Wednesday, June 08, 2005
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I lay in bed wide awake but without moving a muscle for about half an hour, eyes closed, breathing slowly and deeply. Suddenly I felt a cool rushing sensation in my left arm, as if a wave had rolled over it, or more precisely through it. Alarmed, I opened my eyes and looked over at my IV machine—and found that the mefloxin (antibiotic) drip had run its course and that I was now getting straight saline. Holy shit, I thought, I felt the switchover. The rushing sensation no doubt had to do with the rate of the drip—the mefloxin was set to 100 ml/hr, the saline to 175—but the feeling of being “watered” was distinct.
Back when I was a debauched undergraduate my friends and I would donate plasma a couple times a week to raise money for bouts of binge drinking and the occasional peanut butter sandwich. From my point of view the only enjoyable thing about laying on a couch watching Pretty Woman for the umpteempth time with a huge needle in my arm was the sensation of having my desiccated blood pumped back into my veins. A coolness would slowly work its way up my arm and into my shoulder. When it finally got to my heart there would be a sudden, sharp all over chill and then it would be over and there'd be nothing except a dull pain in my arm and the hope that Julia Roberts and Richard Gere could somehow make it all work.