Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Biche Tries to Make Good, part un.

1 of an occasional series of Biche's attempts to Be Good. Chances of it being a very occasional series bordering on one off are pretty high. This time...

Blood Donation

This has not been an easy undertaking, indeed my first attempt at altruism was cruelly snubbed at the last minute. After merrily sitting through fifty questions along the lines of 'have you ever received money or drugs for sex?' and 'have you ever had sexual intercourse with a man who has, or even possibly has, had sex with another man?, I fell at the last hurdle. 'Have you been on holiday recently?' It was said so casually I almost thought I was being chatted up by the jolly bald nurse, were he not the spit of That Gay Guy from Airport in a pair of latex disposable gloves.
'Well not really. I went on a trip with work to Miami a few weeks ago but that was business'....'

That was the end of that. Turns out that Hurricane Katrina, that cruel meteorological mistress of 2005, had unleashed not just death but a consequential load of mosquitoes upon the southern United States. And apparently me, having had a pissup on a golf resort two years later - which could have been in Basildon for all of Miami I actually saw - could have been smoted by one of the nasty little buggers (or great great great relative thereof) and be carrying Yellow Nile Fever.
Pointing out that I hadn't been bitten (not having a limb like a giant meat filled balloon is usually a good sign for me) and felt fit as a fiddle was not enough. I was kicked out the door so quickly it made me wish I had answered questions like 'did you receive growth hormones before 1985' more humerously. ("You have to understand the 1980's were not the place for a toddler with a head the size of a satsuma", incidentally)

Round two. My altruism had been thwarted, but like the spirit of New Orleans (grasping for a connecting simile here..) it was not dead. Diseased, but not dead.
So, right on cue, a month after I had come back from Miami I pootled back to the Donor Centre.
Once again I had to wait while Deal or No Deal blared in the background. Once again I smirked my way through the questionaire, getting distracted by imagining my past conquests getting it on with other men, having sex for drugs and all the various things they didn't do, and then wondering if I would have liked them more if they had.
My nurse this time was a pissed off african woman of about four foot tall, wearing a jesus of about two foot tall around her neck. After replying that I had not been to the southern United States in the last month etc etc, she pootled off to file my answers with the computer.

Now I love modern technology, I think computers are great and make all of our lives easier and more interesting. They give you something to play on when you can't be bothered to talk to your flatmate, and allow you to solve great mysteries of our time, like 'so IS that Marilyn Manson in the Wonder Years?' (no) and 'what are the two white spots by my eye?' (keratin filled cysts called milia) What I don't like however, is the morons that work computers. Like the berk at the Donor Centre who put the date I was allowed to give blood as a month from when I last came into the Centre, not the two weeks earlier event of me going to Deathtrap Miami.
'Ya karn give blood tuh deay'
'Oh, but that date is wrong. I can give blood, it's been a month'
'Thu computah say naah.'
'Yeah but I'm clean! I'm clean!' (sounding like di Caprio in Basketball Diaries)
'Nah. Yuh caaan do it tuh deh.'
Both Jesus and his surly little carrier host were giving me the evil eye by this point, and so that was that Little Britain episode over and I sulked back home again.

I sort of forgot about it after that and got on with my life, farting around doing non altruistic things like buying small microwaveable pots of risotto, debating whether to tip the hairdresser before slinking out, trying to dig milia out my eyelid with tweezers and cleaning the bathroom. That last act is was not even slightly altruistic incidentally, it had got to the stage where catching things far worse than Yellow Nile Fever seemed possible with every shower, and if my flatmate died it would be SO much hassle to find a new one.

Then the letters came. Junk mail on principle annoys me, so I threw it away unread, be it from Windows4U or small African orphans with no teeth. Then the phonecalls. I was a woman hounded, but while I have no compunction with, indeed quite like telling cold callers where to shove it (or that I am dead, either one) I couldn't do it with the Blood People.

So today I went back. I sat. I answered. I successfully passed the anemia test which I feared would be my third-time-lucky sign from God that I was not put on this earth to be altruistic. I waited some more. I was sat in in a reclining chair and was gently patronised by a woman while she merrily tried to find my vein. And then some more when she called over the Head Nurse to find my vein as it was proving a bit elusive.
'My mum said the doctor always found it quite hard to find her veins' I added helpfully.
Then clench, gnrrrrr, sting and the needle was in.
'Hmmm it's not coming out much. Can you wiggle your hand please?' The patronising woman said in a voice of an exasperated babysitter.
'It appears to be bruising. This isn't great as we might only have ten minutes before it clots' she added.
'When I last got a blood test I got a massive bruise so I looked for a junkie for a week...' I said in an overly cheerful voice, cut short by the sight of the po faces on the woman and the Head Nurse.

I was left alone after that. Some jolly bleeder was admitted who was hooked up, squirting away and carrying out an animated conversation about Edmonton within roughly two minutes, while I slowly dripped next to her.

After about eleven minutes of vague discomfort, squashed balls of tissue and far more information about mobile blood units in Edmonton than I ever hoped to overhear again, I was released. Well, not really, as I wasn't trusted to leave my seat until I had drunk an orange drink, seeing how I was new and evidentally a rather literal drip of a human being who couldn't even be trusted not to clot.

So that was that. I was lead to the waiting area, where I was able to watch an episode of Hollyoaks I had already seen twice (shame Jake, you should have known when you lied and said you were Charlie's father that he was blatantly going to get leukemia and need a bone marrow transplant!) and eat some free biscuits. I wasn't allowed tea as I was new - god knows why, they were probably worried I wouldn't know how to use a cup or would try and steal it or something - and then I was off, with only a slightly fuzzy head, two plasters and a nasty bruise as proof of my Good Deed.

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