Tired Blood




"I can't move an inch," she said from the bed. She had sat down a few minutes before to put on her shoes, but then she had fallen over, her back hitting the top of the mattress, her head bouncing on the mattress twice before settling down. She lay there now, very still.

"Not even an inch?" I asked.

"I have tired blood," she said.

"How did you get tired blood?" I asked, wondering how Wonder Woman could lie so still when the day had barely begun.

"My energy's sapped," she said.

"Sapped? Does that mean you're too tired to quilt?" I asked. That was the real question. If she were too tired to quilt, then the end of the world was nigh. (I like that word, "nigh." I could say "near," but remembering her lying on the bed, I know "nigh" is the more appropriate word.)

"I'm too tired to quilt," she said.


It was a week after the new year began, and I expected her to have already fully recovered from all the travel, the visits, the relatives, the holidays in general, the latest quilt she had stayed up late finishing. But she had been dragging herself around the past day, and now she lay collapsed on her bed. Too tired too quilt? I wondered if an emergency room response team would understand me when I called 911.

"What's wrong, Sir?"

"It's my Darling Wife."

"Is she bleeding? Has her heart stopped? Can she breathe?" Those are the questions they would ask.

"She's too tired to quilt," I would say.

But I didn't call for an ambulance. Not even a Nobel Prize winner for medicine would understand. I would have to treat her myself. Her severe condition called for drastic measures.

I got her to drink a glass of water. I wiped her brow with a damp cloth. I patted her cheeks. To no avail. (I like that word, "avail." I could have said "help," but remembering her lying there comatose on the bed, I know "avail" is the right word.)

"You got to help," I said to her as I tried to revive her.

"Batik, needle, basting, batting, triangle, ruler, pin, thread, Sunbonnet Sue," she mumbled in her stupor. She was delirious, but her words gave me hope. If only I could revive her somehow. Somehow.

"I'm with you, Honey," I said as I desperately tried to think of a solution. "I know you're trying," I continued. "We can do something about your tired blood. I know we can," I said, the concern in me and my voice rising as I tried to think of a way to help her. And then I knew.

I pulled back the Friendship Star quilt that she lay on and tucked it around her to keep her warm. I put a pillow under her head. "I'll be right back," I said. "Just hang on," I said.

"Mmmmmnnnnn," she said. I looked back at her and saw her feebly move her right hand to clutch at the quilt. "Ahhhhhnnnnnn," she said.

I didn't waste any time. I ran into her sewing room and looked around. Something in there had to be the answer. I looked at the sewing machine, the ironing board, the desk, the quilting books on the shelves, the rolls of batting, the video tapes of "Quilt-in-a-Day" and "Simply Quilts." Then I saw the red, white, and blue of a box sitting on the floor by her desk. "Priority Mail," I read. It was the box of fabric that had come the day before. New fabric. I reached for the box and tore at it, but it was taped all over.

I lifted the box to the desk and searched for the scissors. I found a pair, but they were her fabric scissors. She would cut my body into quilt blocks if I used the scissors on the box. I looked around, and then I found the utility scissors. I stabbed at the box. I ripped at the box. I opened the box and pulled out a plastic-shrouded package. I cut open the plastic bag and freed the fabric. It was the three yards of Kokopeli fabric she had ordered to make a Southwestern-themed quilt.

I ran back to her side. Her face was pale. I pulled at the quilt and unwrapped her. I unfolded the Kokopeli fabric and covered her with it instead. I waited.

"What," she finally said, her voice low, but clear.

"New blood," I said.

"What," she repeated, but as she spoke she blinked her eyes. Her hands moved haltingly to grasp at the fabric.

"Transfusion," I said.

"Transfusion," she repeated. She clutched at the fabric and began to move her hands up from alongside her body toward her face.

"To get rid of the tired blood," I said.

"Tired blood," she repeated as her hands brought the fabric up to her cheek.

"That's it," I said, encouraging her. It was a critical moment.

'Cotton," she said. She moved her left leg.

"One hundred percent," I said.

"Koko....." she began, and she moved her other leg.

"Yes, Kokopeli," I said. I watched her face begin to color.

"I'm feeling warm," she said.

"New blood," I said.

"New blood," she repeated, her voice now loud and clear. She looked at me, questioning me with her eyes.

"You were tired," I said.

"I'm not tired," she contradicted, and as if to prove me wrong, she sat up, her hands pushing down on the mattress until she was upright. "What am I doing in bed," she asked, looking so puzzled.

"It's a long story," I said.

"I can't be in bed. I have work to do." With that said, she hopped out of bed, stood, wobbled a bit on her feet, and started out of the room.

"Where are you going?" I asked, full-knowing.

"I feel like quilting. I really have to quilt. I feel so full of energy." She was walking steadily now, right toward the sewing room, her hands clutching the fabric.

"You're cured," I said as she disappeared into her room.

"What?" she called behind her, her voice awake, vibrant, alive!

"It's a really long story," I said.

Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver

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