That’s right, with a Y.  They are the hardcore new vampyres, not the simple vampires of old.  No Count Dracula, here.  I speak, of course, about Canadian Blood Services.

I have set myself an arbitrary goal (as so many of my goals seem to be) of donating blood 100 times by the time I’m 40.  Every 8 weeks (or thereabouts depending on scheduling), I pop into the permanent clinic on Ontario Street and turn over 650ml of my hard-earned platelets that it may benefit up to three strangers.  I’m at 20 donations so far so I will probably miss my goal by about two donations.  This interruption in service is largely due to the fact that we went to Mexico for our anniversary in 2007.

Apparently, the part of Mexico where we went (Cancun) is at risk for malaria or swine flu or something and so I needed to take a year off donating to make sure I wasn’t going to infect people with some kind of dire plague.  I learned this when I was in pre-screening for my third donation of 2008 so I’m hoping that nobody caught anything horrible from my fluids.  I don’t quite know how I slipped through the cracks.  I was very up-front about having been to Cancun and it wasn’t until about April that they figured out I had to take a break.

I went down to the clinic last night to do the deed.  I made sure to be well hydrated and to eat something before going.  My veins are loath to give up their precious cargo and as a result I tend to take between 15 and 30 minutes for something that I have seen take just over four with other people.  There was a time that things apparently shut down completely and I left after doing only about 400mL.

Last night’s donation was fraught with uncertainty and error.  The first thing the nurse does is checks through identity information and I apparently forgot my phone number and address (stumbling through both, very embarrassing).  There is then an iron test that consists of getting one’s finger pricked and a drop of blood taken to drop into some kind of copper solution.  The extraction of blood from this simple maneuver did not go well but I did pass the iron test, so that was good.  I managed to remember not only my name but also my address, phone number and birthday for the second part of the screening process.

I have had ill luck with both arms so I don’t even bother to suggest one over the other and just go to the first chair that’s available (for those of you who haven’t been, most clinics have a couple of chairs set up so that either arm can be used and a couple set up for right or left arm.  It saves on equipment, I assume).  Last night my left arm was chosen.  The nurse had very little luck finding any kind of vein at all in either arm (she checked both and tied the tourniquet off until my arm was nearly purple).  When she inserted the needle and opened up the hose (I really should learn the technical terms), nothing happened.  Usually the breaking of a seal far down the hose results in an immediate flow of blood into a sampling bag and then into the main bag but that was not the case with me.

The first nurse tried to re-seat the needle (which is not as painful as it sounds but is an extremely weird feeling) and had no luck.  She asked another nurse to come by and give it a shot but it was all for naught.  I evidently have no blood in my left arm which makes me somewhat concerned for the welfare of my left hand.  After all, I wear my wedding ring there and use it to type words like stewardesses, abstracted and decerebrated so it is quite important to my overall well-being.  When the needle was removed, I expected there to be a ‘pffffffffffft’ noise or possibly a small cloud of dust.  There was hardly any blood at all.  The bandaid was a mere formality because they don’t like you to leave unmarked.  I’ll be rescheduling for next week, assuming my fingertips don’t fall off.

see yourself in a crowded room