Saturday, May 5, 2007

What's Inside of You?

Last week I gave blood for the 70th time. What this says about me is that I lead a dull life.

I have no tattoos or recent body piercings. I haven’t had extended stays in the UK or lived in the Channel Islands. I wasn’t born in Africa. I haven’t had sex with a prostitute or a man or recently with a woman who does wild and crazy things that I know about. (Sigh.) Boring.

The exclusionary rules for blood donation get longer and longer. As I read them each time I wonder who, exactly, is left that they can take blood from? Besides me I mean?

They asked if I had ever taken propecia. I didn’t know what that was. I was told it’s for BPH. Oh. Well, not yet anyways. It’s also used for baldness. Ohhh. Would blood banks be forced to close if I was a little more vain about my bald pate?

They asked if there was any Creutzfeldt-Jakob in my family. I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t heard of any Creutzfeldt-Jakob in my family but then again, I don’t know every single one of my relatives.

A friend has A positive blood. She can’t give blood because, like just about every woman I know, she’s anemic. Or maybe she just tells me that when I ask if she wants to go to the donation center with me because she has a lot more fun than I do.

I guess her blood floats when they drop it into the little vial of clear liquid to check it for iron. Her blood apparently doesn’t have enough iron in it. She must not know about Fred Flintstone Vitamin pills with Iron.

My blood apparently has iron because it always sinks in the vial. The technician and I sit there and watch the drop of blood lazily glide to the bottom. It’s suspenseful, like watching the Titanic slowly slip beneath the surface.

Anyway, my friend tells me that except for the iron thing, she would love to go to the blood donation center with me. She says this is because she likes taking blood tests. She gets an A+ every time. She loves that story. She tells it better than I do.

I’m O positive, which means my blood can be given to every person with RH positive blood. The only blood better than mine is O negative, which can be given to anyone. So they like for me to donate. I get calls about every two months from organizations seeking my blood. There are two competing blood-collecting systems here in Northern Virginia, Inova and the American Red Cross, and this situation doubles my calls.

I want to donate blood 100 times. I’m seventy percent of the way there. Runners are obsessed with numbers, right? Triple digits is my number for blood donations. I just made it up, years ago before I was a runner. So you see, the obsession that eventually led to running has always been there.

I have eight pins designating gallon donations in my cufflink box atop my dresser. Four more gallon donation pins sit in my desk drawer, awaiting transfer to my cufflink box upon completion of my task. Will I stop when I get to one hundred? I don’t know, but probably not.

1 comment:

jeanne said...

They won't take my blood. Too thin, too cold? Naw, my iron is too low. I tend to pass out.


But thank you for donating! What a great goal.