Encounters with Vampires  

TheQuietGuy2005 54M
3484 posts
1/6/2006 10:16 am

Last Read:
6/27/2008 12:12 am

Encounters with Vampires

I gave blood today.

I always felt it was the right thing to do - after all, if I'm in need of a transfusion, I'm going to be hoping there's some in the blood bank for me - and used to give regularly. Unfortunately, my job moved and there was no longer anywhere handy for me to give. That was somewhere in excess of 15 years ago. I just never got around to making alternative arrangements.

Today a mobile donor van (by the name of Buffy) was parked in the grounds of the hospital where I work. We could go during working hours without losing pay too so how could I possibly refuse?

Most of the procedure remains the same as it was all those years ago: fill in the form, answer questions about your health, have your finger pricked to check for anaemia, lie on bed, give blood. No problems there, then.

What struck me most forcibly, though, was the number of questions they now ask before letting someone give blood and the very personal nature of them. I suppose it's inevitable: in the time since I last gave, we've seen a huge rise in Hepatitis B and C, the emergence of HIV as a real problem and most recently, of course, the discovery of variant CJD. One of the things they have in common is that they can be passed by transfusions. Reasonably enough, the National Blood Service wants to filter out high-risk individuals.

Many of the questions give me no trouble: do I have a chesty cough or active cold sore? have I had hepititis or jaundice in the last 12 months? have I had a tattoo or piercing in the last 6 months? have I received a blood transfusion since 1980? am I, or do I think I may be, HIV positive? am I, or do I may be, carrying hepatitis? have I had oral or anal sex with another man (even with a condom)? have I ever received payment in money or drugs for sex? have I ever injected illegal or non-prescription drugs? have I had sex in the last 12 months in a country where AIDS/HIV is common? ...

On they go and they're easy enough; after all, I know what I've been up to.

However, the questions also ask things that it is almost impossible to be definite about. Have I, for instance, ever had sex with someone who has received payment in money or drugs for sex? Or have I had sex with someone who has injected illegal or non-prescription drugs? As far as I'm aware the answer to both of those is "no" ... one may be careful but how can one possibly ever be 100% certain? After all, of all the things that a female partner is unlikely to confess to me, a short and regretted flirtation with prostitution has to rate high on the list, no?

It's arguably worse for women. They are asked if they have ever had sex with a man (with or without a condom) who has had oral or anal sex with another man (even with a condom). Can you imagine the scene over the breakfast table?

Wife: Honey ... have you ever had oral or anal sex with another man?

Macho Husband: Sure I have, several times ...

Okay, some couples - and, perhaps, especially those from this kind of a site - might have that kind of honesty but I'd be prepared to bet that many men would prefer to keep that kind of "dark secret" hidden away.

I guess it just reinforces how careful we have to be nowadays.

The other surprise was that they didn't take the traditional pint of blood - now they take a mere 470ml instead. It seemed a terrible shame to me: it takes us one step further away from Tony Hancock's wonderful histrionics in "The Blood Donor":

When the doctor takes his blood sample Hancock blithely assumes that that is all that is needed and prepares to depart. When the doctor tells him it was only a smear Hancock replies, "It may be only a smear to you but it's life and death to some poor wretch." The doctor explains that the normal quantity is a pint. "A pint?", exclaims Hancock. "Why, that's very nearly an armful!"

Somehow 470ml doesn't have quite the same kind of punch.


helga_hansen 49F  
1987 posts
1/6/2006 1:46 pm

Good boy... sadly, I am no longer allowed to give blood. Seems having been diagnosed, but successfully treated, with melanoma, means I may never donate blood again. At least not until they establish for certain that cancers cannot be transmitted by blood. I kid you not.

I may have survived what was a very traumatic time for me, but it has forced all sorts of things on me now, that make me feel like a second-class citizen. I'm too much of a risk... go figure!


Love, hugs and kisses from ♥♥HH♥♥

brightblonde3 58F

1/6/2006 2:20 pm

Q, did they give you juice and cookies after tha donation?

And congratulations for being a good world citizen *scratching ears, rubbing belly*


GB_Cple 66M/55F  
3042 posts
1/6/2006 10:29 pm

Everytime I hear of blood donations , I too think of Tony Hancock's
"The Blood Donor" seems it made an impression on both of us.

ps I didn't think you were old enough to remember it !

raptor880 39M

1/7/2006 12:06 pm

I only go so the nice nurse can hold my hand.

rm_EE407 41F
3903 posts
1/8/2006 1:54 am

<<< used to be a blooddonor but is banned now... something about living in England for longer than 6 months in certain years....

So much for doing one's duty

rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
1/8/2006 4:58 am

oooo, last time i went -- 1994 -- i had anaemia, and i forgot to have breakfast before going and felt faint just from the little blood lost by pricking! i know i should get my act together again cos i have a rare blood type -- but just the thought makes me feel queasy... there was a huge furore around blood donation in SA recently (end of last year) because they were not accepting blood from black people because they are "too high risk" (for HIV/AIDS) ... it still has not been sorted out!

[blog freelove999]

TheQuietGuy2005 54M
2386 posts
1/8/2006 12:55 pm

Wickedwytch ... I agree ... it's just something I've been disorganised about.

Helga ... I'm sorry to hear that. I don't see it makes you a second-class citizen; it's just another aspect of the lengthy questioning I reported - the blood service is just being so cautious nowadays.

BB ... Yep ... a nice cup of tea, some digestives and a couple of cheesy things ... and all while I should have been working too

GB_C ... In my own defence I should point out that I'm not old enough to have heard or seen "The Blood Donor" first time around. I got lucky once when the original radio series was being re-broadcast on the BBC many years later. The Hancock shows, like many others from that sort of era, have just stuck in my mind.

Waggy ... I asked about that. What they say is they're trying to make everyone think and really weigh up the risk factors. Apparently, they only expect answers on the basis of "to the best of my knowledge".

Raptor ... That was one boon that was denied me. Mind you, I'm surrounded by "nice nurses" every hour of my working day, so I shouldn't really complain!

EE ... You serious??? I didn't realise England was a risk factor! I assume that's something to do with the whole BSE thing, is it? At least you're willing.

FreeLove ... I have to say I've never been bothered by the blood-letting experience for which I am very grateful.

papyrina 51F
21133 posts
1/8/2006 1:23 pm

i gave blood just before Christmas and got all that crap to fill in for the firt time,15 mins of questions 5 mins giving blood,here they know i'm british but never ask me how long i've lived here so passing mad cows all over the place is my blood

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