USAF Red Cross

When I was in the Air Force stationed at the Defense Language School in Monterey, California, we had a day where the base commander gave us the option to “volunteer” to donate blood to the base Red Cross chapter in exchange for a day off of classes. Should we not want to “volunteer” we could spend the day policing the grounds of the base and the surrounds for trash and doing other unpleasant tasks selected to encourage us to “volunteer”. It should be no surprise that there was nearly 100% participation in the blood drive that day. Not 100% because there are always some who take a stand not matter what, but that is another story.

The bunch of us that hung out together including my roommate had a good breakfast in the chow hall and then headed across the base to be drained. My roommate, Richard G. Wood from Boston (should he ever search his name and find it), knew about my tendency to pile up after being stuck. He had been around me during boot camp when I had been shot with the pneumatic guns and had keeled over. That was either three or four shots in each arm at a time a couple of days apart. I was lucky to wake up at all. Dick backed me up as I told the Red Cross nurses that I was not just being a wuss, but they were still trained in the old-school style and basically told me to just suck it up. Dick and I were put on gurneys next to each other, stuck at the same time, and filled our pints in about the same speed. Dick walked away laughing his Boston-accented laugh. The senior nurse would not let me off the gurney because I was too pale.

Cold wet towels were applied, legs were elevated, much attention was given. A corpsman was assigned to stand at my gurney to call the senior nurse every time I completely passed out, which was several. After about 45 minutes I was allowed to sit up and then had to lay right back down. This went on for another 30 minutes or so until I could sit without getting dizzy. Then the corpsman lead me over to the table with juice and cookies. I sipped some juice and ate a cookie. Another friend, Mark A. Webb (also hoping he will ping his name), sat across from me having just breezed through giving his pint. We chatted for a few seconds and then he laughed said, “Oh man, your freckles are turning white!"

When I woke up I was on a cot across the room with a small cut on my forehead where it had bounced off the table. I could hear the senior nurse chewing out the corpsman for leaving me alone. A notation was added to my records and I was not allowed to donate blood to the base Red Cross during the rest of my time at the Presidio.

Imported from an old blog. Some links might be dead. Let me know if you find dead links.