Today is our annual American Red Cross blood drive. We are completely filled up for the day and that makes the Red Cross happy.
As tradition goes, I am the first to give blood. They love me because I have the blood type they covet most and contrary to popular thoughts, it's not True blood!
If you have never given blood, the process is very secure. You have to complete a form, subject yourself to testing to make sure you can give blood and then the most fun of all, lay on top one of their portable tables and be administered by a Red Cross nurse.
The first time I gave blood I stared at the needle. Actually it's more like a garden tool the size of a weed puller. I asked the nurse politely, "Are you actually going to put that in my arm?" She politely told me, "Please squeeze the ball in your hand, close your eyes and keep your mouth shut."
The perceived pain is always worse than the actual pain. It's nothing more than a poke and everyone does it so you get over it. Then you get to watch the blood flow from your body into a plastic bag. Well not really since the bag is hanging down from the table. But at the end, you get to see the blood collected.
The nurse tells you if you are a fast or slow collector. Last year I even used my "competition" strength to race a co-worker. Unfortunately it was a female co-worker and she kicked my butt by two full ounces. But I'm up for the challenge again today.
Afterwards, you gently sit up and walk over to the relaxation station. There you sit in a hard chair and ponder which delicious snacks you will indulge in. The selection is usually Dollar Store chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies. They also give you a mini bottle of water. Finally, when you are done indulging, you are free to leave.
The Red Cross will tell you there is always a blood shortage and how great it is to give blood. Each pint saves a life. In less than 24 hours, your body regenerates the blood supply and you are as strong (or weak) as ever. It's a good feeling once you get past the needle and oatmeal cookies.
I got to go, they are ready for me.