Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blood Lust

So yesterday I gave blood again, and I know that many of you out have considered giving blood but have questions that you want answered by a trusted expert. Well, I have a blog and I used to be great at the game Operation, so I’m pretty sure that qualifies me to answer all of your questions.

Anyway, the first thing that will happen is the blood bank will call you at 6 in the morning. I’m assuming they do this because if you are capable of answering the phone at 6 in the morning, you are probably not hung-over. Also, it implies you are alive, which makes it easier to give blood.

Now, I’m not sure if they call everybody, but I made the mistake of being born with blood type O. For those of you who don’t know, there are four blood types, A, B, AB and O. Type A can receive A and O, B can receive B and O, and AB can receive all of them, and O can only get O.

Now, I’m assuming that they give the blood to people who need it, and not vampires or something. So I don’t get too upset about them wanting my blood. After all, I used to bottle it after nights of heavy drinking and sell it to liquor stores, so it’s not like I need all of it.

Anyway, once you actually go to the blood bank, you are asked to fill out a very long questionnaire. Believe it or not, they don’t let just anyone give blood. People who have diseases, use drugs, worked as a prostitute, have tattoos, might be pregnant, or have had sex with anybody who has done any of those things is frowned upon. They could probably save a lot of time by just putting the question “Is your name Charlie Sheen?” at the top of the form (although maybe that’s how they get Tiger’s Blood).

Once they are certain that your blood will not burn holes in the ground, they proceed to actually take your blood. Now at this point you are greeted by a phlebotomist, which is what they call the person who is about to drain you of half your blood. But it is an awesome sounding job name. It sounds like someone who shoves firecrackers up a frog’s butt for a living or something. They need to make a children’s show called “Phil the Phlebotomist.”

But the smile you have on your face from singing the theme song you’ve made up in your head for Phil the Phlebotomist will soon be wiped off of your face. Because at this point, the smiling phlebotomist puts a napkin over your shirt, “just in case some blood squirts out.” In case you couldn’t tell, phlebotomists are not as squeamish about blood as normal people. I’m pretty sure it excites them. Then they proceed to bring out a needle the size of a harpoon and says “you should probably look away.”

Now, I’m not that bad anymore, but I used to be terrified of needles. I used to scream out in pain before the needle even hit me. I was one of those kids who never pretended to be sick, because I was always worried that if I went to the doctor, they might try to stick me with random needles. That is why, to this day, I prefer cocaine to heroin (I mean, assuming I was forced to choose).

Luckily after that bit of discomfort, the rest is relatively painless. At least it is for some people. Apparently losing a ton of your blood can make some people lightheaded, but it’s funny how it affects only some people. Now, I’m used to operating without much blood flowing to my brain, so I have never had a problem. But I once saw a 245 pound man throw up while the 115 pound girl next to him had no problem (other than the fact there was a large man next to her throwing up).

What’s great is that they always insist on showing you the blood afterward, which probably doesn’t help. “Here is how much blood you no longer have flowing to your vital organs!” they cheerfully say. And that is not counting the blood that will continue to seep out of the various holes they’ve poked in your arm. Although they do give you several colorful options for the bandage.

Then of course, comes the great part. They give you lots of free snacks. Then they tell you that you should eat a lot of food and not do anything strenuous for the next day or so. I do that anyway, but it’s nice to do it under doctor’s orders for once. So I normally just put my feet up on the couch, eat a large meal and make people do things for me since I am not supposed to move my arm. I love giving back to the community.

Now, as usual I'm exaggerating, and giving blood is a relatively pain-free process and it saves lives. So give it a try.

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