So the other thing I did today was finally go give blood
. All things considered, it wasn't so bad. I had an appointment, and came in and told the receptionist that it was my first time. She said, "First time here?" I said, "No, first time ever." For all the advertising they do, I guess that doesn't happen too often.
First came all the questions in the universe, followed by an iron level check by finger prick (ouch!). All that done, you get to secretly put a barcode on your form stating "use" or "don't use". Apparently some people come regularly with family or whatnot and really shouldn't be donating blood, but don't want to tell, so they just mark it "Don't use." and go through the motions regardless. Others use it as a free way to get tested for various things. Whatever. Seems a big hassle to me when there's tons of free clinics, but to each his own. Me, I marked it "Use", because I'm not doing this for sport. If you're draining me, I want someone to get the benefit.
Then comes the actual blood donation part. Sit in a super lounger chair, feet up. Then they asked if I had a nice mellow weekend coming up. I said, "Nope, I'm doing a dance demo at a wedding tomorrow." They asked what kind of dance. I said, "Irish Ceili." They said, "Like Riverdance?" I said "Yeah, kinda." They stopped cold. It turns out you're not supposed to do anything vigorous for 24 hours. Oh. Well, dance demo isn't til 10pm tomorrow. I was admonished to eat well, drink lots of fluids, have a nice big breakfast. I said, "Right, make Rick take me to Hobees in the morning. Check." They said, "Perfect."
Then they stabbed me in the arm with a big old needle while I looked the other way. It hurt, but that's not exactly a surprise. Once in, it was just a niggly irritation. First the blood get directed to the test bag, then clamped off and run to the collection bag. It takes a while, but less time than you'd think. It's amazing though how fast your body will just pour it out. About five, maybe eight minutes later she says, "Okay, you're done. Just need to clamp that off." Such a tiny little hole, and it'd probably take less than 15-20 minutes to pour out enough blood to kill me. This isn't comforting.
I wasn't feeling any particularly ill effects. She asked what color bandage I wanted. Out of the rainbow, really, would I choose anything other than purple? Beside, it matches my necklace. So she bandaged me up, and I held my arm up for 2 minutes. I noticed that my feet were kind of sweaty. After 2 minutes, I put my arm down and then she told me to just sit there for another few minutes. This is the good part. I am smart and brought a book. I got enforced time to read in the middle of the day. This rocked. After another few minutes, she let me out to the lobby and offered juice (hooray for cranberry!) and cookies. On the wall were award placards with the names of folks who have donated 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 gallons of blood over time. Wow. Two cups of juice, one peanut butter cookie (and far more empty calories than I usually consume in a day), and 20 pages of the Dresden Files later (plus a trip through the ladies room), I headed out.
Back at my desk now a couple hours later, I feel just fine. I have to pee again. This is not a surprise, but really I just took away a pint of fluids. Couldn't some of the ones I'm pouring in just stay put? Stupid biology.
I also looked up the Red Cross Tips for a Good Donation Experience
. I failed at several, because lunch was the IT Services summer picnic and involved a chicken apple sausage and caffeinated soda. Oops. I'll know better next time. But yeah, there will be a next time (unless they say I can't for some reason). It wasn't that bad, and it is a really useful thing to do. It's right here on campus so I don't have any excuse not to do it. Here's hoping they like my blood.