I donated a few pints of blood today. This gave me the distinct privilege of asking everyone I encountered for the rest of the day the shaming question: “Did you give blood?” (Insinuating: “Oh, you didn’t give blood? You selfish, pitiful person. Increase your iron intake and roll up your sleeve, you sad excuse of a coworker.” [Just kidding! I love my coworkers!])
The first time I gave blood, a real live person asked me all the questions (Did you eat cow manure in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1994? Do you have a disease with a name that sounds made up? Have you had sexual intercourse with a vampire over the last 3 months? Even once?)
This time, a computer asked me the questions. I answered yes or no to about 50 of them on a touchscreen. To the right of the text was a photo somewhat related to the question. So, for “have you had a blood transfusion over the last year,” there was a plastic bag of blood on the screen. Makes sense.
However, there was one question where I actually laughed out loud due to the picture. The question was, “Have you come into contact with anyone with hepatitis over the last 3 years?”
I glanced over at the photo, expecting to see a cartoonish depiction of a diseased cell or a stock photo of a hospital gurney or something like that. Instead, this was the accompanying photo (or a close approximation thereof):
Uh…what? Who’s that? Is that the face of hepatitis? I definitely haven’t encountered that guy. Ever.
Later on in the survey, there was a related question. “Have you had hepatitis over the last 3 years?”
Again, the same photo, staring off the screen like some sad, oversexed ghoul.
I giggled, moved on, gave blood, helped give a stranger life, was called “the next Bono” due to my charitability…blah blah blah. That’s not what we’re talking about here. The point is that for the rest of my life, when I hear or see the word “hepatitis,” I’m going to think of that sad dude staring off the touchscreen at me. Thanks a lot, Missouri Valley Regional Blood Center.