Got Blood?

30 Jan

I like to think of myself as a generous person willing to give of myself, whether of my money, time, or bodily fluids.

Twice a year I participate in my congregation’s community blood drive in which many of our members donate blood, some even voluntarily.

The good thing about blood donations is they go straight to those in need, unlike monetary donations that are sometimes put towards things like administrative costs, publicity, and 120’ foot yachts.  Another good thing is, while mismanaged charity funds require legal action, mishandled blood requires only a mop and pail.

An added benefit to giving blood is, it’s rewarding.  You get free stuff like Knicks tickets, coupons for a free pound of coffee, and all you can eat muffins and juice at the canteen.  Plus, someone gets to live.

If you’ve never donated blood, here are a few things you should expect:

1. When you donate, be prepared to check your status at the door.   Nobody cares if you work on Wall Street, drive a Lexus, or own three vacation homes, only how many pints and platelets you drop.

2. You’ll be required to fill out a health history form during which you’ll reveal things about yourself even you didn’t know.  Watch out for trick questions, such as, “Have you ever had male to male sex?” “Had sexual activity with a male who you think might be bisexual?”  “Had sexual activity with a male who thinks you might be bisexual?”

After you complete the survey, a trained professional will interrogate you about your sex life and drug use stopping just short of hungry dogs and power tools.  To ensure confidentiality, the questioning is conducted in an individual booth made of ¾” particleboard.

3. When you’re done telling a total stranger whether you’ve ever accepted money for drugs or sex, a specially trained technician will ask you to relax so he can take your blood pressure.

He’ll squeeze an inflatable rubber cuff on your arm like a tourniquet until either your forearm bulges like Popeye’s or separates completely from your body.   Then he will take your pulse to make sure you are still alive.  The purpose of this “mini-physical” is to ensure you are healthy enough to donate.

The next step involves blood, so if you’re sensitive to pain, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and concentrate on a focal point before you scream like you’re on fire.  Congratulations, you’ve passed the finger prick. But wait!  Your iron is low.  Do not pass to donor bed.  Do not collect $200.00.  To move forward, you must either take in large quantities of iron by: consuming it (such as by eating a truckload of spinach or swallowing an iron skillet), receiving a blood transfusion, or taking iron pills.  Then go back to number 1.

4.  After donating, you may resume daily activities, but avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and leeching your wounds for the remainder of the day.  Expect to receive a phone request for blood from every blood center south of Helsinki every eight weeks for the rest of your life.

Remember, it takes a certain kind of person to give bloodthe kind that tolerates pain.  But don’t let needles and cross-examination scare you away.   Just remind yourself that you’re donating for a good cause.  And that what happens at the blood drive stays at the blood drive.

Valentine’s Day is coming soon.  Have a heart—give blood.

Speaking of giving . . . I’d like to give thanks to earthriderdotcom for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award!  Pay her a visit!

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29 Responses to “Got Blood?”

  1. Paprika Furstenburg January 30, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    With your in-depth explanation of the blood donation process, who wouldn’t want to sign up? The only thing that would make it more inviting would be vampires working there.

    I look forward to your posts every Monday. They make me laugh on a day when there is little else to laugh about.

  2. sportsattitudes January 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Paprika stole my thunder by already checking in and commenting on vampires. They were who I thought of as you were going through the application questions, especially with the increasingly large profile and global fandom vamps enjoy these days. If they had a question to the effect of, “Are You Or Have You Ever Been A Vampire”…I’d be tempted to answer “Yes” just to see the reaction…which would probably be something along the lines of, “Well, which is it? Are you one now…or did you quit?”

  3. Main Street Musings Blog January 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Ha! Love it! I’d probably have a better chance of being accepted as a donor if I were a vampire ( I’d never be rejected for low iron . . .)

  4. Thelaughingmom January 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Just reading this makes me want to pass out. Guess who has a needle phobia? You are right, the blood drive swag sounds very tempting.

