As I’m sitting down to begin writing this week’s story, Christmas has just ended for 2016. This time of the year is associated with a spirit of giving. I’ve always believed that we each receive so much more when we give. As a matter of fact, I received the most memorable switching as a result of giving away a can of my dad’s soup without asking first, (a not so fun memory related to giving – link). But this week’s story about ‘giving’ is a funny memory for me.
I haven’t been out in awhile to donate blood but while I was working outside of the house, (note that my wife doesn’t regard my stock trading as ‘work’), I tried to be good about giving blood. It’s really an easy thing to do and there’s always a need for more and more. The pin poke in the arm vein is minute and then it really only takes around 10 minutes to collect. Drink a little juice and if you’re healthy, you can head on back to your daily activities…you know, stalking your Facebook friends on your break, sneaking in a game of Mortal Kombat….things like that.
During the mid ’90’s, I was working on an important work process and software installation project for my employer, P&G. When we first began the project, we were small in size and worked in downtown Cincinnati, all alone within our primary functions. I was one of just a few people on the Finance and Accounting team. Soon though, as the other functions began their part of project staffing, we had to find a place large enough to collocate our large, (and ever growing), team.
P&G owned and leased a lot of buildings in the Cincinnati area, but we had none available having the number of offices or space we needed. We ended up renting a building located within walking distance to our large campus in Sharon Woods. The building was a little old, built before the laws required ramp access for the handicapped. I got to experience the difficulties of a building like this when I went back to work after breaking my leg in ’97 (link). I think it was a year after this leg break accident that I was located up on the second floor with a number of other coworkers, all of us generally working together in small groups, but interacting with each other on a daily basis.
Earlier, I had heard or seen a notice in next door’s cafeteria, sharing the details of a blood drive. There were a number of instances during the project where we’d experience an interval of downtime. Maybe a server was being upgraded or maybe one team was waiting on information or testing output from another team. Maybe it was just one of those times we were practicing to be one of those ‘extra’ county road workers, you know, the one or two extra bodies you see doing nothing when you drive by them. It takes one person to do the work, another to make sure the one doing the work is doing it safely and then there’s that extra body making sure that the safety watcher is really watching and just not goldbricking.
I have heard the word goldbricking before but never really stopped to think how it came about. It seems that if union bricklayers were intentionally moving slowly, the bricks they were lifting would become so heavy, as if they were made of gold, thereby causing them to move ultra slowly.
But anyway, we had reached a loll in our work sometime close to our lunch hour so I suggested to the group that day that we all use the extra half hour to walk over together and donate blood. Yep, that’s me – the good leader setting the example.
There were maybe 7 of us, The Magnificent Seven I guess you could say. Instead of taking a lot of blood though, this magnificent seven was looking to give blood. As any good leader would do, I stepped up first and filled out my paperwork. As I began rolling up my sleeve, the young lady attendant, (nurse I presume), called to me:
Nurse – “Hey, are you really taking Coumadin?”
Pause for back story
Oh yeah, I should have told you, reader….after going back for a calcium cleanup in my leg after my accident, I developed DVT (deep vein thrombosis), and was now taking Coumadin to reduce the risk of clotting. I hadn’t done this intentionally. I just didn’t give it any forethought. It’s funny too. When I came to California, my new family doctor told me that the Coumadin level I was taking wasn’t even a normal prescribed level. She didn’t tell me to stop taking it. She educated me and then told me to make a decision. I decided to stop taking it and instead moved onto just an aspirin a day.
Me – yes, is that a problem?
Nurse – well, you can’t give blood if you’re on a thinner.
Me – oh.
Everyone was looking at me. Some were laughing. Others were teasing me, saying I knew I couldn’t give blood and had just rounded everyone up, knowing all the time that I’d be turned away. My friend, Kim was cracking up, laughing so hard I thought she’d pee herself.
I looked at them all and shrugged my shoulders and said:
oh well, I guess I’ll see y’all back at the office when you’re finished giving your blood. Don’t forget to drink your juice.