The blood tests were done at our local children’s hospital, but at a satellite clinic, not the main hospital. The blood guy promised me he was an expert on tiny arms and she would be fine. Bwa-ha-ha! But she wasn’t. He poked her four times before he was able to draw a tiny bit of blood. Each time he missed the vein and prodded that needle in her thin arm while she screamed her heart out. He brought in a supervisor. She poked what was left of her tiny vein and missed again. Then they brought out her little feet. They were already criss-crossed with scabs and scars from all the billi-rubin pokes. That didn’t stop them. Two big jabs together would make it bleed enough to fill the tubes they said.
So they jabbed her. She screamed. The tears leaked slowly from my eyes and dropped on her blanket. I tried to comfort her tiny quivering body as they massaged the blood from her legs into her feet and then into the endless pile of tubes. "It’s drying up," complained the nurse. "Shall I poke her again?" The supervisor looked through her stash. "Maybe it’s enough…" she answered skeptically. "Why don’t you send them up to the lab and we will see?" She looked at me. "You can wait here until we know." The nurse left with the vials and the supervisor hovered in the room. She adjusted the light and closed the door.
My Baby Doll whimpered on the table. They had strapped her down to keep her from moving. The vampire examined her tiny arms…first one, then the other. "I think I can fill that last vial from this one," she said as she snapped the gloves in place. When she plunged the needle one more time into that tiny arm, I learned something. I didn’t have to stand there and let them torture my fragile child. As soon as the blood didn’t flow smoothly into the vial and the needle started prodding, I spoke up. "No!" I said. "We’re done."
|Willem Dafoe "Shadow of the Vampire."|
She pulled the needle away; I popped the straps on the bed and picked up my precious child. Her screaming subsided as I cradled her in my arms. Her health and welfare were my responsibility, but she was not a piece of meat nor was she an interesting challenge for the medical community. As it turned out, they had enough blood to run all the tests and she was fine. It took until the first part of December for all the yellow to leave her system. And when it was finally gone, she started growing like a weed. Now at nearly six months she is pink and round and chubby as a little butterball. She still has tiny scars on her feet, but at least there are no teeth marks on her neck.