  5. Jen and Tonic January 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    It’s SO AWKWARD to have someone ask you, “Have you had intimate relations with a man who has had sex with a man who has had sex with a woman in a minivan behind a dumpster at a Circle K?” It’s like they KNOW your story already.

    It’s totally worth it though, and I encourage anyone who can donate blood to do it.

  6. Sam Flowers January 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    In Britain we don’t get free stuff when we donate blood – well I guess tea and biscuits is technically free stuff!

    There has been some talk in Britain of paying us to give blood due to donor numbers falling.

    I was a little disappointed to discover that I was blood type O+ – the commonest of all the blood types. Nothing common about me I huffed to myself!

  7. Huffygirl January 31, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    As someone who’s been on the question-asking side of the blood drive, I concur with the absurdity of the questions. The donors I ended up asking were typically 65-year-old church ladies, who did not understand why they were being asked about having sex below the Sarah Desert.

    A great satire on the good deed of giving blood.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      I’m always so befluxed on my end, I honestly never thought about what it’s like for them! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley January 31, 2012 at 2:57 am #

    I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want mine.

    If they still do, I now know what to say so they won’t.

  9. funnyortragic January 31, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    I have to admit, I haven’t been tempted to give blood, but that’s because I am required to do blood tests all the time…and every fricking time it takes a miracle for them to find a vein. And then the vein collapses. Repeat five or six times until my arm and hand looks like swiss cheese. On the up side, I wouldn’t be a quick meal for a vampire, either. Thank god. Because who wants to sparkle like that?

  10. Main Street Musings Blog January 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    As umcomfortable as it can be sometimes, I try to remind myself that some day I could be on the receiving end. Works every time!

  11. morristownmemos January 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    British moms used to tell their daughters on their wedding day, “Just close your eyes and think of England.” But maybe that was advice for another reason.


    • Main Street Musings Blog January 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Ronnie you are full of surprises!

      • morristownmemos January 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

        When pressed, I can be a bit raunchy too!


  12. earthriderjudyberman February 1, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    Not sure how I’d react if I were asked some of those very invasive questions. My hubby and I do give blood. (He’s on their speed dial so he does donate more.)
    The American Red Cross … and I … thank you, but each for different reasons. The Red Cross … for rolling up your sleeve and donating blood. Me … for giving my blog a plug.

  13. Main Street Musings Blog February 1, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    You’re welcome–on both fronts!

  14. Audubon Ron February 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    I always say as I sit down to fill out the form.

    I’m a gay, Haitian, I.V. drug user. Is that a problem?

  15. Sylvia Morice February 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I’ve been on the receiving end of needing a blood transfusion, so I appreciate everyone who bares arms for the cause! Maybe once I get my hypertension under control I’ll be able to donate some blood back to the community. Thanks to you I’ll be ready for the questions that may come!

  16. Main Street Musings Blog February 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    That’s the spirit!

  17. Dawn@lightenUp! February 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Ack!! Blood!! Needles!!! *pukes a little*
    last time I gave blood here at work, I fainted by the freight elevators. True fact.
    Funny, my friend. And tis tough to get funny from BLOOD AND NEEDLES!!

  18. prachi jain February 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Hilarious description of the questions. I have never been on either end but would love to be on the donor side. I am sure to be more nervous about the questions rather than the needle actually finding my vein and the blood oozing out. Believe it or not, when I go for blood tests, I like to see when the needle goes in and how much comes out. I could have been a vampire in my previous life . . . or do vampires even get another life? Shhh! that is my little secret.

  19. Main Street Musings Blog February 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    You’re a brave woman, Prachi. I hope you’ll put that courage to use and donate soon! (I am a big chicken. Not only do I look the other way, I have someone hold my hand . . .)

  20. Yvonne February 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    “Expect to receive a phone request for blood from every blood center south of Helsinki every eight weeks for the rest of your life.” — This is sadly so true. It’s a negative reinforcement for such a selfless act! But your description was hilarious.

  21. Main Street Musings Blog February 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    No good deed goes unpunished. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

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