Friday, Nov. 28, 2003
Dear Diary:

I set a new Personal Best in power bleeding today, filling the blood donation bag and various testing vials in under 3 1/2 minutes!

Sadly, my exact time down to the second will never be known because the medical technician, not realizing he was in the presence of bleeding greatness, was sloppy about keeping track.

I know. I am as disappointed as you are. I am trying to be brave.

I tell myself that this is the sort of struggle all athletes face before their sport is formally acknowledged. One day, when power bleeding becomes an Olympic event, the announcers will say, "Yeah, sure, the Bulgarians may have a lock on the sport now, but once there was a woman in Quebec who could have out-hemorrhaged the whole kit and kaboodle of them."

I wasn't planning to give blood today. The original plan was to get a new pair of running shoes since the alarmingly shiny silver shoes with no discernable super powers have begun attacking my left foot. I know. I'm as appalled by this turn of events as you are. You buy a pair of shoes, you give them a good home, and what do they do? After a few months they start rubbing the top of your left foot, and not in a good way.

So I drove 45 minutes to a mall that had an actual sports store and when I walked in through the door I was assaulted by the Give Blood posters. There were pictures of alarmingly cute children who had been saved by blood transfusions. There were posters of moms surrounded by doting husbands and their adoring kids.

"Give the gift of blood and give the gift of life," the posters trumpeted.

Drat. How could I refuse?

When I first gave blood in high school it was an amazingly simple process. They looked at your birth certificate to make sure you were old enough, pricked your finger to get your blood type and make sure you weren't anemic, and then they sucked the blood right out of you. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes.

Today it takes at least an hour. Before Hema Québec will sink its fangs into you, you have to read a pamphlet and an information sheet, answer detailed medical questions, and discuss the sort of person with whom you've been bootilicious.

That done, you must confirm that you have indeed avoided travelling in most of Africa and a series of other countries. Last time I gave I was surprised to see England on the list, and was told that was because of Mad Cow Disease. This year France was added to the list for the same reason.

Fortunately, since I am an insanely boring person who has enjoyed good health, a pathetically narrow sex life and been almost no where in the world, I am Pure Gold in the world of bleeding.

So what's the difference between power bleeding and your ordinary blood donor? Well, most people take a truly pitiful 10 to 15 minutes to fill a blood bag.

Slugs.

The secret to power bleeding is to rapidly clench and unclench the fist of the arm that is being bled. With that one simple move you vault from the world of ordinary donor to Power Bleeder. No need to thank me for this nugget. I can feel your gratitude from here. Yep, do the clenching and you'll be in and out of that chair and on your way to the free sweet beverages, cookies, fruit and cake before you know it.

There's always been a long list of things they've screened blood for here in Quebec (everything from AIDS to hepatitis) and this time a new goodie was added to the list -- West Nile Virus.

I asked the nurse if having West Nile would mean that I could do those Walk Like An Egyptian moves made famous by the Bangles.

Oddly enough, they are not big on 1980's girl band humour in the world of blood donating. After giving me a My God, But The English Are Freakishly Weird look, the francophone nurse solemnly told me that the presence of West Nile virus in my blood would mean they'd throw it out.

So keep your fingers crossed that this summer I wasn't bitten by the wrong mosquito. It would be beyond sad if all that power bleeding was for nothing, eh?

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 524.8 miles (854 kilometers)
met goal Nov. 7
Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Half way smoochTen percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.
Goal for 2003: 500 miles - 804.5 kilometers

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