Well, THAT’S a Little Personal

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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 asks 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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13 replies on “Well, THAT’S a Little Personal

  1. Steve J. said:

    I went through a similar experience. Well, not quite as detailed as yours. After answering many questions, he asked if I had lived in England in the last 10 years. As it happened, I had. I was rejected. Seems they were afraid I may have contracted Mad Cow disease.

  2. leah g said:

    Last time I went to donate blood, I got through the whole questionnaire and then failed the iron test. I was so sad and a bit embarrassed.

  3. Erin said:

    When I was in high school they had a blood drive during the week of my period. They asked all the questions you mention above, but the nurse didn’t mention anything about periods, so in my head I was like, I’m already losing blood but they don’t seem concerned about it so I won’t bring it up. Cut to an hour or so later, when I wake up with my head on a toilet seat after I passed out in the bathroom. Cheek pressed to toilet seat. Two inches to the left and I could have drowned in a toilet my senior year of high school. Not how I want to go out.

    • barbara said:

      You don’t actually bleed when you menstruate, you are shedding the endometrial lining.
      Most likely you were a little dehydrated.

  4. Corey said:

    First time I gave blood was because a teacher I had a mad crush on said how “heroic” it was to donate. It was 2PM and I hadn’t eaten all day. On top of that, I was deathly afraid of needles. I sat down to answer the preliminary questions in the big, open, marble-floored, VERY BUSY rotunda of the school. I was doing fine right up until they tried to test for iron by pricking my finger. I passed out and landed face first on the marble floor. Several minutes later, I woke up…with two black eyes and my hot teacher standing over me trying hard not to laugh.

  5. Paul said:

    In the last few years I’ve spent some time in hospitals and after a while you grow immune to personal questions and even start to expect them. They can, upon occasion, be quite funny. As a dialysis patient, I spend about 15 hrs per week in the hospital. One evening there was an elderly woman, who looked to be in her 80’s, dialyzing at the station directly across from me. (The module set up is 6 stations per room – called a bay.) Each patient is weighed in and then out to determine how much fluid has been removed. Depending on the mobility of the patient there are numerous ways for them to be weighed. The elderly woman was not a regular patient in our module so the attending nurse was not familiar with her. When it came time to remove the woman from the machine:

    Nurse: “How do you get weighed?”

    Elderly woman (Loudly): “What did you say dear?”

    Nurse (Loudly now too): “I said: HOW DO YOU GET WEIGHED?”

    Elderly woman (Louder yet): “OH, I’M SORRY. I THOUGHT YOU ASKED: ‘HOW DO YOU GET LAID?’”

    • That’s hilarious! I would love to have heard her answer to the question she THOUGHT was being asked!! :o)

      • Paul said:

        That, Darcy, was precisely the question on everyone’s mind, soooo… once the lady had left, the question got asked of everyone going by: “How do you get laid?”

        From an irreverent passing nurse: “I’m Catholic, so I’d have to say; ‘By missionary'”

        From an orderly: “See that patient lift in the ceiling? It has more uses than you know.”

        From the lady’s nurse: “Why would she think I would ask her such a question?”

        It became a quest for the truth.

        • So funny! I’d have to think about how I would answer that question.

          “How do you get laid?”

          High heels and a smile, baby — high heels and a smile.


  6. I am sensitized Rh negative and prepared to be an autologous donor prior to surgery. They would not let me have my own blood because of some antibody. Was that not why I gave it? Never got a reasonable explanation.
    Virginia Llorca recently posted..LemmingsMy Profile

    • That does seem really odd, Virginia! It’s your own blood, for Pete’s sake!