by Kerry Dougherty
During these long and lonely shut-in days, I spend a lot of time talking to myself.
For instance, I got up yesterday morning, poured a cup of coffee, took a deep breath and turned on my computer.
What fresh hell awaits us today, I whispered as it flickered on.
Instead of another load of catastrophe porn, though, I found this: A message from the American Red Cross.
“Through March 18, nearly 4,500 blood drives have been canceled due to coronavirus to concerns, resulting in over 150,000 fewer blood donations. Yesterday, the Surgeon General stressed the importance of giving blood. Make an appointment.”
Geez, that’s terrible, I murmured, as I started to delete the message. I hope people donate.
Then I thought about a special guy I know who has blood cancer. He gets transfusions regularly. Without them, his prognosis would be grim.
Wait a minute, I thought. I’m people. I should donate.
I’m not proud of this, but I rarely donate blood. For many years I couldn’t. Weigh less than 110? They won’t take your blood.
I knew THAT was no longer a problem. Hasn’t been for a while.
So I went online, made an appointment and printed a pass. Ten minutes, max.
At the appointed time I arrived at the Red Cross center on Virginia Beach Boulevard where my temperature was taken. Twice. A cool 97.6, in case you’re interested.
Then I had a brief interview with a guy who trained as an EMT.
He asked all the usual questions that apply to people who live more, ah, adventurous lives than you and I: Any intravenous drug use? Promiscuous sex? New tattoos? Spend more than 72 hours in jail this year? Prostitution? (Do men really pay for dalliances with women my age? I didn’t ask.)
“Have you been pregnant in the past six weeks?”
“Excuse me?” I stammered.
“Have you been pregnant in the last six weeks?” he repeated.
Dang, my colorist is GOOD, I thought.
“It’s a question we ask every female,” he quickly added.
Next thing I knew, I was reclining on a Naugahyde chaise, watching HGTV – which always makes me feel bad about my house – while my O-positive blood filled a little bag.
One of the aides saw me struggling to take a one-armed pic and offered to take a full-body shot. I declined.
I’m not looking my best during this pandemic.
In less than 20 minutes I was finished.
Here’s a thought: If you’re looking for an excuse to go somewhere other than on another hand sanitizer hunt, give blood.
The only thing the Red Cross asks is that you make an appointment. They’re limiting the number of people in their buildings.
The centers are clean, the nice people keep their distance – except when they stick you – and you come away feeling like you did something other than count your toilet paper rolls.
Who knows, your gift might help a certain guy I know.
This column was published originally at www.kerrydougherty.com.