Pennsic Blood Drive Becomes Fully Authentic

The traditional Pennsic Blood Drive, held the middle weekend between Peace Week and War Week, is getting an extreme makeover this year, as blood collection will now follow fully period medical practices.

Long criticized by authenticity mavens for its use of modern tools such as digital thermometers and sterile needles, the Pennsic Blood Drive will be much more authentic this year. After hours of painstaking historical research of eBay and other archaeological authorities, period medical instruments have been procured, and Chirurgeons will now earn their blood gouts the old fashioned way, using actual fleams and bowls.

Justinos Tekton, spokesman for the official Pennsic Vampire herself, said the move was not a response to previous criticism, but rather was "a proactive opportunity to synergistically maximize the value proposition" of the historical Middle Ages. Baroness Angelique, the Pennsic Vampire, was unavailable for comment, and according to Tekton is "resting comfortably in her mountaintop retreat" after "volunteering" as the first donor under the new procedures.

The Blood Drive has been organized and sponsored by the American Red Cross each year, with the SCA team organizing site logistics and volunteers and recruiting donors. The new, more historical, practices are not in keeping with the policies of the ARC, which require sterile, disposable needles, sterile single-use collection bags, anticoagulants, and lab analysis of each blood donation before it is used for transfusion. According to Dr. Seymour Bacillus, the ARC "simply cannot and does not condone or sanction, in any way, the use of rusty fleams and filthy soup bowls" for the collection and distribution of human blood.

Nonetheless, the Chirurgeons plan to use their new-found freedom from Board supervision to "significantly improve authenticity" of medical procedures. Master Oculus Obscurus, a Mentor Chirurgeon, says he has seen "far too many bad humours" in the SCA recently, and he enthusiastically supports the new blood drive as a way to "relieve the imbalance between sanguis and phlegma" while also doing a good deed for the community.

Previously, Chirurgeons were an SCA office regulated by the Board of Directors, but a pending Board initiative is likely to remove that official sanction, allowing Chirurgeons to carry out much more extensive medical procedures, as long as they can avoid prosecution by modern authorities or execution by angry mobs of Vikings, Tuchux, Mongols, or Picts. According to Tekton, "the absence of rules gives us so much more freedom, but damn these pesky modern laws!" Chirurgeon is the linguistic ancestor of the modern word "surgeon", and Tekton says the former SCA office-holders, now free agents, are "eager to restore the word to its original meaning." Tekton says the SCA Board should "cut the umbilical cord -- no, wait, they should leave that to us! -- on the Marshals" so that combatants would be free to use real swords and axes in SCA combat. "This could be the start of a whole new partnership," said Tekton, "and if the Marshals can generate more business for our period hospitals, we [Chirurgeons] would be glad to cut them in for a share of the profits."

Although most SCA folk who have heard of the new plan are enthusiastically supportive, it is not without controversy. Arielle de la Belle Countenance, leader of a group calling itself Respirational Equality, says mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and blood transfusions should be allowed between people of the same blood type, whereas more conservative factions maintain that God defines a transfusion as a transfer of blood between one man and one woman, of different blood types. Lady Arielle, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "But that's ridiculous! Transfusions of the wrong blood type are dangerous, and people could die!" Responding for the opposition group, SCAdians Naysaying New Erroneous Research (SCANNER), Sir Whumpus MacDaddy dismissed these concerns, citing historical precedent: "Blood types aren't period. Period! And besides, if they belike to die, then let them do it, and decrease the surplus population!" Sir Whumpus went on to explain that the congealment of blood that happens when different types are mixed has its uses, and that it makes a tasty blood pudding that is "just what a warrior needs for a stout breakfast before battle!"

When asked about details of the new procedures, Tekton deferred to Master Oculus as being "the leading expert." Oculus answered by quoting a passage from Whiny the Elder [translated here from the original Urdu]:

"Then shalt thou go before thy Physic, and shall say unto him, 'Mine humours most unbalanced be!'

"And thy Physic shall prepare for thee an Bloodletting, which shall be done upon the morrow. Thou being a Lord, shall make bare thy left arm, bereft of any Armour, and shall divest thyself of Weaponry lest thee in thy Divine Agony turn upon thy Physic. Thou being a Lady, rather, shall not make bare any part of thyself, for therein lies Abomination and Damnation! Rather, being a Gentle Lady, shalt thou gird thyself within thy most radiant raiment, and shall take upon thy forehead a cool and damp cloth, for surely shalt thou be afflicted with the Vapours!

"Upon the morrow, being the day next after, shalt thou, Lord or Lady, upon the appointed Hour appear before thy Physic, ungirded or girded according to thy gender, and thy Physic shall secure and bind thee well upon the Altar of Chirurgery. Then shall he take up the Fleam, and the Bowl, and shall make upon thy flesh incisions. If thou be noble, and owe no debt unto thy Physic's Patron, thou shalt have three incisions upon thy left arm, and shalt thy sanguis be drawn out into one bowl if thou be Lady, or two bowls if thou be Lord. If thou be noble, and owe much debt unto thy Physic's Patron, then shalt thou have five incisions upon thy left arm, and one of great size and depth upon thy throat, and thus shalt thou have drawn from thee, sanguis to fill a score or more of bowls, be thee Lord or Lady alike. If thou be poor, then shalt thy sanguis be drawn into no bowl, but let it spill upon the floor, for thou art unworthy."

Some have expressed concern that people might be permanently injured, or even killed, by the new blood letting practices, but Tekton brushes off these concerns, saying, "A blood drive is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker, and argue, over details like 'who killed who'!"

As if it were not totally obvious, the preceding text is a work of fictional parody and does not represent the actual views of the SCA Inc., the Pennsic Staff, the American Red Cross, the Chirurgeonate, the Pennsic Vampire, or anyone else. Blood donations are a serious, vitally-needed service in the real world. Be a hero! Give blood!