TWITTER: @sirbacon123

13 July 2010

Blood, Sweat & Trail Mix

Every year there are certain events cemented in my calendar.
My fantasy basketball draft.
My fantasy football draft.
My fantasy baseball draft.
My annual physical exam.
Fortunately, all four of those events have brought very positive results in the past.
But not every year.
Like the year I drafted Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony.
Or the year I passed on some guy named Jerry Rice. 
Or the year that I released Roy Halladay. 
Or the year that my blood test came back with a high ferritin count.
When the doctor told me my ferritin level had exceeded the limit, I thought she was making a joke about the little weaselly house pet.
Oh.  Ferritin.  Not ferret.  My bad.
Biology was not my strong suit, either time I took it.
When the doctor starts reading off the results to your blood test and there’s no punch line at the end, you listen loud and clear.
Ferritin is the protein in the human body that stores iron and apparently I was storing too much.
She had me go to a local clinic for a follow up with a specialist.
Not that I needed a wake-up call, but considering the facility had “Cancer” and “Clinic” in their name it made me sit up straight.
Fortunately my concerns were erased fairly quickly when the specialist said that the level should be cleared up by giving blood on a regular basis.
I had donated before, once in college -- 20 years earlier -- but I hadn’t ever thought to do it again.
Until now.
Since that nudge by the good doctor, two-and-a-half years ago, I have given blood every 56 days or so.
That’s the amount of time they make you wait between donations.
Monday morning I made my 17th trip to the local blood bank.
And for the 17th time I made a joke about, “good thing my blood is red.”
I think the score is five chuckles, nine smirks and three do you really think I am interested in hearing that joke AGAIN.
It takes eight visits to donate a gallon, so today I started giving my third gallon of the good stuff.
In addition to donating for me, I’m also doing it for a bunch of other people who REALLY need it.
You see, my blood type is O- (oh negative), which only 7% of people have AND as a bonus, my blood type can be used by anybody else.
My stuff is the real deal.
Blood it is, Red Gold, Texas Tea.
I arrived at the center at 9:20am and by 10 O’clock I was back in my car, 470 milliliters lighter.
I’ve been so many times now the nurses know me as hey you.
The first item on the menu is a 49-question survey.
The same kind of questions you get at a job interview or so I’m told.
In the last XX months, have you had a piercing... a tattoo.. a transfusion... accidental needle stick... malaria... hepatitis... sex with a prostitute.
Where’s my attorney?
Did you spend three months or more in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996?
Do my teeth look that bad?
Have you ever received money or drugs for sex?   
Have you had sexual contact with a male, “even once”?
I love it that they put the last part in quotes to make sure that everybody knows we are playing without mulligans. 
Once you pass that test, next is a check of your pulse and blood pressure.
68 on the pulse.  96 over 70 on the blood pressure.
I guess unemployment has been berry berry good to me.
Then it was on to the tricked out, extra padded, chaise lounge chair.
There must’ve been a sale somewhere, because the clinic was stocked with at least ten of them.
Once the nurse confirmed it was me, I had a needle in my arm faster than you could say, YOUCH.
Actually it doesn’t hurt that bad and it’s for a good cause.
In the past they’ve given us donors everything from t-shirts to ice scrapers to water bottles and pins.

Today we got a beach towel.
To wipe up any extra blood I suppose.
But wait, there’s more.
When your are done giving blood, they encourage you to sit in the waiting area for 10-15 minutes and enjoy free treats.
Trail Mix, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, water, juice...
Where am I, Costco?
Giving blood has never been so much fun.
Now if I could only get Roy Halladay back.

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