Some time late next week, once the dreaded “B” cycle begins again, I will probably need another transfusion to prevent my platelets and hemoglobin from dropping to levels so low that I actually slip between the cushions of the couch. Two bags of blood await: one is a holy bag, the descendants of Abraham’s finest in the form of blood from my Rabbi; the other, a bag from my friend Brian, a local Philly guy who is such a rabid Philly sports fan that I fear his blood will just make me sit in the corner and cry for days about blown chances.
The bag of blood I unfortunately won’t be getting is from my sister Andrea, who has been truly amazing during this time, coming down for my treatments, and especially taking good care of Jacqui and Otis while I am in the hospital. My sister, it turns out, despite being an A+ blood donor match, is ineligible to give me blood. Exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus from a long-ago bout with mono (because EBV is may be a contributing factor to some lymphomas, the folks at the blood bank suggest I steer clear). Damn you, boy with mono who kissed my sister in the 9th grade!!!
And while the Rabbi’s blood might have me dancing The Hora and eating too much whitefish, and Brian’s blood might send me running out for a Philly cheese steak, I’ve been wondering what Andrea’s blood might have done for me? Andrea’s empathetic abilities (she is a social worker, after all) would, I am convinced, have finally qualified me for the position of ship’s counselor aboard the Starship Enterprise. There I would be, standing besides Captain Picard, using my empathetic senses to warn him that the evil Romulan was hiding something. And it would have been Andrea’s other wonderful trait, her free spirit, now coursing through my veins, that would have led me into joining Star Fleet in the first place.
Andrea is my little sister, which means that since she was born she suffered through brutal teasing, the occasional pulling of hair, and certainly the “I am too cool for you and your little friends” years of high school (save, of course, her one little friend who crawled into my bed at 2am the night before I left for college). But through it all she always showed unswerving love and dedication to her big brother, and has most importantly, forgiven me for torturing her. With her blood in my veins would that mean that I’d actually be easier on myself?
And while blood may be the literal gift of life, I say to my sister (assuming I get the holy blood): “Behold, Andrea! While thou may not giveth thy brother the corpuscles of life, thou are thy brother’s keeper, and hath giveth him so much more.”