Needs Are Constant, Gratification Is Instant…Blood Is The Answer

8 01 2012

I blame television and vampires.

One of them has invaded our lives on a regular basis and presents an array of preening, pointless objects who compete for our affection. The other one sits in the corner of the room and screams for attention but fails to offer any real satisfaction – unless you are watching the BBC.

Both are linked by blood but only one needs to have it to survive. The other one just likes to depict it’s use in slow-motion. Both annoy me in equal measure.

But away from the fictional worlds of rubbish creatures of the night, blood is needed on a constant basis. Putting it simply, if you got blood to spare, the Red Cross wants it. One pint at a time.

This month the American Red Cross has partnered up with Dunkin’ Donuts in their annual “Give A Pint, Get A Pound” drive for fresh blood in New England.

Turn up in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Connecticut or Vermont to donate in January and you will get the chance to replace your essential fluids with a pound of Dunkin’s finest coffee – not at the same time, even Dunkin draw the line at pumping steaming hot caffeine directly into your blood stream.

Collecting blood is a full-time job for the Red Cross and they are always looking for more donors.

Unless you don’t qualify.

There are the usual stipulations about recent tattoos, drug use and sexual activity. You need to be over 17, taller than Snooki and healthy. You shouldn’t really be pregnant and turning up with the flu isn’t the best idea.

But as long as I live in the USA, I will never be able to donate – even if I wanted to.

It’s nothing to do with my phobia of needles and any previous lifestyle choices. I haven’t had a tattoo  since 2007 and I play sport on a regular basis. I am not short and I am unlikely to ever be with child.

But I did live in the United Kingdom. For quite some time.

According to the Red Cross (using Food & Drug Administration guidelines), You are not eligible to donate if:

From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK), or
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any country(ies) in the (UK). The UK includes any of the countries listed below.

  • Channel Islands, England, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales.
This relates to a period of time when the specter of Mad Cow Disease loomed over the British public, terrifying anybody who might have had a burger at a football ground and forcing them to spend hours in the supermarket inspecting the meat.
The possibility of humans going insane through infected cow parts was so serious that the Government decided that wholesale slaughter of cattle that might have been affected was the only way forward and for months the smell of burning bovines  filled the air.
To be honest, it just made most people hungry.
Once the carcasses had been throughly charred, huge pits were dug and the bodies buried out of human sight – just in case, the EU also made sure that there was no chance of the disease being transmitted to the mainland by banning UK meat for 10 years from 1996.
Which was enthusiastically supported by the French who now saw a new market for their horse-based products.
The problem is that MCD – commonly known as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – is apparently fatal to humans. Up to 2009, 166 people in the UK had died from it and 44 elsewhere in the World.
So to cut a long story short, I can’t give blood. Ever.
Which also means that I can’t get any free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Which is a relief.
And all because I lived in the UK from 1980-1996.
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