DAY 71: Thursday 28 May
Good morning all
Today I have to send a blood sample for analysis for the coronavirus research project. I don’t know why I was selected out of tens of thousands potential volunteers across the UK, especially as to the best of my knowledge I have not had the virus, but I am happy to be of assistance to the scientists. There is one concern in my mind though – I have to take the sample here at home and instructions have come with the kit. I have always had a degree of nervousness to any needles even administered by a professional (small scratch indeed – who are they kidding!!), but to deliberately bodge my own finger with something akin to a staple remover is bad enough, but then I have to fill a small test tube with my precious red stuff. They only want 5ml but when I look at the 5ml mark on the tube, I am reminded of the famous Tony Hancock sketch ‘The Blood Donor’ when he utters the immortal words ‘a pint, that’s very nearly an armful’.
I do realise that all of you will have given blood samples, some of you on a regular basis, and never make an issue of it. Doing any DIY task inevitably seems to end up drawing blood from some part of my anatomy and often I don’t even notice, but the thought of performing a deliberate act of ‘self-harm’ even in the name of science just seems strange.
Anyway, I’m assured I’ll live and if not, Karen will have to assume responsibility for future emails.
Giving blood is something that I think we all respect – blood donors have been a vital element of our health system for decades and the need will continue. We respect anyone who ‘gives blood’ as it is an admirable voluntary action for the benefit of others, usually for complete strangers. I’m sure some of you have been ‘blood donors’ over the years and maybe still are.
Voluntarily donating blood contrasts starkly with the millions who have shed their blood in conflicts over generations. The servicemen in 2 World Wars last century and in other more recent conflicts are rightly and justly remembered especially on special occasions throughout the year such as Remembrance Day. Then we cannot forget the millions of innocent civilians across the world who even today lose their lives to conflict or persecution.
Blood brother can refer to one of two things: a male related by birth, or two or more men not related by birth who have sworn loyalty to each other where, in days of old, they would literally each draw blood as a symbol of their undying friendship and would then call themselves ‘blood brothers’. We have been reminded earlier this month of the famous speech delivered 80 years ago by Winston Churchill "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat". The servicemen who fought alongside in the trenches and saw so many of their friends not return from the conflict would no doubt consider themselves as ‘blood brothers’.
We sometimes use the expression ‘sweating blood’ to imply we have worked so hard on some task to the absolute limits of our strength and capability. It’s when someone diligently makes an extraordinarily strenuous effort to achieve something. It is a medical condition known as Hematidrosis.
You will also remember the occasion in the Bible where, just hours before Jesus’ arrest and execution, it says that Jesus was in such anguish that he sweat blood as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Luke 22:44 - And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
An old hymn has seen a new lease of life recently, but one of the original verses unfortunately doesn’t appear in any recent recordings I could find.
The words of the missing verse say -
For me it was in the Garden, he prayed: ‘Not my will, but Thine.’
He had no tears for His own grief but sweat drops of blood for mine.
You can sing the rest of the hymn along with this recording from a Keswick Convention meeting >>> https://youtu.be/Q-g-A1HM-kY
MAKE YOU SMILE: - more signs of getting old -
• You know all the answers, but nobody’s asking you the right questions.
• You no longer regard speed limits as a challenge.
• You sing along with the music in the lift.
• You sink your teeth into a steak …and they stay there.
• You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.
• You wonder how you could be over the hill when you don’t even remember being on top of it.
• You can live without sex but not without your glasses.