the hospital a ½ mile from my house is "the only hospital-based blood donor collection facility in the region." And I wanted to get my cholesterol checked.. which I know they do for free when you donate there. So, for the first time, I went and gave blood at something other than a blood drive.
I've probably participated in a dozen Blood Drives in my life. They had them in my high school and then in college. Once I was on jury duty the same day the courthouse was having a blood drive. Community drives, too. I was at my sister-in-law's work one day when they were having a drive. So it happened that whenever I was in the right place at the right time, I'd go ahead and give blood. This worked out to once a year or so.
Blood drives are Ok. They give you some cookies and juice whenever you donate, plus a sticker. They're staffed by both paid nurses and volunteers. Once I had a beginner who ruined my shirt because she inserted the needle incorrectly - the entire sleeve was covered in blood. A less laid-back patient would have been pissed. Whatever. But it is nice to have an experienced vampire.
So when I showed up at the hospital today, I knew that I was in the hands of experts. You could tell this guy had drawn enough blood in his lifetime to fill an olympic-sized swimming pool. And since it was a permament facility, they didn't have to bother with portable versions of their equipment. Nice comfy chairs, TV, a machine that alerted them when my bag was full - I thought I had checked into the hilton! And here's the best part - when I was finished, they offered me cookies and juice as expected, and then gave me a coupon for two slices of pizza and a coke at the place across the street! I was thrilled!
Free cholesterol checks and free pizza! Who can ask for anything more?! counting down the days until I can give blood again..