Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Gift of Life

Otherwise known as The Gift of Redpanda's Blood

We had an at-work blood drive today. Being a health-related kind of company, we are offered the benefit of a half-day off (paid) every time we donate blood. Up to four times a year. So, drawn in by the promise of time off and the pleasure of doing something "good", I signed up.

I've tried to donate blood before several times. Usually, I've had a piercing too recently to do so. Either that or they draw a bit of my blood, find extra plasma where the erythrocytes should be marching along, and send me on my way. So I've never actually gotten to the sucky-bloody-machiney (that's the technical term) before.

I have to say, I was a bit worried. It wasn't the idea of the pain so much as the idea of me Making An Ass of Myself. This occurs with such regularity that I was quite certain that taking a pint of blood out of me would bring it on almost immediately. I would pass out on the floor, knocking coolers full of blood bags over and squashing them as I fell. I would have to projectile vomit, and I'd spew forth something awful onto all who were waiting near me. Or maybe I'd just be struck with Temporary Tourette's Syndrome and I'd yell out "Ball Hair! Ball HAIR!!!" as they drained my vein.

I was given a questionnaire to fill out. Now, I had assumed that it would contain the usual questions. Do you have sex for money? Nope. Do you have HIV? Nope. Are you currently taking antibiotics? Nope. Have you ever in your life had sex with anyone who lives or has lived in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Niger, Namibibia...since 1977? Er...say what?

I had to think about that one for a minute.

I decided that I probably hadn't had sex with a Nigerian.

Eventually it was my turn to get "on the bed". The bed was actually more of a table, and not a particularly comfortable one. But it would do for the purpose of bloodletting, I suppose. The nurse tightened the tourniquet around my arm and warned me that I would "feel a pinch".

It didn't hurt, it didn't feel bad, it mostly just made my hand numb.

All was fine. Except I still feel a bit drunk. And people keep feeding me.

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