The Big Red Blood Drop stood on the corner of Main and Wheelock street, waving his short arms at passing cars. It was a jillion degrees, and the poor sap in that costume must have been close to needing his own healthcare from heatstroke. As I crossed the street, the Drop waved at me. As someone who has donated blood many times before, I figured that it was once again time to roll back my sleeves. I waved back at the Drop, and entered the blood drive.
When I entered the all purpose room-turned-makeshift hospital, I was greeted by two women who were too young to donate blood themselves. They gave me a “Kiss Me, I Gave Blood” sticker and a questionnaire to complete before going under the needle. The questionnaire was ridiculous, as always. I felt like the most boring person on Earth for not having any “Yes” answers.
No, I haven’t vacationed on “Beach #3” in Danger City, west of Reflux Island.
No, I haven’t had intimate relations with monkeys in Botswana.
No, I haven’t injected myself with cocaine or Diet Coke.
No, I haven’t traveled underseas for longer than three years.
After handing the questionnaire back, I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Then a man in need of a nose hair clipping asked me to join him for my personal history check-up. He asked me to confirm my questionnaire answers. He noted down a laundry list of countries I have traveled to in the past five years. Then finally, he took my vitals, and pricked my finger with a needle to test my iron count.
My drop of blood never dropped. I was iron-deficient. I was a blood drive failure.
I collected my belongings and plotted my escape. I quietly walked towards the exit, while an audience of do-gooders watched me from the wait room. They looked at me with knowing smiles. They probably assumed that I had spent a little too much time in Danger City.
I turned redder than my own failed blood. As I passed the Drop on my way out, I put my head down and vowed to take iron supplements until the next drive. I’ll make Iron Man look anemic next time around… 😉