Finally, after 7 months of living in Charlotte, I got myself hooked up with the local Red Cross for blood donation. I made an appointment and went in yesterday to give my unit of whole blood. I attempted almost every blood drive in college, although low iron kept me from donating at times.
The facilities here in Charlotte are rather amazing. Even accounting for the fact that folks in Indiana were operating as a mobile force, the Charlotte facilities are quite a step up. I was able to make an appointment online in about 5 minutes. I had no wait at all at the office once I arrived. The information booklet was awesomely informative — instead of just reading, “Make sure you aren’t taking these drugs,” it included information on what exactly in those drugs makes for bad blood donation.
In addition, they’ve got nice technology for measuring hemocrit levels now — no more blue fluid and centrifuging. Now a little red machine churns for a minute and spits out a number to about 4 or 5 decimal places. All those “Have you had sex for drugs or money?” questions are computerized.
The staff was wonderfully cool, quick, and competent, handling my tendency for post-donation wooziness with a preemptive Sprite while the blood was still being drawn.
Needless to say, I’ll be back in April when I’m eligible again. (I even ordered a donor card! Aren’t I a dork?)