In the Charitable Giving world a popular paradigm is the Three T’s. Time, Treasure and Talent are all valuable commodities and seldom are the three legs of the Gifting Stool equal. Some have more money than time, others lots of talent, etcetera. Gifting Stools have three legs and basic math skills tell us that three to the third equals twenty-seven which means we’re left with over two-dozen ways to make the Gift of Giving Stool flat or slanted, tippy or well planted. Whether we’re able to donate millions of dollars, hundreds of hours or essential organizational skills Charitable Giving is an essential service in which all can participate.
Both despite of and because of my parents, I am not a generous giver of Treasure as defined by moolah. As a youngster, my parents, both through example and insistence, encouraged we wee ones to contribute to our church. Concurrently, they also emphasized frugality and stashing away for a rainy day to their five little tax deductions. Add Mom growing up dirt poor, which scarred her psyche pretty deeply, into the mix and it’s no wonder I pinch pennies.
Oh! And to ice the cake, my wife, our very young sons and I went through a four year stint in the early nineties where we teetered on the edge of financial annihilation. We only escaped homelessness because Mommy and Daddy loaned us money that brought us through the hard times. Talk about a wobbly stool! (And yes, they charged us interest.)
I was, and am, far more likely to volunteer my time and talents than my money and do so in myriad ways. There is, however, one Treasure with which I am generous; blood donation. I was still in high school the first time I donated blood and continued to do so for a decade. I donated until the end of the nineteen-eighties when I received a phone call from the Red Cross. After some preamble I was told that after performing the standard HIV test my result showed, “indeterminate,” or a result that was not clearly positive or negative.
Flustered but not overly worried, I went to a clinic for a recheck. The result was negative. No HIV, which was a great relief. What wasn’t a great relief was that the Red Cross informed me that despite my clean bill of health I could never donate blood again. The need to not only have a safe blood supply, but also to have the appearance of a safe blood supply, precluded me giving. My ban for life saddened me greatly. (Days after Nine-Eleven I called the Red Cross and begged to give. Still a no, much to my anguish.)
I accepted my Red Cross ban as a total prohibition until 2015 when a move to Florida took me out of Red Cross land and brought me to One Blood territory. There was no doubt that my blood was safe and without a ban from the collecting agency I stepped onto a One Blood bus, answered the question, “Have you ever been found positive for HIV?” with a resounding no and donated. Again, and again, and again. I donated through One Blood while I lived in Florida but when I moved to North Carolina I was back in Red Cross territory where my lifelong ban was still in effect.
Via phone and email I lobbied the Red Cross hard, explaining that I’d been donating with One Blood for two years, and I kept asking what could be done to allow me to continue to donate my O positive juice. The Red Cross, after having me jump through some hoops, relented, retested and finally acquiesced, allowing me to once again donate with them, something I’ve done regularly for a bit over a year.
Until early this month. This month I failed my iron test. I joked with the phlebotomist that I was not menstruating (Which I pronounced correctly.) and said I’d try again soon. I did. Twice more in three weeks. Low iron all three times. Low iron means no donating and soon thereafter I went to my doctor for my annual physical, telling her of my iron poor blood concern. She wasn’t, (Concerned that is.) but we added an iron count to my blood work. Yep. I’m anemic. Which brings us back to stools. The other kind of stool.
Since this low iron is new and sudden it seems that prudence dictates that we test for blood in my stool as part of the diagnosis process. We need to make sure I don’t have internal bleeding that would lower my iron count. Joy.
In my life I have peed in a cup many times, (Only once for a drug test and that was a pre-employment requirement. I passed. My crazy is not dependent on popping pills, shooting syringes or smoking weed.) ejaculated in a cup once, (That led to surgery but that’s a whole different story. I’m hip deep writing my novella, “Joe Kleen- Southern Hospitality,” that examines both the gymnastics required for me to reproduce and how my beloved and I teetered on insolvency. I hope to start posting the story one chapter at a time come New Years or so.) and provided vial after vial and pint after pint of my red life force. I just can’t donate until we get my anemia sorted out and treated.
Gifting Stool or poopy stool, I hope we get things nice and even again soon ’cause I can tell you collecting stool samples over the course of three days is not my idea of charitable giving and the world is in need of the treasure that flows through my veins.
Donate if you’re eligible!