I learned a valuable lesson today about myself. I should never give blood in the morning.
I got up around 9 a.m., ate at 9:30 and went to give blood around 10. I didn’t think about the possibility of not having digested that food yet. After donating I was really lightheaded and stayed on the bloodmobile until nearly 11. The staff took great care of me and a friend of one of my roommates made sure I made it back to the village without passing out.
On top of being lightheaded (which eventually went away with more fluids and food) the whole experience wasn’t as great as the last two times I’ve given. My biggest problem? Arm hair. Their tourniquet really hurts when it pulls arm hair, and since I’m a slow giver for some reason (they always have to tell me to do something different or tighten the tourniquet to get my blood flowing faster) I always end up with a sore arm. This was compounded today because I ended up with a bruised arm from the needle. That’s nice and sore now.
So the moral of the story is to give blood in the afternoon. And possibly go to bloodmobile #4, because I ended up with a bruise from the staff on #3. Maybe that’s just a coincidence.
I am back!
And now with nearly one whole day behind me since flying back yesterday, I feel like I’m recovering nicely from any jetlag.
My travels to get here were certainly interesting, as some of you have already heard. For those who don’t know, I almost had to spend the night in Amsterdam yesterday after I was put “on standby” when I got to the AMS airport. When I checked in at Tegel Airport in Berlin the check-in people couldn’t give me a boarding pass for the flight from Amsterdam to Memphis, so they told me to go to the transfer desk at AMS. As it turns out, there are 8 transfer desks at AMS, but I quickly figured out with a transfer desk near the beginning of every specific gate hallway (B through H and M) and assumed that I should go to the desk for the gate of my flight (E9).
I was correct, and stood in line at the desk for nearly half an hour just to have the attendant tell me that they overbooked the flight because they have so many transfers (whatever that means) and that at that point I didn’t have a seat on the plane. She told me to go to the gate and go through security (at the gate) and that at the desk for that flight they would try to get me a seat. I wasn’t the only one waiting; four other people were currently seatless. One guy who looked like a business traveler got his seat fairly quickly, within about five minutes of sitting down. Then about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time the other three got seats, and I was the last person waiting. Finally, after all the last two or three last-minute passengers showed up and went through security, the staff found me a seat. I then went into the tunnel to get on the plane (nearly the last in line) and as I waited a stewardess came up the tunnel from the plane asking for a Mr. Cook. She changed my seat on the spot in pen, as I assume someone had the seat they assigned to me.
In the end, it was a great seat. I had the aisle seat on the second row of the economy class seating, which meant that I was one of the first to get food and drink service and was one of the first people off the plane in Memphis. The flight itself was pretty much uneventful, if not a little annoying because my “neighbor” in the window seat next to me was a 9 or 10 year old boy whose family (of 4 other kids plus his mom) were somewhere in the back of the plane. The first several hours were the annoying part, as he kept the window shade up, letting in the blinding sunlight on the video screens. I eventually switched to my iPod (for as long as its battery would hold out) and eventually went to sleep. The service was great, the food was better than usual, and the flight arrived in Memphis about 40 minutes early, so on the whole I can’t complain.
After riding to Jackson with Mom and Dad, we ate at Chik-fil-a and went to Granny and Pop’s house for dessert and to get the key to Anita’s house were I spent the night. I’ve been doing laundry, working on photos, and entertaining myself online while waiting for them to get back from their Destin vacation. They should get back at 6:15 according to their borrowed GPS. Only 37 more minutes to go!