At risk from vampires

Last week, I decided to be a good person (a decision I struggled with for a good second or so) and donate blood.

This is a story of why I can't.

Short version: I'm a wuss.

So I walk to the Darnley, where the temporary blood bank is set up. On the way there I bump into Amy, because it appears that none of my stories is complete without her involvement (and I have another one lined up).

I get to the hotel and sign up. Well there's a guy with a computer who takes your details and asks why you didn't go when they were in DCU, even though you never remember hearing about that. Or maybe that's just for me.

Then there's the form. It asks questions like "Do you have AIDS?", "Seriously, do you have AIDS?", and "Do you have a mutant healing factor like Wolverine because that'd really help".

Next you put the form in a box and a nurse brings you to a closed off area where they repeat every question on the form to try and catch you out. I responded in my usual courteous manner.

"For the last time, I don't have AIDS, I've never juggled used needles and my only mutant power is the ability to spontaneously create five euro notes!"

My X-men name is Cuig.

Now we get to the crux of the tale, namely the reason why I donations of the sanguine variety are not my bag, baby.

I should mention at this point that I'm pretty squeamish. I don't watch horror movies and although House is one of my favourite shows I can't watch any of the surgery scenes without looking away.

But I don't faint at the sight of blood, so the next part confuses me.

I get taken to another closed off area where another nurse performs an iron test. In theory. Se pricks my finger and puts some blood on a slide. Then she asks me how I feel. I say "My stomach feels a bit wobbly", which it does. From nerves.

To be fair to her I can't blame her for jumping to the conclusion she did. Nervousness is not immediately obvious from that sentence, even though I didn't realise it at the time. In the past I've used it to mean anything from "I'm full" to "I'm about to throw up".

Immediately I'm calmly told to lie on the ground. She's a nurse and the guide that came with the form said that if you're nervous the nurses will help you out. Another other nurse (Sorry, I didn't get any names. Feel free to name her yourself. Veronica's a good choice.) brings me a spongy pillow thing to rest my head and a glass of water. I drink.

After about three minutes, and a bit of condescension from Nurse 1 ("Maybe you're not cut out for this") Nurse 2 and new Nurse 4 (there were like 10 of them. It's almost like you need a large team to take blood or something) bring me to one of the beds to rest. For about an hour, with intermittent visits, glasses of water, occasional offers of crisps and several comments that my computer screen tanned face looks very sickly. Any points to the contrary were met with more concern:
"Honestly I'm fine. I'm always quite pale."
"You say that, but you're very white."
Then it's recommended that I lie down again.

As they're starting to close up Nurse 7 (or possibly 8) asks if I live far and if there's anyone I can ring to pick me up. I've quit trying to convince them so I phone Mum. I'm escorted out in case, I don't know, maybe in case I see one of the blood packs and faint. I'm given a handful of pencils as I leave.

Tangent:
Dad used to give blood regularly. He'd usually come back with a black and red striped pencil that read "The owner is a donor". I'd bring them to school occasionally and feel slightly guilty because the pencils were a blatant lie. But then again I had a pen that said "Ní scríobhann ann peann seo ach Gaeilge" and would test that out quite regularly. The important thing is that these were not those pencils.

These pencils were blue. And they all had a blood type on them. The same blood type.


B negative.

So now I'm left writing my X-men fanficiton.

But the bouncer refused to let Cyclops into the Parisian chapter of the Hellfire Club. He struggled to decide what his next option should be.
"Hmmm, I could use my optic blasts, the power of which can only be contained by my visor's ruby quartz lenses, but the Professor taught us to only use violence as a last resort."
Suddenly, a moment of realisation dawned.
"Cuig, make fivers appear until this man lets us in!"
"Yes sir!"