I went to a blood drive yesterday and was told that each pint of blood can save three lives. I'm not really sure how that works, but if saving one life is good, saving three has to be "gooder", right?
It was actually an interesting experience. They had a bloodmobile, like the bookmobiles of long ago, only smaller. How could a bookmobile get any smaller? I don't know, but if you see the LifeSource Blood Mobile tooling around, you'll know. And how they cram two offices, one confessional, four blood letting stations and a snack bar into such a small space, I still don't understand. And there's a choreography that goes with it all.
I was the third person in that morning, and the first two were still waiting to start the process. The waiting room consisted of the stairs on the inside of the entrance. There are three stairs. First, you head into the confessional (there were two doors, one for the nurse, one for the donor, but what you couldn't see from the outside was the table in between them for the confidential screening interview). Having never been in a Catholic confessional, I confess to being somewhat disappointed that there was a nurse inside and not a priest, mainly because that would have been interesting.
Then, you head into one of the offices to get your blood pressure taken, pulse counted and iron checked. The office includes a seat next to a tiny desk, and a stool under the desk for the nurse. There is no room to even take my coat off, much less a place to put it, which is a problem since they need my arm to take my vital signs. I had a pulse and so they moved me to the blood letting table.
The nurse tells me (and I hear her tell others after me) that I can turn away if I don't want to watch the needle enter my arm. It doesn't bother me, but it strikes me as odd that someone wouldn't automatically know that they could close their eyes or look at the wall for a minute. Three times in the next 90 seconds she asks me if I'm okay. I assure her that I'm not going to faint.
15 minutes later, I've saved three lives and head to the snack room, which is really just the front seat of the bloodmobile. And because this drive was taking place in the parking lot of Whole Foods, there are only healthy snacks. After giving blood a person needs chips and oreos, not raisins and apple juice. Next time I'll hit the blood drive at YMCA!