One of the things I have tried to make a priority in the blog is telling things as they are. That would include the weird and not-so-charming parts being a transplanter and being human.
And….one of the most human things is wanting to be accepted and popular. Maybe it goes back to some anthro-biological survival imperative that acceptance into the cooperative survival unit blah blah blah (you can tell I’ve been reading about prehistory and anthropology lately…for fun…). But, I have to admit, I love showing off just how “in” I am at MGH.
I shouldn’t care. I should be compassionate and humble. I should be anonymous. But, I’m not. I’m human, and I’ve never really belonged anywhere in any kind of popular group. Even my mixed ethnicity means I only half fit in with Indians and Europeans.
But damn, if I don’t feel like the head cheerleader at MGH as I sashay into the blood lab.
I smile with easy compassion for those who are confused and daunted by the busy check-in desk. I bask – literally bask – at the delighted coos and cries of welcome from the phlebotomists who have been my friends for more than ten years now.
We’ve cried over my veins, fainted over my veins, prayed over my veins (“The blood is flowin’! Praise Lord Jesus, keep it comin’!”), and been through more tubes than a small meth lab. They check over my outfits, comment on my handbags, tell me how they think I’m looking, ask me about my handsome husband, talk about their families and lives, and just pass the time of day.
I feel like a minor celebrity as I head back to the blood draw area, waving, calling out hellos, and giving hugs to my friends. Other patients look at me in wide-eyed curiosity. I must be SOMEBODY. I’m a puzzle and an anachronism, someone who is so at ease in the blood lab that it’s no big deal to be there. Then someone sticks a needle in their arm and they forget about me. Which is as it should be.
Should I be admitting this? Probably not. I’m supposed to be a dignified example of model transplanter behavior. But, I’m not. So there it is. It’s the same in the Transplant Clinic and at Dr. B’s office. It must be my natural charm and charisma. Maybe not. Maybe it’s because I do try to be easygoing and cheerful and look on the bright side of things. Even when I get bad news. I just take a deep breath and ask what I need to do. No fuss. Just get it done.
Maybe it’s because I’m insistent on the fact that my health is not the center of my life. I’m always reading weird, esoteric books, cooking things, doing something fun and crazy with friends, rock-climbing, writing, or doing something else other than thinking about my health. Perhaps that comes across in my time with those who are charged with caring for me, and they understand that what we do together is important because I am MORE than just my transplant, and it’s important for me to stay MORE.
Huh. Maybe I’m not such a bad example of transplanter behavior after all.
One good example I set a few weeks ago was getting my flu shot. Did you get yours? DO EEET!