Monday, January 04, 2010

Donating Blood

Both John and Mike have blogged in the last few days about donating blood. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery (and lacking a good original idea for this morning), I thought I'd add my own story on the subject.

I used to donate blood regularly when I was in college and in the Air Force. I didn't make it to the ten-gallon level, but I was getting was a good thing to do, and the free coffee, orange juice, and cookies were too good to pass up. I had to stop for a few years after I finished a temporary assignment to a particular location which - according to the Red Cross - made my blood temporarily undesirable, and after that I sort of got out of the rhythm of donating. I know I should start again, and perhaps now is a good time.

Anyhow, here is my favorite blood donation story...

This took place while I was a student back at Penn State in the early 1970's - a much skinnier version of the robust fellow I am today. I reported to the blood donation center and ended up on a table next to one of the well-known members of the Penn State Nittany Lions football team - a fellow who outweighed my by at least a hundred pounds and was big enough to warp gravity in his immediate vicinity. The nurses were all fawning over him, and he was (of course) enjoying the attention. I just laid there and bled, quietly and obscurely, into my bag.

The football player and I finished filling our bags at the same time, and each sat up on the table for a few moments before walking over to the snack area for the free orange juice and cookies. When the nurses thought we were ready, they took us each by the elbow to help us down from the table...we hopped down...

...and the mighty football player's eyes rolled up in his head, he passed out, and fell to the floor with a mighty crash, while skinny Bilbo trotted proudly to the snack bar.

This is what the Germans call Schadenfreude.

But don't let that stop you...donate blood. It really is the gift of life.

Time to get dressed and head back to work...the holidays are over. Sigh. And the worst part is that Mike will probably make some snarky comment about being retired.

Double sigh.

Have a good day. Donate blood. More thoughts tomorrow.



KKTSews said...

Don't bother--they won't let you. You lived in Europe too long and therefore potentially a carrier of Mad Cow (now that explains A LOT). There still apparently isn't a reliable or cheap test to see if you're carrying it, so they reject all donors who visited Europe for more than 6 months total or lived there same amount, since like, oh, 1970.
I used to give blood like clockwork, too. It's kind of a bummer.
I had a similiar story when I gave blood next to a macho fighter pilot guy, who not only passed out afterwards, he quietly whimpered when they stuck him. I felt SO superior!

John said...

Blast Mike and his snarky comments! I'll be back at it this afternoon...3-11.

Mike said...

Schadenfreude is what it means to have you and John go to work and me not.

Well I'd better go eat breakfast before it gets to be lunch time here.

Anonymous said...

I went to an Ann Rice booksigning that coincided with a blood drive, which I thought was very inventive! There was huge media fanfare, Ann arrived in a coffin, there was a huge line to get into Borders. The blood drive was set up in a trailer on the parking lot of the bookstore, when you gave blood, you got a ticket to get in line to get your book signed.
I stood in line with my friends to give blood but when it came time to give blood, was told I couldn't because I had had hepatitis.
I still got my ticket, and my book signed.


Leslie David said...

I remember going to the World Science Fiction Convention while in college and in honor of Robert A. Heinlein they held a blood drive for science fiction blood donors. That's when I first learned that it doesn't matter how long they keep me down, unless I'm sitting up when I donate, the juice and cookie table comes up and hits me in the face. I finally stopped when it reached a point where 3 people got up and donated and I was still dribbling out my pint which they cut off as soon as it weighed full. Until my adventures in Spain in September I'd never had a transfusion before, so I got 2 pints of Spanish red, and I don't mean the kind you can drink.