March 8th, 2005

Brian and Anne

the shock value of an image is not always proportionate to the situation...

We gave blood yesterday. While the nurse was setting me up, she ripped open a packet that had an iodine swab in it, and iodine splattered across my lap. Mostly it splattered across some pages of donation info as well as the open face of the book I was reading, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Cory Doctorow.

So I'm reading a book, holding it open with my left hand, my right arm having tubes taped to it and such, and something bright, deep red splatters across the page.

At first I stare at it, willing it not to be blood. Finally I look up at the nurse, who is also a little shocked. It's quickly clear that this is iodine, not blood. In dismay I look back down at my stained book. The iodine is darkening to brown. There's nothing I can do -- my right arm is stuck on the pad with tubes attached to it. My initial reflex to move it was halted by the nurse's hand on my wrist. Iodine reacts fast with paper anyway. If I let go with my left hand to grab something to clean it with, the book will close and more of the paper will get iodine on it. The nurse comments this is the second swab packet to do that to her this week (!) She apologizes. I confirm it's no big deal.

I even manage to relax by the time, only a short minute later, that the nurse inserts the needle in my arm. She was perfectly competent at that, thank heaven...