Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blood Drive Nazi

It's blood drive time again.

I have one of those rare blood types, and I have never lived in Africa and I have not had sex with a man who's had sex with a man since 1977, so I am permanently on the Red Cross's Most Wanted List. Every 56.5 days they call (yes! call me! at home!) and want me to donate. I'm on a first name basis with all of the nurses. I have a membership card. To the Red Cross. Oh yeah.

Usually, I have fine experiences with the Red Cross. I come in, I fill out the paperwork, I re-read the notice of all the reasons one could not give blood (remind me to google a few new diseases later so my father can diagnose my mother with one (no one knows why he insists on mom having failing health, but he does)), and I am called at or near my appointment time. But last time, something went wrong. I agreed to give blood at a high school.

It was a rookie mistake. See, high schools are just chock-full of 17 and 18 year olds who have also not lived in Africa and haven't received brain grafts before 1987, and who are willing to donate an hour of class time to give blood. So when I arrived a few minutes before my appointment time, I was met with a swarm of students. Students without appointments. Students who were being taken before people with appointments because they couldn't keep students out of class for three hours. But they could keep ME there for three hours, and keep me there they did. I considered leaving, but they had already scanned my membership card, which meant they were on notice that I was a rare type and were not to let me leave without donating under any circumstance. The nurse kept telling me ten more minutes every 15 minutes. So with a bumper crop of students ahead of me, and a nurse guarding the door, I learned my lesson and learned it good: never, NEVER agree to give blood at a high school.

So when the Red Cross called me last week to ask if I was planning to come in, I asked for the first appointment in the morning. Then I arrived 30 minutes before it. I helped a couple of nurses finish setting up and plopped myself down on the cot. I assure you, if ANYONE was giving blood that day, it was going to be me. First. And on my terms. I am the blood drive nazi. I was drained and out the door in 45 minutes flat. And besides the nurse getting a little carried away with the iodine, it was a model donating experience.

Am I ashamed of my guerrilla tactics? Nope. The squeaky wheel and the oil and all that.

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