May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Sorry, Blood Recipients. Sorry, Tattoo Parlour.

The American Red Cross has mistakenly put me on their deferral list.

My wife and I traveled to a small village called Mal Pais in Costa Rica to perform a wedding last August. Prior to going, we had to get all of the shots, etcetera, and I checked with the travel doctor who gave us the shots, and with the red cross prior to going, to verify that this village was not in a zone that would disqualify me from donating blood. Both sources confirmed. At the red cross, the nurse and I looked at a map of costa rica, very carefully, and saw that the Puntarenas province was marked on the CDC map as being safe from malaria risk, and therefore I could give blood.

After coming back, I donated blood some time around October, and the questionnaire asked if I'd been out of the country, so I answered truthfully. The nurse went into a total tizzy and had two other people in the office checking, and they all saw the exact same map we had viewed in the ARC office prior to me going on the trip, and saw that the area was malaria-free.

On my donation just last week, I again answered truthfully, against my better judgment. The nurse didn't pull up the map, but was worried about me having been in Costa Rica. I just received a call and talked to a woman who told me that according to the information I had given (being in Mal Pais, at the tip of the Puntarenas province), I would be ineligible for a year, since it is on the Nicoya Peninsula. The more northern portion of the Nicoya Peninsula does have a malaria risk. The portion I was in (the southern-most tip) does not have a malaria risk according to the US CDC, or at least did not at the time that I went to. I don't know what the URL for the map we saw in the office was, but I was able to find this table online, with no mention of Puntarenas province having a malaria risk.

To further document, I put together the attached diagram.

Ordinarily I wouldn't be concerned, but now I have consternation. See, I had wanted to give two more pints to get to my goal of 5 gallons, and then get some tattoos. Looks like those tattoos might be coming a bit early if I have to wait another 6 months. Then again, if I get the tattoos I'll need to wait another year after that. It feels wrong to me to get tattoos before I give the 5 gallons. It feels wrong to me to not be giving blood for the next six months because of somebody's clerical error (if that is indeed what the situation actually is). And it feels wrong to me to not be getting tattoos OR giving blood because of somebody's clerical error. I was totally planning that the time spent not giving blood would be because of getting tattoos, not because of this. I guess it just irks me. I'd like to get a little bit of verification from the red cross as to whether this is just a case of somebody doing some ham-fisted checking. Their restrictions on who can give blood are already pretty tough, especially with respect to travel. You'd think they'd want my blood.

If they don't clear this up, I suppose I could just take a little time off. After all, I'm sure I've given more than 5 gallons if you add in the donations I gave back when I was in high school and college, before I got my card to keep track. But then, the recipients will have a little less.

lyrics: "Can you scare me up a little bit of love?" Little Ghost, by the White Stripes.

colors: red and white.

mood: miffed + ennui.

chant/prayer/mantra: insisting on giving.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: ,

Update: I sent an email to them, and they forwarded it to somebody. And I got a phone call today. The woman I talked to said she is forwarding it to somebody at the head office who discerns these things. I might be able to continue donating! Whoohoo!
And, actually, it's good news!!

I heard from them again a week later, and after viewing my blog entry, and checking the CDC maps more closely, they've cleared me to give blood again. Yippee.

(I think I want to get a tattoo of a fermata somewhere, but I'm not sure where, how big, or what color.)
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