A pound of info for a pint of blood

Last week, despite the fact that there was a good chance I would pass out, I decided to give blood.

Now before you go warming the cockles of your heart, I should point out I did not do it to be noble, but for purely selfish reasons.

Look, I realize that I am a certified moron who makes hasty decisions. I know that one day soon I'll decide to take up chainsaw juggling or buy a home piercing kit or insult a roller derby girl and I will need blood " most likely lots of it.

So I figure, might as well give some now, knowing I'm gonna get it back eventually because come on, it's me.

Now, in my life I have given blood maybe 16 times and passed out eight of them. Not "felt a little woozy and had a cookie" passed out, but "full-on hit the floor drooling like a baby" passed out.

But, like a masochist to a clamp, I keep coming back for more.

I admit that in college I did it because I could give blood in the morning and then get drunk that night " on one beer.

I'm sure there weren't any lasting effects. What, who said that?

For the most part giving blood doesn't hurt; it's just annoying. You have to sit there for like 30 minutes with this needle in your arm watching as your essence drains away.

Essence? Seriously, I read one Cosmo and all the sudden I'm using words like "essence." That ain't right.

No, for me the worst part is when they take you to that little secluded room before you give blood to make sure your donation is worthy.

It's just you and the nurse in the "room of guilty feelings" where you will be interrogated.

Oh, they start out nice, asking you how your day is going, what is your name, where do you live, what is your cup size and so on, but that's just to make you comfortable.

Then BAM, they launch into these questions about sex and drugs and tattoos and Latin America.

Have you ever exchanged money for sex?

Have you ever been to Latin America?

Have you ever slept with someone who exchanged money for sex or drugs?

Have you taken any pills or medication not prescribed to you by a doctor in the last three weeks?

The best part however, is that they ask all these long-winded, very inclusive questions with multiple parts and subpoints to lull you into unconsciousness, then hit you with a stunner to catch you off guard.

"Have you been to Africa, South America, lower Armenia, the Vatican or Texas between 12:18 p.m. Aug. 16, 1961, and 3:42 a.m. March 31, 1989?"

Do you have AIDS?

The problem is, I don't know how to appropriately answer these questions. If I answer no quickly, then I look like I'm lying. But, if I stop and think about it, ponder the question a bit, then I look guilty as hell.

Part of me thinks that there is no way they ask these questions to the elderly people who give blood, that they have an alternate set of questions ready to make it look like they treat everyone equal.

Jarid's version: Are you a dirty, promiscuous jackass?

Alternate: Do you like mittens?

So about halfway through my "interview" I got a little bored and thought I'd have fun with the woman who would soon be sticking me with needles.

Brilliant idea on my part.

So she asks me, "Have you taken any pills recently?" I answer "you mean besides Advil?"

Oh no, code red.

"When was the last time you took Advil?" Yesterday. "What was your purpose for taking Advil?" I had a headache. "Have you taken any today?" No. "Do you have a headache currently?"

I didn't when I walked in here, but all the sudden I'm feeling dizzy.

- Jarid Shipley is the Features Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.


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