Sexual Interrogation?

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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!)

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53 replies on “Sexual Interrogation?

  1. April said:

    Good job donating! I always WANT to donate. But then I get a new tattoo and get pushed out for 12 more months.

      • If you get turned away for getting a tattoo or recent travel you can always donate at a research clinic.

        These clinics take the blood for non-human use (research, equipment testing and calibration etc). I donate at research clinics whenever I’ve been exempted for travel reasons.

        Ask the nurse the next time and they will refer you. In Vancouver they are run out of UBC.
        Laura recently posted..Seriously?My Profile

        • Laura, that’s great info to know! I had no idea there were places like that!

  2. William Kendall said:

    I get the same general questions when I give blood, and yes, they are personal!

    • Right? When they start the questions, I want to say, “Please – allow me some privacy, good sir!” (And I would pronounce “privacy” like the English do — “privissy”!)

  3. Hilarious story, Darcy! I love it. I was turned away one time because I was low on iron. When I got back to my desk my boss says, “How’d you finish so fast?” I answered very loudly, “I was turned away because I had sex with a male who had sex with another male and he’s got syphilis.”

  4. Lee A Lewis said:

    I was a brand new college freshman and I saw a sign on campus for a blood drive. Full of youthful enthusiasm I decided that this was the time to start making a difference and by god I was going to start by giving blood. Like you I found many of the questions bizarre, yet hilarious. After going through the entire process we were just winding down, she is checking off the questions by rote when she asked if I had been in a malaria infested environment in the last five years. Having just returned from Africa in the last 6 months I answered yes, the look on her face as her pencil stopped just short of checking off what I presumed was the “No” box was one of surprise and what I think was shock for shaking her out of her routine. She looked at me with a quizzical expression and asked “what do you mean?” I then explained how I had just returned from Africa which is a malaria infested environment but I assured her that I had been full inoculated prior to going. She set down her pencil and proceeded to explain how I was not an acceptable donor and that I could not give blood for 5 years. I left somewhat despondent that I could not donate but determined that once the required 5 years had passed I would give blood.

    The punch line is that I waited for 5 years and then every time I went to give blood for the next 15 years I got to tell this story as I would fall fowl of the question “Have you ever been refused for donating to give blood?”

    • Wow, that trip to Africa certainly gets lots of attention at the Blood Drive! I’d love to see their facial expressions when they ask if you’ve ever been refused to donate blood and you say, “Yep!”

    • Caitlin said:

      I get a similar runaround because I went to a conference in the Canary Islands. Technically, they are Spanish, but the CDC considers them North Africa. Invariably, someone has to look them up to see if I can donate or not.

      • Wow, that CDC is very particular — glad you can still donate! BTW, Canary Islands sounds like a cool place for a conference!

  5. Amazing, isn’t it? My ex can’t give blood because he lived in France in the mid-80’s. Apparently this makes him a prime candidate for mad cow disease.
    Cassandra recently posted..Beam Me Up Mr. ScottMy Profile

    • Potential mad cow disease? Seriously? That’s wild!

    • I was born in Germany and moved to the states when I was 18. A girl I worked with lived in England for a few years. When our blood drive came around she went, got denied, and I was giving her a hard time, mad cow disease? ha ha ha…too funny, yeah your eyes look a little big today..ha ha ha…I thought you talked funny..ha ha ha….yeah till it was my turn to give blood. Yep you guessed it…I got denied for the same reason. *sigh* I had to listen to her give me a hard time after that one.

  6. Hahahah! I feel this so much. Every time I get asked questions from a doctor I feel like it’s just waves of judgement washing over me.
    Michelle recently posted..ACON: What Is My Truth?My Profile

    • Right!? I’m always afraid to see their “WHAT were you THINKING?” expression!

    • Ha! I love cookies and juice too! And PS Congrats on the strong iron!

  7. Paul said:

    Funny post Darcy. Jewelry for sex – Ha! As a regular hospital visitor, I know what you mean. I had radiation treatment some time ago and one of the things it damaged (that is wicked stuff)was my bladder. So, back at the hospital as an in patient at one point, they were flushing my bladder with medication mixed into saline. I won’t go into the setup but it was mobile and and just involved an iv stand on the outside of my clothes (robe, whatever) they were runnng fuid through me 24 hrs per day with no pain or discomfort for me – the point being to flush the bladder with the medicated saline as much as possible. Anyway the general hospital here is a teaching hospital and students are everywhere. Now and then (if you have a good attitude) they’ll send a new student in to take your information and see if they can diagnose your problem (after a real doctor has already done that and addressed it) as an exercise for the student. They were fun to tease and made for a great distraction. So,one morning a female med student showed up to take all my info as a training session. She went through all the invasive questions, which I, of course made fun of, and then got to urine output. Remember, she had no idea what or how i was being treated for and could only see the IV rack with the saline(BIG bags, mind you). “How much do you urinate in 24 hours?” “About 20 gallons.” (True story- but it was captured by another bag out of sight). “No. really, how much do you urinate in 24 hours?” “Really – 20 gallons.” “Please stop avoiding the question, I have to know how much you urinate to complete this chart.” And so went the conversation until she gave up and I told her that if she didn’t believe me she should ask my doctor or one of the nurses. She stomped out of the room very upset at me. What can I say? It seems even the truth gets me into trouble.

    • Damn, boy, you’d need to drink ALOT of beer to urinate 20 gallons per day! Ha! I bet that med student was so flummoxed by your response!

  8. I’ve given blood quite often in the last 15 years. I always answer the questions the same way. I’m their perfect monogamous, non-traveling, donor. I think there should be a “fast pass” for people like me (and you?), just like frequent fliers can get a priority pass through airport security.

