So then…he looks me over and asks, “Have you had sexual relations with anyone with yellow jaundice or viral hepatitis?”
And I think, Omigod, do I look like someone who’s been doing that? Do I look jaundicy?
“No!” I exclaim defensively.
Now I’m worried he thinks “she doth protest too much” and that I’ve totally been shagging hepatitis-jaundice people all day long.
“Any tattoos or body piercings?” he asks.
“No,” I say, trying to think how I can prove this to him without completely disrobing – and realizing that it would be much easier to prove that one DOES have tattoos (i.e. look at the skull on my ass!) or piercings (i.e. check out my nipple ring!) than to prove one does NOT.
“In the past twelve months, have you had a positive test for syphilis?”
I hesitate. Does he mean “positive” as in – a positive result — like “hooray, I don’t have syphilis!” — or “positive” as in – “damn, I tested positive for syphilis!”
He looks up from his clipboard.
“Nope, no syphilis, nope,” I say quickly.
“In the past 12 months, have you had sex with a male who has had sex, even once, since 1977 with another male?”
Omigod, that’s a lot of pressure. Now I’m responsible for remembering everyone I had sex with – plus everyone THEY had sex with? How would I know? This is the age of the bisexual, the metrosexual, the hypersexual. As far as I know, none of my males had relations with other males, but that phrase “even once” is stressing me out. I’m trying to recall if anyone’s said something like “I experimented a bit in college” — or “one time, at band camp…”
“Ummmm,” I stammer. “I’m not sure. Since 1977, huh? That’s a lot to think about.”
He says, “You don’t have to think of everyone you had sex with since 1977 – just if your recent partners had male relations since 1977. So just think of the people you’ve had sex with in the past 12 months.”
Oh, that narrows it down some.
“Ok, then no.”
He checks off the box on the form and prepares to ask another question.
He’s already asked if I’ve been to Haiti — if I’ve injected drugs by syringe — if I’ve had sex with anyone who’s injected drugs by syringe — while in Haiti.
These are awfully personal questions and I should be incensed by this invasive procedure. I’m just trying to give blood, for God’s sakes. I’m trying to save lives, people! Cut me some slack on the inquisition!
On the other hand, I’m such a people-pleaser, I want to answer all the questions correctly. And I’m so competitive, I want to ace this test and prove that my blood is the best, most pure, most awesome blood they could ever hope to collect today! Super Blood!
He asks, “At any time, have you taken money or drugs in exchange for sex?”
I pause. “Well, I’m married – so does jewelry count?”
Fortunately, the Blood Drive tech has a sense of humor.
I pass the test. I give the blood. I get cookies and juice.
And I save lives, people!
— Darcy Perdu
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(Any fun stories to share about your visits to the doctor, hospital, blood bank – or times when you had to share personal info you’d rather keep private? Do tell!)