I don't have to be embarrassed anymore--today I successfully donated blood!
I've tried to give blood before. Really. I know it's an important thing to do. Every time I've attempted to donate, though, I've been turned away. When I was younger the problem was usually that I didn't have enough iron in my blood. I've never worked for a company that has on-site blood drives, and it just never made it to the top of my list to search out a drive on my own. In January, I showed up for an appointment at my parish's blood drive, only to be sent home because I had the remains of a head cold. I decided to try again today, but my expectations were low after all my failures.
All the volunteers and Red Cross workers at the drive were very nice, and there wasn't a long wait to enter the screening area. After I answered basic questions, I had my temperature and blood pressure checked. No problems there. The next step was donating a drop of blood for an anemia test. Since this is where I'd been thwarted in earlier attempts, I held my breath until the technician pronounced my iron level acceptable.
The health questions were simple Yes/No, and computer-based. Most of the questions had an obvious "acceptable" answer (i.e., you could figure out the answer that would raise red flags for donating). Every time I had to answer one of the questions the "wrong" way I figured that would be enough to send me packing. However, after the technician quizzed me more about those questions I passed the screening! She printed out my paperwork and sent me to the next station.
The rest of the process was easy. Even though I've never donated blood, I knew how the system works. As long as I don't watch the needle being inserted into my arm, I'm ok. After I finished, I got to go to the canteen, eat snacks, and talk with the other people there who had given blood.
I even received a cool t-shirt that has this cool logo on it, and got entered to win a platinum album donated by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sweet words to an old baby-boomer like me!