    Between the pre-screening and the canteen time, the actual blood siphoning is always the quickest part of the event. :)

    • Fast Pass for pre-approved blood donors? Brilliant idea!
      I’ve been trying to get a Fast Pass at my Baskin-Robbins for YEARS!
      Don’t make me wait behind all these indecisive people vacillating between all 31 flavors!
      I know my order and I’m ready to go! Fast Pass me!

  9. So the last time I gave blood the nurse asked me if I’d had aspirin. Then she asked again. And again. I really started doubting myself, then I was all quit making me doubt myself, so I took a stand.

    No. I haven’t taken aspirin, if you must know I’m a Tylenol sort of girl and I don’t use willow twigs as toothpicks either. So yes, I’m SURE I haven’t taken aspirin or products containing aspirin in the last three days. Why?

    Her answer made me feel bad and good all at the same time.

    “It’s just there’s a really young baby waiting for a transfusion that needs your blood type and if your blood has any aspirin in it, the baby would die.”

    Cut to me looking embarrassed for even questioning the methods of the kind nurse lady who just wants to save the life of a baby.

    “I’m sure I haven’t had anything with aspirin in it.”

    The embarrassment wore off really quickly as I watched them tag the bag of my blood to rush to the children’s hospital and I never felt better about donating blood. It made the embarrassing questions easier the next time too because I knew my blood was safe for that baby and now so did the nurse. :)

    • Omigosh, Laura, what an awesome, heartwarming story! I’m so glad you walked in that day to donate so you could save that baby! Amazing!
      And I’m just like you — if someone asks me enough times, I’m sure to doubt myself too! It would be like this:
      “Did you eat a rhino for lunch?” No, of course not!
      “Did you eat a rhino for lunch?” No, I tell ya!
      “Did you eat a rhino for lunch?” No way, Jose!
      “Did you eat a rhino for lunch?” Aw sh*t…um…I dunno…maybe?…it’s possible, I guess…OK, OK, YES I ATE A RHINO FOR LUNCH!!

  10. AinOakPark said:

    Hmmm. Can you talk to my husband about that jewelry for sex thing?

    Good for you for donating.

    My daughter would come home from university and always have something “good” for us to do. Once it was food for the local food bank, the next time it was giving blood, and so on.

    Yes, they do ask all those questions, and it is annoying to answer them aloud, especially if one of the answers is going to make you uncomfortable. Like you are going to answer them differently if you just fill out the form by yourself. Are you likely to answer incorrectly? Are you likely to answer differently five minutes later?

    We were giving blood and my daughter said she was just about to go off to England for school. They told her that this would be the last time she could give blood in the US due to issues with Mad Cow Disease.

    And for years my height to body weight ratio wasn’t high enough for me to give blood. (Not that I minded that much.)

    • Your daughter sounds like a sweetie!
      And I’d LOVE to be rejected from donation because I’m too tall for my weight! Ha!

      • AinOakPark said:

        Right! I once complained because my thighs didn’t touch, and one of my friends told me that most women would be HAPPY to be able to say that. And now that I am older and have to watch the weight, I agree.

        (And, yes, she is a pretty neat kid, not that I can take much credit for it, as she does all that on her own.)

        • Aw, I bet she gets that big heart from her mama!

  11. Those questions sure have come a long way since the last time I gave blood, which was admittedly, quite a long time ago. The late 80’s I think, but I donated so much back then, the Red Cross actually sent me a certificate and a nifty little pin when I reached 5 gallons donated.

    But back then the hardest question was “Have you been drinking”?

    They totally bought it when I said “No” too!
    Eric recently posted..“Doesn’t play well with others” and why it should be allowed on my resume’My Profile

    • Ha! Wow, 5 gallons is ALOT of blood! You deserve a pin and certificate!!

  12. OOoooh sore subject for me this one! I’m not allowed to donate blood as a gay man (in the UK) unless I can prove I haven’t had any sexy times for at least 12 months … I’m afraid keeping my man happy comes before the plasma needs of the injured … cos if it didn’t I would be plasma needy and injured! (just kidding obviously just in case he reads this….)

    • Good grief, don’t give up the sexy times!
      You can always donate time or money to good causes instead of blood.
      Let the sexy times roll!

    • Go eat some pizza, woman! :o) That’s how I plumped up to weigh enough to donate blood. ‘Cuz I’m a giver like that.
      “Eat this pizza to help save lives? Why yes thank you, don’t mind if I do!” Ha!

  13. “Well, I’m married. Does jewelry count?”

    Bwahahaha. Now THAT is funny. Ah, the things we do to save lives. I mean uh, yea. Oh, nevermind. I’m barely caffeinated over here. What else is new?
    Kim recently posted..A Break from Blog LandMy Profile

    • Because I’m saving lives — or because I exchange jewelry for sex?

    • Thanks, Jan! And I LOVE Millie Noe! She’s awesome!

  14. Alex said:

    My mother donated blood every six months for 25 years and got a Red Cross medal to prove it. I, of course, was going to follow in her footsteps (I really wanted that medal). I’m clean living, not afraid of needles, not afraid of seeing blood, with a generic blood type which is still in demand, so off I swaggered. The questions were very rudimentary in those days (20 years ago) so it didn’t take long before I was lying on the couch having been punctured with a huge needle and squeezing a ball, very proud of myself. I watched the bag fill with my good clean dark blood. All good. And then… I got up. I immediately went down again. I was nauseous, dizzy, blurry vision, seeing dark spots … any sort of symptom you can have after giving blood and I had it. I had more than my share of chocolate biscuits and cannot express my level of embarrassment when the nurse gently suggested I only give blood when they “really need it”. Sorry mum.

    • A Red Cross MEDAL? That’s awesome!!
      Your mum’s blood donor record is so cool.
      As for you, well…perhaps you have other talents to serve mankind…?