Long ago, my mother instilled in me a duty to give blood.  She gave blood quite frequently.  I used to give blood religiously every 8 weeks — my friends and I even made an outing of it.  Fortunately, I lived in cities where there were blood centers — one could just walk in and donate.  That isn't the case here — I have to wait around for a blood drive or drive to give my blood.  heh.

Unfortunately, more than 10 years ago I received a letter from the American Red Cross informing me that I was no longer to give blood EVER because they had detected an indicator of a more serious problem that COULD be, but was not necessarily, hepatitis.  Even if my doctor were to confirm a clean bill of health, they said, they didn't want my blood.

I was hurt.  As type O-, I'm a universal donor, and my blood is always in high demand.  I knew there was nothing wrong.  I was just crushed.  I felt dirty.

A year or so ago, I received a letter from the Red Cross informing me that yo! their testing had improved, they re-tested my blood, and I'm all cool now.  I already knew that, having given at other centers in the interim.  I was a little miffed that they took so long, but a little impressed that they managed to chase me down through two marriages and seven moves.  Now that's power.

Today I went to give at a blood drive at the recreation center.  I took Laurel with me, because I want her to learn the importance of donating blood.

The drive began and 3 and we got there at 3:05.  We waited 2.5 hours before I even got in the chair.  Then we waited a bit longer while they hooked me up.  The actual donation itself, transferring blood to the bag, only took me around 5 minutes — I squeeze the hell out of those little thingies to make the blood go faster.

By the time we got out of there, it was 6:05.  THREE FRIGGIN' HOURS.

And they didn't even have a medium sized t-shirt for me, so I had to put my name on a list.

I'm happy that they were swamped with donors, I'm happy they had to call in reinforcements just to handle the volume of donors.  Everybody was very nice.  I'm just tired from sitting there for three friggin' hours.

But at least I wasn't at the doctor's office with Ethan.