Thursday, February 17, 2011

Saint Valentine's Day!

The month of February is painted red. It's home to Valentines Day of course, where love permeates through the air the first two weeks of February, and discount chocolates permeate the shelves for the last half. Jokingly, the blog team at Generation Clot suggested that since we're all in the mood, it would be worthwhile to tell stories about sex. Well THAT, I can do.
A few months after my ex-girlfriend and I broke up (the first time...long story), I got a phone call from her. She started the conversation with "So, I went to go donate blood..." at which I congratulated her and thanked her, as I do anyone who does. Then she finished the sentence with "and they wouldn't let me." This is how I learned that anyone who's had 'relations' with someone who's been using blood clotting products recently is not allowed to donate blood themselves.
The reasons behind this are complex, and I can explain them in a whole other conversation, but the whole situation really shook me a bit. Just when I figured I knew everything about sex and relationships...
Seriously though, there are a number of issues that come up when it comes to talking about sex and love and bleeding disorders that you probably don't think about. I'll spare any details, but I've walked into a few bed frames in the dark, leaving bruises that have definitely required some attention the next day.
There's also the world's oldest question of disclosure. I have to say that the stories I've heard of fears that a partner wouldn't want to be with me because of my bleeding disorder aren't my story. That being said, I also don't have any associated conditions, so I really can't speak for the co-infected population.
In terms of my hemophilia though, it's really just a part of my life. Few of my friends, and certainly few of my partners, ever actually see me infuse. I've never stopped anyone from watching, but it's usually a fairly solitary activity in my room kind of thing, and not one that has a high audience demand.
On the other hand, my bleeding episodes do require a fairly high demand from my friends, and especially anyone I'm dating. They put me out of commission generally for a month at a time, and it's always tremendously helpful to have people in my corner who are supportive and patient, and willing to cheer me up when I'm occasionally down. I wouldn't call it a high demand on my relationships, but it definitely means that I look for partners who are compassionate, kind, and definitely patient when need be. I'm a giver by my nature, but the reality is that I do need to take occasionally, and so it's necessary to find someone who can understand that balance.

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