Bad blood

So apparently it wasn’t bad enough that the military never wanted me on account of my stupid asthma. I had to experience further rejection in my middle years.

Yesterday I went to the Red Cross to give blood. This is a fairly routine occurrence for me, these days, but it didn’t start out that way. I was almost 50 before I gave for the first time, and there was a good reason for it — it terrified me, probably more than anything else I could conceive of. I would rather jump out of a perfectly good airplane, despite my fear of heights. I would much rather go to Iraq and get shot at. You know that thing Winston was so scared of in 1984, the deal with the rats? Piece of cake compared to this.

Even after doing it a bunch of times now, I still can’t think of anything that scares me more — on a personal-safety level — than the idea of lying down passively on a table or recliner and letting some nice nurse stick a needle in my vein and take my life’s blood.

But I keep doing it. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in combat. Maybe it’s a way of proving something to myself while doing something of real service to others. I don’t know.

Any, here’s the point:

I went there yesterday, and they wouldn’t take my blood!

They said I didn’t have enough iron. I always had enough in the past, but not this time. (I suspect it was because I showed off by jumping into the Shrinkdown in the last two weeks and still managing to lose 13.3 pounds. The last weigh-in was Friday, and my body probably hasn’t recovered yet.)

Basically, your blood has to score a 38. Thirty-eight what? I don’t remember. It’s written on a piece of paper at home. In any case, my blood was at 36, as determined by the finger-prick test.

That same piece of paper said not to worry if you fall short of 38. It doesn’t mean you’re anemic, it just means you’re not iron-rich enough to give up a pint safely. It went on to say that while most men are above 38 all the time, many women fall short of that.

That made me feel so much better. That’s almost as good for my self-image as being 4-F.

(Actually, I was never officially 4-F. Since my number never came up, I was never asked to report for a physical when I was draft age, so I never had to suffer the humiliation of being officially judged unfit. When I looked into joining the Navy in my late 20s, I again never got to the physical stage after being told about the regulation against asthmatics. I did have the satisfaction of doing well on the written test, though. No, I never had the experience of being rejected, to my face, as somehow physically inadequate until yesterday.)

I went straight home last night and had a thick steak for dinner. And if I start hitting the Geritol to excess, don’t blame me.

6 thoughts on “Bad blood

  1. Herb

    Well, you still have a better record than I do. The won’t take my blood, because I lived in Europe for 28 years. You’d think if I were going to get “mad cow” disease, it would have showed up already. Of course, some of my friends are not completely convinced that it hasn’t.

  2. Dave

    Brad, have you ever been so mad you could chew nails? That is the quick solution for your blood.

    Do you find the questions they ask pretty disgusting? Our gay friends proliferating AIDS around the globe are responsible for most of the intrusive questions. To protect the public, the questions need to be asked, but all in all its pretty sad as a state of affairs.

  3. Capital A

    Ah, Dave, such a sanguine fellow you are. If you’re going to troll for attention while using aspersion-bait, why not just go ahead and take a swing at drug addicts and their families as well?
    The world AIDs crisis represents murkier depths than you’re reporting it to be, compounded when anglers like you are baiting the water with chumisinformation that is no doubt intended to churn an angry tide.

  4. bill

    These are the best sources of iron:
    Pork Liver
    Chicken Liver
    Beef Liver
    I’ve had the problem before when training for marathons,and went with the clams and oysters.It worked.Vitamins(Geritol,etc)are OK but don’t absorb well.

  5. LWF

    When I retired I became more oriented toward community service, and I began donating blood for the first time. After a few donations, the Red Cross asked me to donate blood platelets which help treat cancer. Platelets can be drawn frequently and I began donating every two weeks.
    After about 6 months or so, I developed scar tissue which caused blood flow to stop after about 10 minutes. I went to a monthly schedule but the problem came back after awhile. I kept trying, but I was now so nervous that my blood pressure rose well beyond usual when I came in to donate and they couldn’t even let me in the chair.
    It has been a year since I donated; The Red Cross keeps calling me, week after week, and I’m going to try again – I’m plagued by the pictures of cancer victims that appear on the walls at Red Cross – especially the children – who were saved in part due to platelets.
    It is not easy giving blood or platelets. But keep trying.

  6. Dave

    Capital A, don’t be a sucker. And quit carping about what I post. What’s the porpoise of a blog anyway? As for the tide, it ebbs and flows, and all of us are like tiny specks of sand in the universe. Who cares?


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