My Mark of Shame

While I have no idea what this means to medical personnel, to me it’s a mark of shame. It announces loudly and proudly my invalidity, or rather that I can’t donate blood without blacking out.

The back story is pretty boring. I’ve tried to give blood twice before today, once in high school. That first time, I found out the hard way that my veins are somewhat difficult to find, and that when poked and prodded for a while, eventually I’ll get all light-headed and black out. The second time wasn’t the best experience in the world, as I was left feeling queasy despite my successful donation.

Today, Anderson University was holding a blood drive at the wellness center, so after working out I decided that the third time would be the proverbial charm. I told Patrick, the lucky man who ended up drawing my blood, about the previous experiences, but to my delight he found my vein rather quickly. The donation was going really well; in fact, I got through 4-5 pages in my Ehrman book Misquoting Jesus before anything went awry. From there, however, things went downhill pretty quickly. I had the surreal thought that I didn’t feel too well, and while losing consciousness I managed to say “Sir…” twice, because the first time I did not get Patrick’s attention.

I came back to life with four people around me, including one nice girl imploring me to have a drink of Coke. “Crap,” I thought, it happened again. (I should have known it was a bad omen when I walked in to the blood-drawing area, however. I watched another girl pass out just before they asked me all kinds of questions about whether I’d had sex with prostitutes or Africans since 1977, and the like.)

Finishing up, Patrick bandaged my arm and sent me on to the snack table. I didn’t see anyone else get the Red X Mark of Shame Bandage™ besides me, however. Patrick’s parting words to me were: “Maybe you should reconsider donating blood.”

Well, okay, thanks. I do understand the sentiment, because I basically wasted their time and resources with what didn’t result in a full bag of blood… but at least I tried, right? Oh well. As of Wednesday, September 8, 2010, I am officially an ex-blood donor. I’ll keep all of my valuable O-positive blood to myself. Take that, American Red Cross!

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