WORST AID

I was about three years old when I discovered people had blood inside them. It was quite a shock. I’d pierced my foot on a piece of glass at the beach and half expected something like sugar and spice or maybe snips and snails to come out, but instead this red stuff started dripping onto the sand. What a disgusting arrangement! I still feel the same way.

Eventually I was happy to learn most grownups could calmly deal with minor lacerations and punctures. I hoped I would have the same attitude and talent when I grew up, but it never happened. The sight of escaping blood, my own or anybody’s, still gives me feelings of uneasiness, apprehension and, okay, panic.

I can’t avoid thinking during these dramatic situations that the victim is losing a life-sustaining fluid with only a few quarts available. Something must be done immediately! In the meantime I’m fighting off a fainting spell and running in circles.

I was fortunate enough as I grew up to have normal people on hand during these critical moments, but then I advanced into fatherhood and sometimes found I was the only blood-stopper available when one was needed.

“Daddy gave me worst aid,” my little son reported to my wife when she returned from a shopping trip one day. He proudly displayed his tiny arm swathed in a great bulging mass of gauze and adhesive tape.

“Oh dear,” my wife gasped. “Maybe we should take him to the emergency room!”

“No,” I replied. “It’s not much of a cut. I got a little carried away and I never learned how to tear gauze, so I used the entire roll.”

“Does your arm hurt much, Stevie?” she asked.

“No, Mommy, but it’s very tired. The bandage is heavy. It’s only a little cut, Mommy. Do you want to look at it?”

“No, Dear. I don’t think we should disturb the bandage now.”

“We don’t have to, Mommy. The cut is on the other arm. I tried to tell Daddy, but he was so excited.”

Fortunately, my kids are self-sealing and over the years they became better medics than me, not even bothering to report every minor wound. They knew I had a tendency to overreact and my nosebleed treatment, while quite effective, had the unpleasant possible side effect of asphyxiation.

In spite of this constitutional weakness, I’ve been able to lead a fairly normal life as long as no one around me springs a life-threatening leak. Surprisingly I’ve also managed to be a blood donor and found it’s quite a painless, fulfilling method of doing something for mankind and also lose a little weight in the bargain. The blood test and the blood-letting takes only about a half hour and I’ve found it’s quite easy to keep my eyes shut for that short time.


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