Overdrawn

“You ever given blood before?”
She asked as I walked in the door.
She grabbed my arm, inflicting pain,
And said, “C’mon, let’s see that vein!”
I said to Ms. Vampire, R.N.,
“It’s sure nice seeing you again,
But could you let me be a minute?
That’s just my sleeve—my arm is in it!”

Her next attack was from an arsenal
Of questions that were way too personal.
"Have you ever visited the Congo?
Played on someone else's bongo?
Ever EVER shared a needle?
Dressed up like a lady beetle?
Ever traded sex for money?
(And-why-do-you-think-that's-so-funny?!)

"Have you had any trouble swallowing?
Experiences like the following:
Daytime chills, or cold night sweats
(Aside from rooting for the Mets)?
Unexplainable weight loss?
Pickled beets with chocolate sauce?
Tattoos, or a blood transfusion?
Questions that are an intrusion?"

She finally stopped her long barrage;
And left me to her entourage.
I pondered blood bank etiquette
While waiting for my turn…iquet.
Should I say, if they hear a thud
It’s just I faint at sight of blood?
Or warn them, when they prick my ear,
That wad of gum’s been there all year?

My musings, though, were broken off
By someone's loud, important cough.
The chamber light began to darken,
It seemed as if to bid me hearken;
I looked up just in time to see
The specter standing over me
And feared right then for limb and life--
Count Dracula's bloodletting wife!

She sat me down and felt my wrist
And said, that sanguine masochist,
Her eyes a-swim in joyful tears,
"Your pulse is music to my ears."
And then she shoved in that thermometer
To gag and almost make me a vomit, or,
Worse—knowing that I can't reply—
To ask me questions ending "why?"

She gathered stats without relenting,
My body all the while tormenting.
Her manner seemed to me quite rough:
She gave me a blood pressure cuff,
And, speaking sphygmomanometrically,
Saw mine was high and clapped with glee.
"Now, why is that so good?" I asked her.
"It makes your blood flow out much faster!"

By this time I was quite delirious;
Her bearing turned a bit more serious.
"You'll never feel a twinge or pang,"
She said, and sharpened up her fang.
She pricked, and 'fore I shouted "Yipe!",
She said, "To see if you're my type,"
And then, as if to ease my mind,
"B negative--my favorite kind!"

She led me to the altar cot,
Where sacrifices bleed a lot.
I saw the tubes--half-inch diameters;
She murmured, "This is NOT for amateurs."
And hooked me up and took a stroll
To torture another helpless soul
Whose skin was looking rather pallid,
And muscles like last week's tossed salad.

When she returned she squeezed my hand—
I thought I saw the Promised Land—
I asked her, "Will it be much longer?"
And felt her grip grow even stronger.
"You seem to be the rugged sort;
I think I'll take another quart."
I think that I shall not go back
Again to visit Mrs. Drac.

—Anemi-A. Mouse

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