It was my first appearance at ice-level in Montreal’s BELL Centre, home of the illustrious Montreal Canadiens hockey team And wouldn’t you just know it, my big chance to make an impression and I ended up flat on my back.
At least from my vantage point I had a great view of the numerous banners suspended from the rafters. Twenty-four indicating Stanley Cup victories and numerous retired numbers once worn by great former players of exceptional skill. It isn’t hard to be humbled by such grandeur, especially when you are in a prone position.
Michel Therrien, the current head coach of the Habs, as they are known familiarly, made a point of coming over and asking me how I was. Once I assured him that all was fine, we shook hands and he moved on to others.
As I lay there, a member of the medical team asked me a series of questions: my full name, date of birth, address and whether or not I had traveled to certain countries. I assumed this was a standard precaution in this era of concussions, and was pleased to have answered them all correctly.
Relieved that my ability to state my full name had confirmed that I was not concussed, I then noticed I was bleeding! As I looked to my right – I’m not crazy about the sight of blood – I could feel what I assumed was a member of the training staff adhering several pieces of tape to my left arm. This must have been an effort to control the flow of blood. Still I kept my eyes riveted on the upper extremes of the BELL Centre, where a few hundred people now sat, as first one then another technician worked on my bleeding arm. I don’t know what happened but I can assure you I felt no pain whatsoever.
After about ten minutes of this they were satisfied that I was ready to be moved. They helped me get to my feet and someone walked me to a stretcher with an elevated head, much like a chaises lounge, where I lay for five more minutes. No longer staring straight up, I was able to take in the action at ice-level. Team mascot Youppi!, originally with the Montreal Expos, was working the crowd, so I knew things were still ongoing. I could also see several team members zigzagging, making their way about in their hallowed red Montreal Canadiens jerseys.
After five minutes a final piece of adhesive tape, holding a square of gauze in place, was applied to the bleeding point on my arm and I went for follow-up treatment.
Stitches, physio, medications? Nope. Steamed hot dogs, chips, cookies, and a soft drink were in order! As you may have guessed by now I had not been injured during some athletic activity, but was pleased to be donating blood at the annual Montreal Canadiens-evenko Blood Drive! The goal was 750 units and I heard they reached 900 units. Bravo!