Sunday, June 12, 2022

Captive Audience

 I had to hold very still. I was advised by medical professionals to do just that. I took them at their word, and I tried as hard as I could to relax. The machinery around and behind kept me from drifting off. The light pinch I felt in both arms from needles that had been inserted for this procedure faded into the background and my attention turned to the screen in front of me. 

I had been putting off watching the last few episodes of the Netflix series Ozark for several months. After blazing through the first three seasons, I felt hesitant about letting go. I was fairly certain that things would end badly for a number of the main characters, many of whom for which I had generated some mild affection. The story of money laundering and drug cartels captured my attention for its odd balance between family and crime dramas. Part of me wanted to see what was going to happen to Jason Bateman and his brood.

And now, stuck in this recliner built for comfort as well as the function it served, I was going to try and finish off that last little bit of story. I was there to donate platelets, so I might as well pack in a little of what I had been missing for all those months. 

My left hand kept its rhythmic squeezing, while my right laid there limp. My blood was pouring out one side, and after those all important white blood cells had been scraped off, siphoning back into the other. This was no fifteen minute whole blood donation. This was a medical procedure, and I tried not to focus on the tubes and wires, and the intermittent pinging sound as each new sample was separated. 

Instead, I stared intently into the woods surrounding The Lake of the Ozarks, trying to imagine how anything good could come from all this lying and deceit. Over the course of two hours things went from bad to worse which, knowing the Byrde family saga, was the expected trajectory. 

And then the final bell rang. With forty-five minutes of life and death consequences ahead, I had completed my donation. The phlebotomist who was taking out the needles and placing bandages over the new holes created in my arms was sympathetic. She even offered up the bed for another hour if I really needed to see what happened next. 

I told her that those two hours had put me close enough to the finish line that I could probably find a few extra moments to put the final nail in that coffin, if you'll pardon the expression. She did. 

I went home to nurse my wounds and to find out how the story ends. 

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