Is it time for your next jab?

i am going to donate blood this morning with my mate Charlton!

This will be the first time i remember that i let two people stab me within 3 days of each other. But i can highly recommend it.

i Vaccine what i did there

The first time i got jabbed was on Friday in what must have been one of the longest possible waits for a Covid19 vaccination on record.

i was super chilled about getting my vaccination shot – both my parents [old!] have theirs and both my sisters [medical profession and USA] have had theirs – but i figured i have made it so far in my fairly small bubble without even needing a Covid test [thank goodness – the idea of invasive pokey things up my nose… woerrggh!] that i could wait a few more week til it came round and the crowds died down.

But then we heard that Eusebius McKaiser had registered online the night before and then just walked in somewhere the next day and had his shot and so suddenly it felt like some sort of competition. Not that i am not the most competitive person alive or anything. Okay, maybe more of a challenge cos i wasn’t really competing with anyone. And so we looked up some places and i saw that Clicks Blue Route was accommodating walk-ins and so decided to try the very next day.

The centre normally opens at 9 and is usually barricaded pretty well before then and so i thought i was being super clever by leaving just after 8 but when i passed DP Marais hospital [another option for walk-in i had phoned the previous day] and saw a line snaking around the building i thought i might be in trouble. Surely enough, as i entered the Mall there was a line coming out of Clicks and so i made my way to the back.

Long story short, i ended up being third last person allowed to stay once they counted the available vaccines and compared it to people in the line. And about eight-and-a-half hours later i arrived back home [having stopped off at Fruit & Veg quickly on the way home to claim my ‘Treat Yo’self’ Marvel mugs – Black Panther and Hulk – and of course some chocolate for a job well done!]

The biggest iron-y in the whole thing [which is only slightly funny if the syringe needles are made of iron which they probably are not!] is that, having donated blood for years, the stories of not feeling the vaccination jab were ridiculously true as, by the time, i looked around, the needle was out and she was done already. Boom!

Pfizer vaccination jab

If it’s not in vein, you’re doing it wrong!

In a couple of hours, i join my mate Charlie for my next bloodletting! 

Now, as a child, i used to go and watch my dad give blood and it used to be the scariest thing for me. Back in the day the needle they used for the finger prick to see if your blood was okay to give or if you were okay to give your blood, was kind of a beast. Then there was the part where they stuck this thick needle into my dad’s arm and took a big bag of blood out of him. Not the most normal of things to watch as a child.

But for some reason, i always wanted to do it and so the first chance i got – first week at Teacher’s Training College in Mowbray -i joined with a new bunch of friends and went to get jabbed.

i remember it like it was my first time. Oh wait. But i remember it a lot more than most people perhaps because of how it went down:

Now what’s great is that these two stories have a common link who happens to be my friend Heidi, who i had just met at college and who, years later, would give me the stickers that would help me to get my ‘Treat Yo’self’ Marvel mugs at Fruit & Veg celebrating my vaccination jab!

For some strange first-wek-of-college-cool-kids-rebellion idea we decided it would be fun if after giving blood, we [as a group of five students] walked into the Introduction to Teaching lecture we were semi-bunking and then i would fake a faint, having just given blood for the first time.

Only problem: i had never fainted before! Enter Heidi, who was the Queen of Faint – basically every time she gave blood she fainted and so while we were giving blood, Heidi was coaching me on how to faint [true story!]

After giving blood we walked down the spiral staircase in front of the elevated lecture hall where Intro to Teaching was taking place and i froze metaporically as i spotted, not some random lecturer but the Dean of the College through the slats on the windows.

This was not the plan. i was fourth in line and Ricky [tall black guy] was behind me cos he was going to catch me when i suddenly ‘passed out’. “Uh, guys, the Dean is there. Do we still do this? Guys, the Dean?!?!?” i whispered in panic, but they all pretty much ignored me and suddenly we were walking up the side of the classroom and the “Will i or won’t i?” wrestle in my head landed on “I will” right about the time that Ricky had decided i was not going to do it and so as i dropped he was completely taken unawares and it looked a lot more legit.

