In my experience, the Vampyre Community sees blood as a source of life energy or prana – or so I have been told. The notion of an attainable source of life energy is a ubiquitous concept dating back to time immemorial. One can think of the ancient Chinese concept of chi and the elaborate philosophies around it, from feng shui to tai chi. Blood has a cemented status in folklore, mythology and even contemporary urban legend.
Sanguine Vampyres consume blood for the energy value (I am a vegetarian, so I obviously do not partake), which in conservative medical terms does not contain very much kilojoules of energy itself. Looking at it from a purely biological determinist view, an average consumption of 25 milliliters (a shot glass) contains very little conventional energy.
If you qualify to donate to the SA National Blood Service, a standard donation of 500 ml of blood contains 1433.88 Kilojoules (about a sixth of the daily requirement to sustain life). A shot glass, or 25 ml will proportionally contain about 71.70 Kilojoules – not very much, the equivalent of 4.2 grammes of sugar, and roughly a teaspoonful. This is made up of blood glucose, amino acids, and the proteins of erythrocytes (red blood cells).
From this perspective, the life energy one acquires from blood is most certainly not the sum of its parts. A scientific, conventional mind will point to dopamine, endorphins, and other neurotransmitters. It could be viewed as akin to the mechanics of addiction, but it is a very one-dimensional view.
And there the nutritionist bubble bursts. Moving swiftly along…
Let us look at an important aspect of blood donation, especially the kind of donation which does not always strictly follow medical protocol.
Those of you who have been so unfortunate as to be subjected to a battery of blood tests will know that each time a piece of your skin is pricked it is swabbed with isopropyl alcohol first. For good reason too – your skin is an ecosystem of bacteria, which are mostly completely harmless as long as they do not sojourn beneath your epidermis. So keep in mind if you plan to cut yourself, to sterilise an area about four times the size of the incisions (this is a rough guide though as in almost all things in life there is no such thing as “one size fits all”). At the very least, sterilise all equipment very thoroughly and keep nails short and reeking of surgical alcohol – it is for the well-being of both donor and Vampyre.
Isopropyl alcohol swabs can be bought at any pharmacy without alarming anyone and are cheap. Do stock up. Equipment can be sterilized by boiling it in a bit of potable water, but do stick to surgical steel or a type of non-oxidizing metal.
Hypodermic syringes are not to be used without proper knowledge and experience. It is also a good idea to donate blood at least 12 to 24 hours after ingestion of over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin or other Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac as these diminishe the effects of platelet function and increase bleeding time. Several SSRI antidepressants like Fluoxetine also have a similar effect. Always read medicine package inserts to familiarize yourself with adverse effects which may affect or carry over to the Vampyre.
Now for one of the most important parts: limits on donation volumes.
There is a reason why blood services will not take more than 500 ml of blood from a healthy, non-anaemic individual of a minimum weight of 50 kg. Your blood levels are directly proportional to your size and mass – and exsanguination is a very serious medical emergency. Your body also takes about two months to replace this volume of blood, especially the red blood cells. This translates to no more than 20 shot glasses of donations in a two-month period.
Now for the next bit, I need the vamps and swans to focus. I cannot stress the importance of screening donors enough. There are a myriad of blood-borne diseases, which range from the slew of Human Herpes Viruses (which are for life) and HIV (which also tends to tag along like a shadow). They simply do not go away. Then there are Hepatitis A, B, and C – of which the last two are the nastiest. Some infectious tropical diseases can also be transmitted via contaminated blood.
Much like couples go for a complete STD screening, it might be a good idea for the swan and the vampyre to do this together. It is a symbiotic relationship for some, while some swans consider donation a selfless act. These types of relationships neither can be built and maintained on doubt – hence why testing as a couple could be a unifying experience, for joint peace of mind.
A healthy relationship should also exist between the donor and Vampyre, with a very important emphasis on mutual respect and care. You can have the most sterile environment, the safest blood, the most sensible procedure – but without a healthy relationship, all of these are meaningless.
As with all things in life, yes, there are risks involved. It is in the mitigation of these risks that a special bond may form, which may be as endearing as a special relationship. A Mundane may never comprehend the nature and extent of such a relationship and may question the validity of ephemeral states of euphoria and the biological basis thereof. It is up to you guys to keep things safe and responsible. It is up to non-Vampyres like me to wonder whether the world is really just three-dimensional.