It was time for me to visit Dracula's Castle again, as I do three times a year - this time for my 92nd blood donation. I always say, "If I make 100 then I will have a transfusion for a change."
Up to that point the day had been quite uneventful - nothing to inspire a chapter in one's memoirs and I did all the preliminary things like answering the usual questions like, "If you are a man have you ever had sex with a man with or without a condom!" This question always elicits the same response of sheer revulsion every time I answer it, along with similar questions. I can think of nothing in the whole universe I would hate to do more than this . . . but we all know the National Blood Transfusion Service have to ask these questions because of the tight controls necessary on HIV and trying to prevent spread of AIDS. Similarly the questionnaire asked if I have ever had, or am descended from anyone who suffered from, CJD or "Mad Cow's Decease". This unfortunate disease was rife 15 or so years ago in UK and for a while no-one dared eat beef.. The French in particular boycotted all our meat, including Lamb for ages and it affected our entire economy for years. Quite a number of unfortunate people contracted the decease which is not at all pleasant and invariably fatal. Anyway, with me declaring a definite no to all of these questions I was summoned into a room for an interview with a nurse who went through the questionnaire and proceeded to test my blood by pricking it with a needle and squeezing a drop into a green solution designed to test the iron content of my blood. I have had only one failure during my donating life when the globulule floated but this time I watched it sink quite quickly to the bottom. "OK! you're fine to donate!".
Another nurse escorted me to the donating area and I lay on the bed awaiting Count Dracula. He was not there but the countess in the disguise of a doctor prepared my left arm for the dreaded needle after applying blood pressure to my upper arm. When the needle is inserted in a vein it sometimes hurts a little, but more often than not all I ever experience is just a bit more than a prick. Some of my friends, all strapping great chaps, are terrified of needles, and have not the courage to come with me to donate blood. Anyway on this particular occasion she was very gentle with me - all I experienced was a slight prick and I said, "You can do it next time!", which elicited a smile.
Prior to this something new happened. I was handed a card advising that to assist blood flow during donation it is recommended that we should crimp our buttocks on and off for the entire period. I laughed myself silly at this and so did the nurse who said it always caused amusement. As a joke I proceeded to ask, "Which ones, Gluteus Maximus, Gletueus Medius or Gluteus Minimus?" and continued that I had not the foggiest idea how to voluntarily control either of them!". She howled with laughter. Oh dear, Eddie strike again! She said "Forget it, just pump your hand as normal!".
During the donation I noticed a lady next to me and a gent on the other side, all donating. She looked at me and laughed and asked, "Forgive me for asking but I am wondering, can you do it? "No, haven't a clue!", I said and laughed out loud. "Neither can I, but I'm trying", said the chap in the next bed and he must have tried too hard because he promptly broke wind. We were in hysterics. The nurse remarked that she regretted the day that this ridiculous card was issued as it invariably was responsible for causing a great deal of embarrassment. I can see her point. Oh well, I suppose it gave us something to laugh about . . . . and material for my blog. As a parting shot I did ask her if there was anything else I should practice before my next donation. Good job she had a good sense of humour.
Oh and by the way . . . . . can ayone out there do it?
"Err . . . . . you hnow!" LOL