Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Picture this. We're waiting today in the hospital for my father's bloodwork to come back. Each time he goes in for chemo, they check his blood, determine if everything's hunky dory and then, assuming it is, administer the drip. His hemoglobin was low today so it was decided that he'd have a transfusion this week and more chemo next week. They run so more bloodwork and we wait....Suddenly, the nurse arrives. She calls for me - first, G'veret Steinberg and then, ha'bat shel Shteinberg - the daughter of Steinberg. I, Beth, should go and get the blood on the 4th floor. I'm a bit flustered and inquire as to where I go? The Blood Bank, of course - just ask for the right person and make sure the label says Steinberg, Theodore. "That's it?," I inquire incredulously. "Yup, that's it," says the nurse. "Oh," the nurse adds, "I should warm the blood on my way back up to the 7th floor - just stick it under my sweater and make it nice and toasty." I head downstairs on my errand, find the appropriate office, smile at the person and am handed, without much fanfare or having to prove I am who I am - which is only the daughter of the person receiving the blood, and return to the 7th floor, warmish bag of blood under my arm, inside my sweater. The nurse greets me warmly and I tell her that I felt a bit like a mother hen but without any chicks to show for my effort. We hook my father up and he gets his blood - A+. He tells me that he's pleased to receive such an excellent grade on this blood.
I am amazed that I was allowed to do such a thing that in America, as a patient or relative of a patient, one would never do. And you know, it wasn't so terrible and this way I had a job and there were no nurses available at that moment to run for it and while I know we live in a world that doesn't trust anyone to do anything, I really wasn't planning on making a run for it with bag of blood in tow, ready to sell it on the open market.

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