In among the appeals for parties to set aside their differences to help the country to run smoothly (which we can hope for with no expectation it will happen) there was another message:
"In support of the hospital, the President calls on people to give blood to the blood donor service, which directly contributes to cardiac and other patients," an official statement said.
This gave me the warm glow that is felt by all blood donors in such circumstances, no matter how noble their motives. Coincidentally, I had donated blood just a few days earlier. Maybe I had, in my own small way, helped the President. The feeling of smug self-satisfaction is well summed up in British comedian Tony Hancock's classic TV show The Blood Donor.
To my disappointment, it was not full of thespians giving blood while rehearsing their death scenes, as I had hoped. The last act of 'Hamlet' peformed on the blood bus would make quite an appropriate staging.
The next time I gave blood, six months later, I had a feeling of slight apprehension. The routine was the same: fill in form, medical test, but this time I was standing in line in a council building. It was a long line, too, and we checked each other out.
"Look, there's the man who drives the snowplow! There's the girl from the checkout in Maxima! Next time I drive past his tractor or buy a packet of sausages at her till, we'll be able to give each other the special blood donor smile," I mused.
I reached the front of the line, sat down in the reclining chair next to another well-known local figure, The Man Who Always Carries An Umbrella, and they plugged me in. The chairs were facing a large screen, presumably used for council presentations.
"What time does the film start?" I joked. "No wonder the tickets are so cheap!" They plugged me in and away we went. Yep, plenty blood flowing today!
I regained consciousness to the now familiar aroma of smelling salts. I hoped the man with the tractor and the girl from the checkout hadn't seen me. I wasn't so worried about The Man Who Always Carries An Umbrella.
A very nice lady from the Red Cross gave me a pair of socks as I wobbled out of the council chamber. Somehow those socks made it worthwhile. I really did need a new pair of socks.
So when I went to give blood last week I knew what to expect: a small payment, some snacks and temporary oblivion (plus a purely theoretical day off work). But I had personal reasons to want to give blood too, having recently lost a family member. I reasoned that if I gave blood again, it might help someone else like them and visiting the Twilight Zone is not so bad once you get used to it.
I was almost spared when the woman handing out forms demanded my bank account details - changes to the rules mean no more cash payments - but I was able to retrieve the details via my cellphone and minutes later I was being buckled in for the ride again.
As the pipeline went on-stream I wondered how long I would last. After a while I felt a bit light-headed. Here we go.
Then much to my surprise, the blood extractor next to my chair, pumping away like a beaver trapped inside an accordion, beeped. That means it's finished! I did it!
The next thing I remember is being in a bright, sunny garden. The relative I had been thinking about was there too. He was smiling.
Smelling salts. Nurses. Water. No cash payment. No socks. But it was still worth it.
"Has this happened before?" asked the doctor who came to check me.
"Maybe you should consider whether it's a good idea for you to give blood," she suggested.
Of course, she is right. The good news is most people give blood without such silly dramas and I would encourage anyone with a bank account and a personas kods to give blood. Full details are available at the the official blood donor service website HERE.
Sirsnīgs paldies donoriem, kuri atsaucās aicinājumam.Pašlaik spējam nodrošināt slimnīcu pieprasītās asins devas 100% pic.twitter.com/GbCK9cBR4S— VADC (@AsinsDonori) January 22, 2016
Even better, the blood donor service has just announced that the public has heeded Vejonis' call and stocks have risen rapidly.
But if a pint of my plonk did happen to make its way though the Presidential artieries, I would regard it as a true 'vin d'honneur'. And if at any point you need another pint of B negative, give me a call. Just have the smelling salts ready.