Now the backstory is that ‘Introduction to Teaching’ was normally a random course taught by a random lecturer, but being the first week of college the dean and about five or six heads of department came down to be part of a welcoming lecture. So i felt myself being carried outside and laid gently on the ground and i opened my eyes to see Ricky and Heidi and the worried face of the Dean and so i quickly closed my eyes.

Long story slightly shorter, the psychology lecturer, Dr Bauer, who had interviewed me for college acceptance, had run to the tuckshop and was feeding me jellybabies for sugar and the Dean kept telling me to open my eyes but every time i did i saw the Dean and so i panicked and closed my eyes again and so there was a proverbial blinking show on the go. i never did officially get caught or into trouble for that momet but an interaction on the stairs a day later between me and Dr Bauer told me that he knew or at least strongly suspected.

Which is why i remember my very first blood donate a lot more than most, i suspect. 

blood donate jab

Go and get your jab!

So the question is this: Who in their right minds would let, no invite, other people jab them with a needle as if it were a good thing to do?

Well, this guy would, because i strongly believe that both of those jabs are a very good thing to do:

Jab 1: Getting vaccinated does not mean i am immmune to the coronavirus [Very Important Fact] and it doesn’t even mean i won’t die if i get it. But according to the medical experts – the majority of them anyways – and by medical experts i don’t mean that thing your Aunt Jean forwarded to the family Whatsapp group that she saw on Facebook! – it reduces the chance that i will get the virus, reduces the chance that i will spread the virus and put other people at more risk and it does reduce the chance of serious consequences and death if i, in fact, happen to catch Covid [Are we still calling it Covid19 or have we moved to Covid19-21 yet?]

Largely i get the vaccination jab for other people’s sakes. i get it to make the world at large, and more specifically the small part of the world that i inhabit, that large bit more safe.

And if you get your jab, you help make life for safe for others and possibly me. So get your jab! 

Jab 2: Apparently every blood donation can save up to three lives. Now, i understand why for someone like Heidi, who faints every time she tries to give blood, it might not be appealing to try. And yet she continues to go and attempt to give blood any time she can! And obviously if you have a medical condition like an iron deficiency or a malaria area visitation or recent surgery or whatever, then it’s a no brainer that you don’t give…

What i struggle to understand though is people who don’t give because they are scared of needles, or just because they don’t get round to it. It made a whole lot more sense back in the day when blood clinics used to move around and you needed to make sure you were free when the moon was in its second crescent and could get to the local Presbyterian church hall and so on, cos that was a bit of a luss. But if you live in Cape Town then Blue Route Mall is one of the sites where you can go any day of the week and give blood which makes it a whole lot easier.

And for those wondering about getting jabbed twice in four days, i have it on good authority that if you have had your vaccination shot then as long as you are not displaying flu symptoms you are allowed and invited to go and give blood immediately. 

If you have never donated blood before and are scared, that is okay! Get someone to go with you. i will go with you if you live close enough. But if the needle just scares you a bit or you keep forgetting to go then please please please get over yourself and find a way to get there. People’s lives literally depend on it. i have the magic blood type O- which means basically anyone can use my blood and so it makes even more sense for me to go because i have Joker blood. But i do need other O- to be giving because that is the only blood i can receive and so if i am ever in trouble i need to know there are some bags waiting for me…

So go give blood, or make a status on your social media calling your people to go and give blood. And every time you go, stick it on social media like i do – not because it makes the “virtue signalling” crowd pee their pants a little bit at a fresh space for accusation, but because it can serve as a reminder to someone who has forgotten or an invitation for someone who has never gone before. Once you have gone once it isgenerally so much easier to go again. And go with a friend cos what a great chance to catch up with someone while you are filling little bags of blood together.

And if nothing else, go for the cookies and the free gifts. Cos ug bird socks may not be your thing, but THE BISCUITS ARE AMAZING! Do it for the biscuits!

Drop a note in the comments and let me know when last did you give blood? And do you remember the first time at all? i would love to hear your story, even if it didn’t involve risking being expelled from a long and industrious potential teaching career…