Today was my first day volunteering at the community blood bank. I’ve donated blood numerous times, but always at a mobile bus. I had never been to the glitzy glass and steel, architectural wonder that is the actual bank. I was curious as to why the building is surrounded by eight foot high iron fences, with badge-only access doors. I found out why.
After a short orientation of the basic rules and guidelines, the volunteer coordinator (VC) took another volunteer and me over to the building where we would be working. As we spiraled through the halls, we saw random stacks of red coolers in nooks, crannies, and sometimes, just along the wall. Almost all of them contained bags of blood and blood products. It was enough to send a goth chick into Twilight orgasmia.
The inside of the building is just as glitzy and glassy as the outside. All of the labs are behind giant glass windows, with the name of the lab spelled out in negative frosted splendor at the top. I couldn’t decide if I was Charlie in the chocolate factory, gazing through at the magical Oompa-Loompas, or in an Edward Gorey version of Krispy Kreme. As the VC pointed out various departments and their functions, she offered to set up meetings for us with the tissue lab, so we could watch them process various body parts. Now there’s an offer one doesn’t get every day.
Since this is strictly an unpaid gig, (and the VC had us sign a sheet saying we understood we were not going to get paid) most of the volunteers are there for some other reason. Some are there because their trade school requires so many hours of externship before they can graduate. Some are there because they have just graduated from college, and are looking for a job.
And then there’s me. I need a good reference, and resumé fodder. I’ve only worked two out of the last six years, leaving me with some large empty spaces in my work history. I figured volunteering would be a great way to get a reference, and get some experience in a medical-type office. This is why, as I worked at various tasks, I thought about how I could phrase a bullet point so it sounds impressive. One of the tasks was to push a cart with nine boxes of test results downstairs and put them in a giant trash can so they can be taken offsite and shredded. I have to admit, this is the translation that tickles me most: “Transported confidential medical records to ensure HIPPA compliant disposal.”
Yes, I know if all else fails, at least I have a good shot at a career in employment services. Or writing fiction. Same thing.
“Nothing fills the blackness that has seeped into my chest. I need you in my blood, I am forsaking all the rest.”