I gave blood today. Says so on the sticker.

It seems like I’ve been meaning to get around to donating blood for….ever, really. It’s not something I ever woke up and decided to do (“I think I’ll go give blood today.”) Whenever I saw a blood drive in progress, it was always a bad time to stop. So, here at the ripe old age of 33, I had never actually gone and done the good thing.

Well, we were on our way home from a concert from our favourite local band, Screen Door, and noticed that the Methodist church on the corner at the end of our street was having a big community fair-on-the-grounds, including a bloodmobile. kitanzi mentioned that it had been far too long since she had last given blood, and I said “I’ve never done it.” So, we resolved to get up in the morning and donate, and then check out the rest of the fair.

We arrived at about 11 and did the pre-screening. All was well except that my blood pressure reading was….abnormal. As in “That reading indicates I should be seeing a doctor immedately”. I’ve always had borederline high-blood pressure, but at 180/120 reading would be cause for *serious* alarm, especially since it had never been that high. The nurse at the registration sent me in to be rechecked, and after another couple of high readings, it finally occured to all of us that they should be using the extra-large cuff. (*I* should know this by now, but I wasn’t thinking about it — this is one of the reason why the little supermarket check-your-own-blood-pressure kiosks are useless for me. My arm is just too big). After a much more normal reading with a larger cuff, we proceeded to go through the litany of questions. I think the nurse found me somewhat amusing.

“Have you had sexual contact with any person who was born or lives outside the United States?”
“No. But not for lack of desire.”

Having been satisfied that I wasn’t a risky donor, we went and did the whole jab and drain routine, which was uneventful. I didn’t really find it any more uncomfortable than when I had an IV in while I was in the hospital.

Of course, due to a series of events that Kit has already detailed, she hadn’t started her donation by the time I finished mine. So I sat down at the far side of the bus, ate Nutter Butter cookies and drank juice, and chatted with the nice church folk who were volunteering to help out the Red Cross folks. Once Kit got started, she had a hard time finishing, since she apparently ran out of blood midway through, but we finally got square and went on our way.

The church fair was a sort of combination yard sale, craft show and dinner on the grounds. We found several books for cheap and Kit found three pairs of shoes that fit her, but we were starting to get hungry at this point and decided to head off for a quiet cool place to eat. We ended up at local restaurant Hops, which is a steakhouse/brewpub, and had a marvelous lunch, brought to us by a seriously cute waitress.

We then stopped off at the only used bookstore in Alphretta, treated ourselves to a small stash of books (most notable: Harcourt has come out with a new hardcover reissue of Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s “Sorery and Celia”, which in it’s previous paperback incarnation was nigh unobtanium. Nice to see it back in print). And came home for an evening of relaxation. A full day, indeed.