Rich Galen

I asked why? She feigned ignorance but mumbled something about my last blood sample having coagulated.

At 9:30 I was told to go wait in the "Results Waiting Room" which has a bunch of chairs filled with a bunch of people who have also been there for a long time and are also impatient to go home.

Worse yet, the TV was blaring BET programming which made reading the new Dan Brown novel all but impossible (I had finished the LaCarre book sometime between the first and second blood donations).

At 11 PM I wandered out to the nurses' station to see if they remembered I was still there.

They did, but they hadn't gotten the test results.

"It takes about three hours," one of the nurses said after speaking on the phone.

Ah HAH! I thought that's why they needed a second blood sample three hours after the first. They had screwed it up.

Well, I suspect they don't test for malaria every day so...

I also suspect the lab techs at GW got on the horn to the lab techs at Walter Reed to find out how to actually do the test, but that theory will go untested.

At close to midnight I strolled out into the working space again and a nurse said my test had come back negative, but the doctor would want to talk to me.

I said - and this is a quote. "I came in here 11 hours ago with one question: Do I have malaria. You tell me I do not. Thank you and good night."

But, she said, "the doctor ---" I said he could call me if he needed to.

But she said, "the forms ---" I said, "Mail them to me."

I got home about a half hour later, tired but more at ease.

I don't know what caused that bout of the chills, but I know it wasn't malaria.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at