Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Red Cross-examination

I went to see the vampires last night.

Ever since the Red Cross figured out I have type "O neg" blood, they've been hounding me like email ads for Viagra. Apparently, my somewhat rare blood type (only a lucky 8% of us have it) can be used by anybody no matter what blood type they have, which makes it extremely valuable to people who need blood - and the Red Cross. Kinda makes me feel a bit like Ben Richards [trivia challenge: name that reference].

Anyway, after receiving a phone call at home, an email at home and another phone call at work I finally caved under the guilt and stopped by the local Blood Mobile after work. Apparently the Crypt Mobile was in the shop.

Actually, I don't mind giving blood at all and donate a couple of times a year. However, there are two things that I don't enjoy about the whole process.

1. The Prick
No, I'm not talking about Simon Cowell. I'm talking about the blood sample they take when you arrive to make sure you have enough iron to be able to give that day. But to do that - they have to use that plastic spring-loaded finger prick snapper thing - ughhh. I HATE that thing! I hate the suspense of knowing it's going to slam a pointed needle into the tip of my finger.

I honestly stress out about having to have that done. Yesterday morning the first thing that popped into my head when I woke up was "crap, I have to get my finger pricked by that snappy thing today." I'm not making this up. Maybe it's the fact that my finger tips are hyper sensitive after a lifetime of playing piano. I don't know, but for whatever reason - I hate it.

In fact, if I was ever held captive in a prison camp that's all it would take to get me to crack.
Torturers: "Tell me your government secrets!"
Me (in a sing-songy voice): "I'll never tell-ell."
Torturers: "All right then, get the snappy finger thing."
Me: "NO WAIT! I'll spill. Whatever you want to know!"

2. The Questions
For those of you who have given blood, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about here. These are the slew of extremely personal health history questions you have to answer before you give blood. I'm told that their purpose is to determine if your blood is at any risk of containing such diseases as hepatitis and HIV. However, since they submit every donation for analysis before it's put into the blood bank, I'm not sure why these questions are even necessary.

But today instead of letting me answer these bizarre questions on paper in private like I normally do, I was actually asked these verbally by a nurse behind a cardboard "curtain." Nice. Here we are sitting in a room surrounded by 50 other people, and my Red Cross assistant is making me answer questions I wouldn't reveal to my priest. Something's wrong here folks!

Anyway, here's a sample of actual questions I was asked today, and the answers I wished I could have given:

Have you ever had sex with another man, even once? No, although I've dated some pretty ugly girls in the past. Does that count?

Have you ever been detained in a juvenile detention facility, jail or prison for more than 72 hours? No, only 71 hours. Next question please.

Have you ever had sex with a partner who has received sex for money or drugs? Yes, if you consider how much it cost me to take my wife out for a night of "romance."

Have you received a tattoo within the last year? Yes, unless those rub-on ones don't count.

Have you had a piercing in the last year? Yes, just a few weeks ago I watched Mariah Carey on the Grammys.

All in all giving blood isn't a bad experience. It's for a good cause and doesn't take very long. But before they let you go, they make you eat some Oreos and drink some orange juice. This is because they're worried that you might pass out, crack your head open and need blood.

And that would be kind of redundant now, wouldn't it.


Anonymous said...

You had OREOS!!!!! that doesn't sound like it passes a low fat, healthy carbohydrate diet to me!!! We need to talk when you get home.....

Anonymous said...

This was TOO funny!!! Loved it!!!

Anonymous said...

LOL. Your last comment was kind of ironic, considering my type 0 daughter gave blood a few weeks ago, ate the cookies and oj and then passed out!

Mooselet said...

Next time, get them to slam the snappy finger thingamabob into the side rather than the very tip of your finger. Less nerve endings along the edge.

I've got no idea who Ben Richards is, so no cookies for me.

I always become very light headed when giving blood and since I'm O neg as well I used to give quite a bit. As soon as I'm up on that table the pillow gets pushed away and I bend my knees, and then I drink 4 cans of apple juice afterwards. Saves a lot of embarrassment later.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Thanks for the advice, I'll make sure to tell them that next time!

Hey, we could start an O neg club - very elite, "members only" type of thing. But we'd still be nice to the "common" folk too.

Hint: Ben Richards was the name of a TV character.

Anonymous said...

Sadly enough, I'm type O positive, so I guess I'm just not cool enough for you guys. *tear*
Ever since I gave blood at the school drive a few weeks ago and passed out for a couple minutes in my 3rd hour class, my sign language teacher has been making fun of me for it. Considering the unit we're currently studying is about ailments and remedies, he has a field day with that little example, and he loves relating it to the whole class time and time again.
Anyway, I know exactly what you mean about the whole experience of blood donation and questioning. I wouldn't, however, recommend getting smart-alecky with the people, since they don't seem to find it very amusing (even though I kind of did).
I wish you luck with your experiences in the future, and I commend you for being brave enough to do it. Enjoy the cookies! I'll be one of the volunteers making them from now on ;)

Schnozz said...

Wow. They asked you in front of 50 people whether you had had sex with a man? Sometimes I wonder why more people don't donate blood. Wait, no I don't.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

jessica I agree you shouldn't joke around with the people who insert the needles into you, that would NOT be a good idea!

schnozz You wouldn't believe some of the questions they ask you. These were just 5 of about 30 or so. Next time I'm going to ask for a photocopy and post it here.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA you are too funny man