The image of a 70 year old flashes through my brain. Lying on a bed in some room in a government hospital. Not much hopes, other than a painless death.
“On Strike! On Strike!”.
The holy chants which get any student excited about the whole day ahead. I, like my classmates, flung the bag on my shoulders and headed for the exit. Outside, the usual sights - huge crowd getting ready to chant ”Principale Murachi”, girls – lined up on the corridors catching up on all the gossip they missed during the weekend, bujis - waiting to jump the gates, so that they can go home and study. I headed towards the canteen, wanting to gulp down some of the inedible food served there. The way is blocked by two familiar looking faces. Shiyas comes upto me and asks “Eda, you have B+ blood ?” I reply with a simple nod. The next thing i know, i am on the way to the Regional Cancer Centre(RCC) in Medical College, Trivandrum.
Reached there with a couple of my friends around 11 am. Two middle aged people come greet us and take us towards the direction of the blood bank. There i was asked to fill up a form, details about my medical history. When i handed over my form to the doctor i was asked to write the patient’s names. That’s when i first heard it –
The name meant nothing to me, then. I was explained the process where i had to undergo a special kind of blood donation requiring me giving only the platelets in my blood. It sounded a little different than the normal procedure and it definetely took longer. Being a first time donor, several doubts arised in my mind but i was determined not to back down.
So i was asked to give my blood for testing and reach in the wee hours on the next day because this process took long hours for completion.
I reached RCC by 8 o’clock. Had to buy the kit and take care of somethings.
“Akmal. Akmal Zamrood”
The nurse called out my name. Iniside a room i was taken, where there were a couple of doctors accompanied by lab technicians and nurses. All of them seemed to be studying the machine, which was to be used in the extraction. Without further due, the preps were made, and doctors asked me to relax and i could feel the syringe needle, peircing through my blood vessels and finding itself a comfort spot to stay for the next hour and a half. During the time period my blood had to go through 7 cycles. Each cycle consisting of my blood being forced into the machine, where the platelets are seperated from the rest and being pumped back into my body. Each cycle took 12.5 minutes to complete. During the whole time, i was busy thinking about people who made me happy - trying to keep my B.P. as low as possible. Finally after an hour and a half the doctor tells me that the process is finished and that i can leave. On my way out i see the bag of platelets i leave behind. 250ml of fluid that could save somebody’s life.
As i am escorted out, the middle aged man – Faisal, comes and asks me to accompany him upto the room. I follow him without any hesitation. Upon reaching room no. 4, on the 5th floor, i enter and see a sight that moved me. Nabeesa Zafar, staring out the window. I wonder what she’s thinking.Maybe about what it is to die. Maybe how painful and unexpected death can be.
I am greeted by her only daughter. And nabeesa asks me to sit besides her. Faisal, hands me a packet of biscuit and a mini carton of juice to drink. Nabeesa and her daughter enquire about my whearabouts. And after having a chat with them, i offer myself out.
Nabeesa Zafar. 70 years of age. Terminal cancer. Needs a transplant. But doesnt have the required platelet count.
That’s where i fit into the story.
Till then the name meant nothing to me. But now it does.
Something that will remain in my mind forever will be the first time i donated blood.
Be a blood donor. Save a life.