April 12, 2003
I gave blood today. They came in with the little foldy bed things and the nurses and doctors (I hope), who ask you endless questions to which the correct answer is always “no”. At least, I always answered no. I still maintain, though, that they could simplify things greatly by just providing a single question that covers many of the categories. For example, rather than asking me a dozen different questions about diseases, they could just ask “Are you or a member of your family carrying or at risk for a disease named after more than two people? If yes, please specify:_______________________”
Instead of asking endless questions about sexual activity, they could have a sort of short circuit question for ::ahem:: those of us who might be a little down on the lucky-getting side of life.
At one point I was so bored from sitting there filling out questionaires that I offered to do illegal intravenous drugs with AB in exchange for unprotected sex in Africa (since 1977–and don’t even get me started on that one. Apparently, whatever the hell you wanted to do in 1976 was just fine with the Red Cross, but come 1 Jan. 1977, the gauntlet was thrown down.). I figured at the very least I wouldn’t have to sit there anymore. He turned me down
The reason we had to wait for a long time was that they had a lot of walk-ins. And the reason (see, I’m getting there), that they had walk-ins may have been that they were offering free T-shirts. I’m not sure why a T-shirt would compel someone who otherwise would not have done so to give blood, but I’m sure there’s a good reason. Really, though, they need a better slogan. Right now it’s some nonsense about saving a life. No catch at all. I suggested “No blood for oil; blood for t-shirts”. I think most of the applause was for me successfully standing up, though.
They take a lot of blood. I mean, a pint isn’t so much when it’s just milk or something, but it’s a lot of blood. I’m still waiting for the message that urgently tells me of the error in organization that resulted in me giving a British Pint of blood rather than the standard American one. As it was, for the last 5 minutes or so of my blood-letting, the nurses kept coming over and mentioning how close I was to done. I think they were a little unnerved by the manic look on my face that resulted when I realized that I could no longer feel my right arm at all. I had the little thingy that I was squeezing and I was staring at it, begrinned, wondering how I continued to squeeze.
Back to the T-shirts. I didn’t actually get one. All they had was Xtra Large. All they ever have is XL. I don’t know why people who make T-shirts always make 90% of them XL. Yet, inevitably, when you have a chance at a free shirt, it is XL. I think it has something to do with obesity in this country. I mean, they’re always telling us that most Americans are fat; maybe we just decided that the added cost of food and health risks are balanced out by the fact of not paying for our upper body to be clothed. Tshirt: $14. Super Sized Value Meal: $4.
Think about it.