I last donated blood in July, and could have done it again last September, but I got delayed and then work craziness hit me and I really wasn't in the mood...but a week ago I got a call from the Red Cross asking me if I could donate, and I said yes. I made a Wednesday appointment. Then the Death Snow hit, and I didn't want to deal with the weather any more than I had to. Instead I rescheduled for yesterday. Because you need to be gentle with the arm used for the draw, I made sure to do my grocery shopping in the morning, getting the day's heavy lifting out of the way. (OK, quoted for you, leonardpart6: "Honey, you'd be amazed at what a man can do with just one arm!")
It went well. The actual draw took eight minutes, decently quick; I had to wait a while to get to that part, though, because extra people were at the donation center to sign up for the National Marrow Donor Program. (Signing up was free that day as part of the Red Cross's MLK Day observance.)
I chatted with the woman doing my draw, and I mentioned the time a few years ago when I "pinked" those white T-shirts that I washed with a newish red towel, and I said that the towel "bled," which was probably a poor choice of words in the donation center with another donor starting her draw right next to me... So this is a sort-of public apology for that. (By the way, those suddenly pink T-shirts actually looked really good -- the color was surprisingly even, not blotchy -- and I passed them along to Alicia, who looks much better in pink than I do.)
Soon after that, I had a "Huh?" moment when a mother came in with her maybe 6-year-old daughter, and the daughter sat down on one of the blood-draw chairs (I'm blanking on the right word, darn it, but they're the long poolside chairs you stretch out on). I was thinking "What, is the girl donating?" No; she was sitting down near her mom, who was. So later I asked a Red Cross worker what the age limits were for blood donation, and she said that you had to be 16 or older, or a pint is too much to take, but that there's no upper limit anymore: as long as you're healthy, you can donate. The oldest person she'd personally drawn was 93, and the oldest first-time donor she's met was 86.
One other moment I'll add: There was a young volunteer, kind of punk-ish in her clothing and looking like a blonde cross between Ellen Barkin and Gina Gershon. She delivered several pints to the people in lab coats and said, deadpan, "Here. Have some blood." This made me giggle, inwardly, and smile, outwardly.