion of Blood Donation Week 2020