Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Bloody Good Time, Chaps!

I'm currently wrapped up like a street fighter, my finger stings like hellfire, and I have a little red sticker. I gave blood today.

The Red Cross came in to CKC for a blood drive. We brought in quite a few people who had signed up to give blood to those in need of such stuff. As a hall staff member, I was volunteering for a couple hours, registering people and making sure they were well as they had their precious life juice extracted from them.

An aside about blood. You may notice I refer to it in many ways, from "precious life juice" (like above) to "sanguinary nectar" and a bunch of other ways. That's because I have an unusual fascination with blood. Here's an except from a dream that I converted into an unfinished story:
It was during this moment of silence that I noted the peculiar condition that my room had been cursed with. Gone were the walls, covered with paintings and photographs. Gone I say, to a world which I may never see (should God above permit me not to see so). Gone, too, was the ceiling, and above, I could see not the sun or clouds, not the moon or stars. In their stead was a foul mist, swirling amidst a most imposing darkness. The odious stench of the mist brought into my mind the tangy memory of blood. Only then did I realize that this mist was sanguine in color; it was indeed the hateful stuff! The mist gathered and coagulated, dripping from the air to the floor, replacing the rug that lay in my room with a pool of the wicked humor. It was in this pool that the fiend stood, letting the stuff soak into his charcoal robe. All else that I had known, that had stood in my room, was gone, save for my bed and my body. Although I tried to move, to escape, I could feel my corpse lying still as moss. Only my eyes would function, and they could not, would not, move from the malevolent being before me.
(It was an unsettling dream.)

I may refer to it as "hateful stuff," but I actually do enjoy it. Not as a vampire, mind you. More as a warrior. What does that mean? Well, to explain, I'd have to sound a little weird and possibly creepy. But I'm not afraid to hide anything, so I'll give a bit more insight. The inside of my nose is very delicate. When I was young, I would have nosebleeds on an almost weekly basis. So the sight of blood, particularly my own, is not uncommon to me.

I don't have nosebleeds to the same extent as I did then, but they do tend to occur every now and then without warning. Usually, it's more of an annoyance than anything. But the one time I truly enjoy getting a nosebleed is in the shower. A place of solitude, a place where all is made clean. There's nothing to lose by getting a little dirty. So, I let it flow. I let the sanguine stuff flow all over me. I take some of it in my fingers and paint my face with red markings. I pool it in my hands and squeeze then until it oozes from betwixt my fingers. I let a few drops stain my teeth a reddish-yellow. I feel invigorated. I feel like I should take up a war hammer and do some serious bludgeoning why howling to the winds.

Creeped out yet? Well, after I wash it all down the drain, the feeling passes. However, the point remains that as I was watching my blood flow through that little tube, I couldn't help but think, "beautiful."

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I originally wasn't even going to give blood. Not because I was afraid of losing blood; you have already been able to tell that that's not an issue. It wasn't even about having a needle shoved into my arm. I've been through plenty of experiences where I've had to give significant blood (most recently to prove that I didn't have Hepatitis B). No, the needle would be the easy part.

I didn't want to give blood because I didn't want to get screened.

Now, there's almost nothing wrong with screening. I have no problem telling the Red Cross that I've been in prison in the last week, or that I've had sexual relations with a prostitute. No, it was the
finger prick that vexed me. I've noticed that my fingers are more sensitive than most. I can handle pain almost anywhere on my body, almost to a borderline-masochistic degree. But not my fingertips; those are my special spots. I asked all the doctors if they could take the blood sample from anywhere else on my body. From my face, from my legs, from my wrists; anywhere but my fingertips. They said no. When I asked why, not a single one of them knew the reason.

Still, for the greater good, I went through with it. They pricked my finger, and it felt like it was being torn apart.
Them: "There, that wasn't bad, now was it."
Me: *If my teeth weren't clenched, I'd give them a piece of my mind.*

The pain lingered for quite awhile (in fact, it still is 4 hours later), which I hear is quite uncommon. In any event, while waiting to be drained, I was having a conversation with some of my coworkers as to what is the best solution to the need for blood. My idea was to create an artificial blood using science! The advantage to that would be the ability to alter this artificial blood into a kind of super-blood, so as to manufacture a race of super-humans. One coworker says that its too difficult to replicate life material, and that it would be much easier to grow a pod of humans whose sole purpose is the harvest of their lifeblood. The other coworker said that the best way would just be to make blood donation compulsory. "That won't get any support," I said, "It's socially equitable."

Then I got called up. I had talked to many of the doctors/nurses in the drive, and all but one of them was really cool. Unfortunately, I got stuck with the jerk. I tried to be nice to him, but he treated me like a clod of blood-filled dirt. He drained me while avoiding any sort of friendly remarks or words of encouragement. Without anyone to talk to, all I could do was focus on the tip of my middle finger.

I finished relatively quickly ("you bleed well") and I gorged on Cheez-Its and humorously small cans of cranberry juice. I read the little informational page they gave me. It instructed me to drink at least 36 ounces of non-alcoholic liquid, to keep my bandage on and dry, and to refrain from heavy lifting. Hence, my plan for this evening was set.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to be lifting a flowing beer keg while taking a shower.

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