Sunday, January 04, 2009

I can't remember the last time I donated blood and there's nothing wrong with it but I can't help replaying that opening scene in the Blade II where a group of Czech vampires run a blood bank draining everything from the poor souls (that's until they got their comeuppance). That's what's on my mind on the way to the Philippine Heart Center to donate blood for, Barry, a friend from SKP who sorely needs it (he's getting a double bypass tomorrow). It didn't help much that there weren't that much people inside the building when I got there except for a few guards sitting around and some noise from what seems to be a late Christmas party going on inside one of the bigger offices on the way to the blood bank.

The feeling for creepiness was quickly replaced by a slight awkwardness when I got to the lobby of the blood bank and there was a group of people initially chatting around but stopped a bit when they saw me. It was the same feeling if you're familiar with Spaghetti Westerns where folks inside the saloon stops taking to assess the stranger coming through the doors. I quickly went to the counter, avoiding the stares some were still throwing at me to ask where do I start. I was given a couple of forms to fill up and then I was asked to sit down and wait for my name to be called. I tried my best to be inconspicuous while scanning the surrounding people hoping to catch a dialogue or two that would clue me in to them as either relatives or friends of the one I'm visiting (I even caught some amusing caught some anecdotes from some). I quickly deduced there were at least three groups and none of them seemed to be related to Barry. I haven't sat there for long when I heard the bank calling my name, a short interview ensued, back to my seat and after a few more minutes of waiting I was called back to have my blood tested. That's when I was asked to come back after an hour after checking if I pass the final test or not.

I went to Barry's room to pay him a short visit while waiting for the hour to run out. He was billeted in one of those large rooms where three patients share at the same time. He was doing fine despite the operation coming tomorrow. He was more worried about the bills and missing out on the Christmas parties, SKP meetings, the New Year's eve celebration, etc. We swapped stories and news and on the issue of the delicate operation he was facing, he just plainly said he was ready to go if anything happens. He's already made peace with God and he's got no problems with the Lord calling him home if that's what happens. We had a good time chatting (along with a business associate who also dropped by) before you know it an hour has already passed.

I went back to the blood bank just in time to hear my name being called. I passed the stringent exams! There were five of us in the room, I got first pick for the bed and the first prick for the donation while conveniently watching Goin' Bulilit on the small screen they provided for the room (first time I saw it and got a good laugh out of the comedy sketches). We finished after about thirty minutes and got to watch the first part of The Singing Bee with the PBA greats like Jerry Codinera, Alvin Teng, Ato Agustin, Johnny Abarrientos, Ronnie Magsanoc, Bong Alvarez, etc. with their wives and kids gamely trying to carry a tune on national television for moolah. I wanted to stay and watch but I had to go. These pictures below were taken on the courtyard behind the buildings on the way to the exit. I know that traditionally Christmas ends today but I sure wish the cold air could continue on for 6 more months.

Got home around 8 pm, fed the dogs after which there wasn't enough time to check out the malls so I just went out to eat across the road. There wasn't much of a budget to speak of so that limited my choices to the smaller food places scattered around the call centers. I settled for Mang Pedro's Chicken Inasal, ate my dinner while being greatly entertained by their TV ads being looped on the hanging TV screen near the counter.

I went home after that hearty repast.

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