Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2020/ Why Give Blood?

Why Give Blood?

Yesterday I donated blood for (I think) the 127th time. The young volunteer serving snacks expressed astonishment at this. "You must have started when you were very young?" she gushed. She asked what motivated me to start giving blood, and I mumbled something about being in good health and thinking it would be worthwhile, and that there was no big motivation behind it.

That was a lie, and I knew as much as soon as I had mumbled my answer. (So much for Santa giving me presents this year.) None of the actual motivations make me look good:

You would think that I would feel good for having my blood used to save people's lives, but that does not rank highly in my motivations at all.

As the years have passed many of these justifications have failed me. In these COVIDy times we have to pre-order our snacks ("Two Nutri-Grain bars, please") and then leave. There are no newspapers to read.

Moreover most of the available snacks contain palm oil, and I am trying to avoid palm oil.

They stopped taking blood pressure by October 2019. That may have been the worst blow. Of course during COVID they want to touch you as little as possible, but they stopped before then, and that stung a lot.

The blood donation questionnaire is now electronic, so monitoring changes is more difficult. I also believe that different people get different versions of the questionnaire, so that people like me see the remaining racism less. (Thankfully Canadian Blood Services revamped their screening questionnaire a while back, which reduced the racism somewhat.)

Donating 100 times or 127 times or whatever has not been much of a bragging point, and it has not really justified my existence. It would take another four to six years to get to 150 donations, and I am just not up to it. Avoiding sex does not feel like much of an accomplishment either, especially now that I am older and fatter and uglier than I used to be.

There is still an element of penance to blood donation, but my health is getting worse. My unhealthy lifestyle is catching up to me.

I do not know that I want to give blood for much longer. Isn't 127 donations enough? I don't mind continuing to give so long as I am eligible and it is easy, but I am not I want to prioritize maintaining eligibility over other things like taking steroids with a needle or handling monkeys.

Honestly I would feel more motivated if they resumed taking my blood pressure, even if they did not require that information for screening purposes.

Meanwhile the process of donating has become more onerous. I can no longer walk into the clinic on my eligibility date and donate. Instead I have to book an appointment. I have zero interest whatsoever in signing up with an account on their system, so I have to phone in my appointments, and then they harass me for not giving them an email or a telephone number. Canadian Blood Services used to have my email, but then they started spamming me with marketing materials. They have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with my contact information, and once they start pressing the issue then I will stop giving blood immediately. (This demonstrates how much I care about saving other people's lives.) Maybe my anger towards being surveilled and harassed is irrational, but it is real and I have few compunctions about abandoning organizations that insist on it.