22 March 2006

I really have come a long way

In college, when someone mentioned the words "blood drive," I got very very bitter, because I tried to give blood once in college and they told me that having lived in West Africa "at any point since 1977" meant that I was "at high risk for HIV." Since that was 1997, I had lived HALF of the years since 1977 in Liberia. Every blood drive after that was met with my scorn and bitterness because I wanted to be helpful and couldn't. But now, I'm less bitter. I'll take the living in Africa over the being able to give blood. I've also developed my own little paranoia about HIV, which involves things like "WHAT IF THAT BABY THAT JUST THREW UP ON ME HAS HIV AND THERE IS BLOOD IN HER VOMIT? AND WHAT IF I HAVE AN OPEN WOUND ON THAT HAND SHE THREW UP ON?" Not that it affects how I interact with said baby, but sometimes I think it. Rather unconcernedly. I just mean, I can see why they don't let me give blood. You just never know. Car accidents. Kids who might have blood on their hands and hold yours. (Of course, there is actually very little HIV in any given bit of HIV-infected blood, but it's the prospect that is alarming.) I don't know that you would want to control all of these things, because it would just make life unbearably nerve-wracking, but the truth is that you can't control them. You can live. Or you can live in fear.

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