You really never do know what a day will hold. Sunday morn we got up and had a lovely breakfast on our balcony (pics to follow in a later post) before leaving for church. When we got to church, a group of about 40 people were standing together across the street from our church, staring at all of us as we drove up and entered. Firstborn finally uttered aloud what we were all silently wondering when she said, “Well, most likely they aren’t planning to bomb the church today, I mean, there are some kids with them at least.” (Just reality.) Thankfully we found out after entering that they were a group of Iranian refugees, brought together by our fellowship, on their way to a picnic outside of town. That was nice to know.
And then an announcement was made that a Turkish brother was in desperate need of O negative blood, a rare blood type. Soon after, I saw CC do something he’s never done before. He sat down during the singing. I knew immediately why. He’s O negative, and he was already queasy thinking of donating his blood. I was right. (Anyone ever known your spouse like that when no one else has any idea?) We came home from church and at 1:50PM he prepared to meet the small group going to the hospital to donate. I suggested that I go with him. Then the debate began… CC: I don’t need your help. I’ll be fine. Me: Oh, I know, honey. I just want to go. It would be a neat experience. CC: I don’t need you to baby me. I won’t pass out. Me: I’m not going to baby you. I’m your wife, not your mother. I just would like to be there. CC: This is ridiculous. Why do you want to go? You want to go because you think I’ll pass out. Me: No, really, I just thought I’d be there in case you need something, but really I just think it would be a good blog post, and I’d like to go pray for our brother in the hospital. CC: Ok, but I don’t need you. And on and on it went, but in the end he let me go. When we got there, CC had to fill out a form. Then the nurses explained to him that actually it was not just blood that was needed, but plasma and platelets. It would be a 4 hour process. They had him walk through the blood donating room several times for different forms and tests and signatures. Each time, CC got greener and greener. I really tried to not notice, not “baby” him, not say anything. But finally I said, “You don’t look so good, are you ok?” He then went into the men’s room and came back out and said, “Wow! I really am white as a sheet. I’ve always wondered what you meant when you said that. Even my lips are white!” I took the opportunity to inform CC that when he got really mad, his lips turned white just like that! The process was long. One test, then wait. Then instructions to go get a good meal, come back in 1.5 hours, while they ran another test. We had just eaten a good lunch, and CC admitted he may not be able to put any more food away. But a Turkish brother overseeing this donation drive took us for some delicious Turkish meatballs. CC ate every bite. We returned, and the nurse said the donation would be acceptable. At that point, we suggested our brother helping us could leave, we’d be fine. They hooked CC up to the machine. Not only would they take blood out, the machine would filter it of all the plasma and platelets that it needed, then filter it back into his system. I told him for a first time donation, he really went all out! He did JUST fine as long as he didn’t look around.
Things weren’t quite done as they would be back home, but anyway, it was an adventure.
The really precious thing to me is that when we realized we’d be there all day, I called home to see if Firstborn could handle keeping everyone. She said to me, “You just take good care of Papa while he helps that man, I’ve got it covered here.” At one point when the blood was put back into his system, he said he began to feel tingling in his mouth and face. Not sure how to explain this in Turkish, I called our brother on the phone and asked him to tell the nurse. She replied to him, “It’s ok if he tingles, as long as it is not in his face or lips.” !!!! “It is!” I yelled. Then some of the strangeness of the day increased. She said, “Go get him some ayran.” Ayran is a Turkish yogurt drink, which contains salt. In the US, they would call the food preparation folks to come bring it. Here it is more of a DIY thing in hospitals (Do It Yourself). I asked, “Where?” knowing the cafeteria had closed at 6PM. The orderly instructed me to run to the emergency room wing, go to the little store across that street, and buy him ayran. I did that. They replied, “Oh, we don’t have any.” Then one helpful young man said to me in Turkish, “Is it an emergency?” I said, “Yes!” (thinking how weird it was that this yogurt drink and its acquisition could rise to that level). He told me to run through the parking lot to the little restaurant on the other side. I did that. I found ayran, bought 2 drinks, then ran back. True to her word, when CC drank them, the tingling stopped. Trying to keep him from feeling faint, I kept the conversation light. We joked about the Miracle Drink Ayran. We also joked about how the ‘other guy’ got the machine that said, “Designed for Donor Comfort,” but not CC.
In the end, the patient did great. He never passed out. In fact, he never turned white again while donating, just when seeing everyone else donating. I drove him home, basking in the many, many times he said, “I sure am glad you came. I had no idea what was in store.” When we arrived home, Firstborn and a sister had baked a batch of cookies and also a chocolate-chip, iced, and strawberry-laden cake with the note, “Surprise! We were praying for you and I just know you’ve pleased God by serving this sickly man.” And after those two hearty meals, CC downed half the cake that night.
May God keep our brother in the hospital in perfect peace.