Take my blood, please

I have mad cow disease. Okay, I probably don't have mad cow disease but just in case I DO have mad cow disease, the American Red Cross will not take my blood. Seriously.

I signed up at my Curves about a month ago to donate blood this past Friday. I marked my little calendar. I polished my platelets, put bows on all my red cells and cute little party hats on the white ones. I was all set. To give blood. For the first time. Ever.

I know. It's something I've felt guilty about for years, the fact that I'm hogging all this perfectly good O-positive blood when real people out there need it. And over the years, I've flirted with donating. But there are a lot of things that interfere with a girl giving blood.

Like tattoos. You can't give blood within a year of getting inked. I've been turned away on that account. Fair enough. And given the arsenal of meds it takes to keep fibromyalgia and its accompanying ailments at bay, I thought for a long time I was probably toxic. It probably would have been fine, it turns out, but the rules change frequently and rapidly.

And, yes, there were years when I had more of an alcohol-blood content than a blood-alcohol content and anything I donated would have done more good at a distillery than a hospital. But those days are gone and now I was ready to give back.

The very nice man who ran the Red Cross blood mobile handed me a book of restrictions and requirements and warnings to read before I gave blood. I was two-and-a-half pages into the thing -- and we're talking small print, people -- when I got to the line that would be my undoing. It seems that if you lived in the UK for more than three months between the years 1980 and 1996, you're disqualified just in case you happened to be infected with mad cow disease.

Certainly there was a joke to made about being called a mad cow, something indignant, but it probably was even less appropriate because, well, we were at a Curves, after all. But I was truly disappointed. I'd guess that if I had mad cow disease, we'd know it by now. Tonight, I asked Chris what the symptoms were and he said, "Craziness. Dementia. Then, coma and death." I said, "So all we're missing is the coma and death part?" Oh, the fun we have! If my life were a sitcom, I think at least six people would watch. Sometimes.