The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Be nice to me, I was forbidden to give blood today

It's kind of funny that we're up to hepatitis G now but everything after B was named in my lifetime. Maybe it's not that odd: the existence of hepatitis has been recognized for centuries, but distinctions among the various types had to wait for the advent of modern medicine, with its microscopes and such. A fun fact I learned while looking stuff up for this stix is that the means by which hepatitis B is transmitted was discovered right after the invention of hypodermic needles, because it turns out that when you treat a bunch of guys for syphilis by sticking them with the same syringe, a lot of them will get jaundice soon afterward. Oops, looks like hepatitis B spreads through fluid-swapping, and maybe we better think about cleaning the needles before we stick the next guy. (Dr. Keen told you so! He also told you that you should keep it in your pants, and if you'd done that you wouldn't have syphilis!)

Hepatitis A, on the other hand, can be transmitted fairly casually. I'm sorry to say that you catch it by ingesting fecal matter, and I'm even more sorry to say that that is easy to do. A guy doesn't wash his hands, he touches a pear at the grocery store, you buy the pear and don't wash it thoroughly before eating it, boom, hepatitis. Presumably something like that happened to me. I remember that they got an epidemiologist in to prod me a little, which made me feel quite important. Maybe this was because type C was just showing up and they wanted to make sure hepatitis wasn't doing anything else untoward. I got my blood drawn a lot that summer, which I didn't like, and what was more off-putting, the doctor used to palpate my abdomen to determine the current size of my liver. I didn't want to think about the size of my liver. You try it. Kind of unpleasant, isn't it?

Hep A is a very dull disease, once you get past the slightly exotic fact of having it in a first-world country. Listlessness is one symptom. I slept twelve hours a day and ate almost nothing; what I did manage to eat, say one blue corn tortilla chip, I usually lost after a minute or two anyway. So I dropped twenty or thirty pounds, and I turned yellow. Because of this—the jaundice—the Red Cross will never accept my blood. I am tainted for life. All this luscious type O positive, acceptable to eighty-five percent of the human population, simply going to waste in my arteries. It's a great excuse not to get stabbed with a big needle for the greater good, though, which otherwise I would probably try to make myself do.
Tags: blood, myhorrifyingadolescence, stix, w. w. keen
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