Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Needle and The Damage Done

Forgive me father for I have sinned.
It's been about 3 weeks since my last tattoo.
I mark the time not only because it's always been too long since my last tattoo, but because Canadian Blood Services requires 6 months between a tattoo and a donation.
I'm a card-carrying blood donor, and I used to be a regular donor, because I believed that this was part of good citizenship.
Apparently, though, there is no great need for blood in Canada.
We're fine.
Sure the blood donation clinics appear to be recruiting new donors constantly, and even send out blood mobiles so you can donate on the go. Because you might be thinking about potentially saving someone's life, but then decide the drive down the block is just too much. They claim that the greatest threat to our blood supply is the shortage of blood. There aren't enough new donors, and there isn't enough commitment among existing donors.
And yet.
I was a willing donor, albeit a difficult one.
Admittedly, I am one of those people who is hard to stick.
A regular hospital nurse probably can't get a needle in my vein, at least not in under a dozen tries, which is mercifully as many as they're willing to attempt before calling a more experienced technician from the lab.
I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry that my veins are not as cooperative as they should be.
Because of my hard-to-prickness, needles don't really make me flinch anymore. I don't enjoy them, and I come out covered in bruises, but I can take it.
Apparently the nurses at the donation centre cannot.
They have basically told me not to bother coming back.
I make their job hard.
According to them, the blood flows so readily in this country that they can turn away willing volunteers. I sort of thought that if I'm ready to be jabbed, they should be willing to do the jabbing. No?
Must be nice.
I only hope they're right, and not just lazy.

The sad thing is, mine is not the only blood they're turning away.
They also have a lifetime ban for all gay men, regardless of risk factors or relationship status.
They're banned just for having sex with other men, which is not only discriminatory, but also completely ignorant. Science unanimously agrees that the ban is without merit, every unit is tested for HIV anyway, and the fastest growing population segment in terms of new HIV cases is women, according to Canadian AIDS Society. Should we ban them too?

Well, this one already is.
It's fine.
You're probably not planning on getting chemo or having a car accident any time soon anyway.


Teena in Toronto said...

I'd like to give blood but I hate giving blood when my doctor wants to do tests. I have to look away!

Unknown said...

I'd like to give blood too, but they won't let me because I lived in England during the great Mad Cow scare of the 1990s

kenju said...

I could never give blood because my hemoglobin was always low, and now I am too old.

Wil said...

Thank you for giving blood, even if they don't want yours right now. I can't. So when I needed over a dozen units during my open heart surgery, it was good folks like you that saved my life. Thank you, Jay.

Martini said...

That really is shocking. I haven't seen a news article on this but this is front page stuff here. Have you considered contacting one of your local papers? Yes, I said papers. I read the paper and I'm under 40!

Julia said...

I can't give blood because I've had malaria. Yes. It is 4 years later, and I have a clean bill of health from the head of the infectious disease department, but blood services has a lifetime ban for anyone who has contracted malaria. Boooooo I say boooo. It's just bad risk management policy. Silliness. The blood is tested and screened. Supid.

Martini said...

Julia, sorry to hear that. George Clooney has Malaria. It flairs up once every few years, then lays dormant again. Some forms lay dormant in your body for the rest of your life. It's terrible.