As I've commented any number of times in the past, I'm a regular blood donor. They call me to remind me every two months, since there's a high demand for my blood. (Imagine the fun anyone who gets my blood must have.) Anyway, they called me earlier this week to ask if I'd be willing to try Apheresis, a process where I just donate platelets rather than whole blood. This type of donation can be done more frequently than regular whole blood donations, and apparently just getting my blood every two months isn't enough for the Red Cross anymore. They're hooked, and they want more.
I went in this morning, and went through the usual routine (health questions, blood pressure check, etc.) before they took me over to the apheresis area. Since apheresis takes longer (they take the blood out of your body, remove the bits they want, and then put the rest back in again) they let you watch a movie while you're donating (since you can't do much else – there's a needle in both of your arms, one for inflow and one for outflow). Each donor had their own DVD player with headphones. I looked through the box and DVDs and chose The Producers (the new one, based on the Broadway musical). I picked that one because I wanted to choose a movie I already knew well, and owned a copy of, on the assumption that I might not be in the donor center long enough to watch the whole movie there.
I was momentarily amused by the notion that the Red Cross might have included a couple of musicals in the box as a subtle test. Since they don't accept donations from homosexuals,¹ would they be monitoring which men chose the DVDs with the show tunes? (If that were true, I probably would have been shown the door immediately if I'd picked All That Jazz.)
Anyway, the donation didn't happen, and not because of my choice of movies (as far as I know). I usually donate from my left arm because I'm right-handed, and because there have been a couple of times in the past when the phlebotomist has had trouble finding a vein in my right arm. (The ones in my left arm jump up and shout "Pick me! Pick me!") Well, apheresis is normally done with a needle in both arms, so they started with my right arm… and apparently the needle couldn't find the haystack. Two of them tried (ouch!) and failed. My right arm has stealth veins.
That was it for today. Apparently, they'd made the most attempts they allowed to make or something, because I was allowed to get up and leave (not without grabbing free cookies on my way to the door, mind you!) They didn't want me to be discouraged, however, because they really really want my platelets. (You know, it's almost creepy when you think about it.) They want me to come back another time and they'll try a different method. I agreed; because hey, it can't hurt to try, right? (I mean, apart from the needles. Duh.)
I'm already worried about how disappointed they're going to be if get another tattoo next year, and then (by their own rules) won't be able to donate anything for twelve months. I'll bet they break into my kitchen and boil a rabbit.
¹I do not wish to debate this in my LJ. I already know it's a point of contention for some of you.