Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Be Nice To Me…

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.

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15 Comments

  1. “Have you had sexual contact with any person who was born or lives outside the United States?”

    They really ask that? I assume that if the answer is “yes” they have some followup questions, rather than that they would have trouble with my Canadian husband. 🙂

    • Presumably, though I didn’t ask what the rational was. I *do* know that if you have spent more than three months in the UK since 1980 or more than six months in any European country (I think in the same time period), you are ineligable to donate.

      Here’s the Red Cross’s eligability requirements web page, which doesn’t address that question directly. I’m sure that if the answer is “yes”, the followup will be “Which country”; I imagine they’re mostly worried about, for instance, the AIDS epidemic in Africa than they are about Canada or Europe. But I’m only guessing.

      • Some of the rationale, if I recall correctly, has to do with mad cow disease in the UK (and presumably elsewhere in Europe).

        Donating is an experience I can only imagine, having become ineligible to donate right after my 18th birthday when I contracted hepatitis.

        • BSE is related to malevolent protein chains you eat. If you don’t eat the people you had sex with you can’t get BSE. In Germany they ask if you’ve been to Asia or Africa recently. What a sham. It’s ok if you fuck your way barebacked through Europe but if you payed a visit to Asia you’re suspect.

          • If you don’t eat the people you had sex with you can’t get BSE.

            Aw, but what fun is that?

            What? Oh wait, I see what you mean. Nevermind.

            ::blinks innocently::

          • Eating them isn’t that risky as long as you don’t eat brain and spine….

          • Anonymous

            The old gray matter ain’t what it used to be, …

            Wasn’t there a grade B movie, maybe in the ’60s, where the aliens were just a (rather large) brain and spinal cord? I think it took place in snowy, mountainous terrain, maybe the Alps. “Fiend Without A Face”?

            Ann Onynous.

          • Serious: I thought it had something to do with the possibility of having eaten something contaminated there. But this is totally from a very hazy memory, as it’s of neither professional nor practical interest to me (I haven’t been over there nor can I donate.)

            Unserious: I don’t have sex on horses. Or camels, goats, sheep, elephants, Saint Bernards, or anything else which may require a saddle in other circumstances.

            Wait. Sorry. You meant “without a shirt.” Never Mind. (g,d,rvvvf)

  2. I used to give blood at every chance. I have a rare blood type, as well.

    Alas, I am no longer eligible. 🙁 It pisses me off to no end.

    • Anonymous

      I too used to give blood at every chance, even though I don’t have a rare blood type. But I tested a false positive (for what, I don’t remember) at some point, so I’ve not been eligible for quite a while. Pisses me off no end too.

      Chosen One has given gallons, but is also no longer able to donate. Bummer, but what can you do? 🙁

      Autographed Doc -- good for you, and keep it up!

      Ann Onynous.

      • The reason for me not being able to donate any longer is that I’ve had sex with a man (even once, they specify, although it was more than once) since 1974. Note that there’s nothing about whether it was protected or responsible or anything. Any man that’s ever had sex with another man, no matter the circumstances, even once, since 1974, is permanently ineligible.

      • Are you sure it was a permanent ineligibility, then?

  3. I’ll always be nice to you, so you’ll just have to settle for my being extra nice. 🙂

    *huggle*

    (Which means I will not subject you to my “here I am, fat and healthy, my anemia cured, and I can’t donate blood, and I think this is BS because….” rant. *grin*)

    A.

  4. I successfully gave blood once, in 1984. I stayed away because my older sister developed a case of mono soon after she gave blood. (I later found out that it wasn’t necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship between donting blood and mono.) I was fine until they got to the last ounce. Then I passed out. I tried to give two times after that, but the centers declined me — once because I had a sore throat, and once because I took aspirin within the past three days.

    You’re right — 180/120 is not a good reading. I once had a reading of 170/120 and was practically ordered by a nurse to see a doctor and get some meds ASAP.

  5. I have to be careful when donating blood. For a start, they can only get a full pint (or whatever it is in litres these days) out of my right arm. Normally they go for the left arm because I’m right-handed (they think it will affect typing or something), but that arm doesn’t have enough blood in it and it runs out before they finish.

    The first time I gave blood, at university, I almost fainted when I sat up afterwards. No, not because of the lack of blood, it was because the nurse told me to ‘relax’ without realising what that means to me. I had my breathing rate down to well under 2 breaths per minute by the time she expected me to sit up, and I had very little spare oxygen in my system. I then had to bring my breathing rate back up so I could explain that I was OK really. So now I have to remember that they don’t really want me to relax completely…

    In the UK we now have a thing which looks like a credit card, which (theoretically) they can just swipe to get your details. In practice, most collection places aren’t that high-tech yet and they still ask all the questions. But every so often I pull it out at a gas station or checkout instead of a credit card and then say “Sorry, that’s the wrong bank, you wanted the pound of flesh…”

    Good on yer for starting, anyway, no matter how late. I know the problem, I miss a lot of them becaue they are at the wrong time or place (or I have a cold or am on medication at that time).

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