At the time my office was right across the street, and it was a pleasant, stress-free way to take part of an afternoon off, and do some good.
After a few years, though, things fell off the rails: I got sick just before an appointment and had to cancel it, and then neglected to re-book, and I fell off the call-back radar. Then I moved my office, and didn’t have the visual reminder to donate every day on my way in.
Back in December, though, I had coffee with Lowell, and he mentioned a recent donation of his, and I realized that 10 years had passed since my last donation.
So when I got back to the office I called 1-888-2-DONATE and booked myself an appointment, and today was the day.
In the intervening decade they’ve really upped their game over there: they now email out a link to an online questionnaire on the morning of your appointment so that you can fill out the “Have you ever had Chagas’ disease, Babesiosis, or Leishmaniasis?”-style questions in the privacy of your own computer; the end of this process is an encrypted QR code that the nurse scans at the start of the donation process. It shaves 10 minutes off the appointment.
They’ve also removed the requirement to provide a complete history of all the countries you’ve visited recently: during my heady travel days that alone used to take 5 minutes.
The donation clinic has been renovated, and now operates more like an (efficient, friendly, no-waiting) airline check-in counter.
And the Haemonetics PCS2 machines that do the plasma extraction have been upgraded to work almost twice as fast (an upgrade, my nurse told me, that was done entirely in software).
And so for my 1:20 p.m. appointment I was in, donated, feed cookies and juice, and out the door by 2:30 p.m.
And most of the nurses, bless their hearts, remembered me from the last go-around.
Donating plasma has always been easy and painless; now it’s easier and painless. If you’ve ever considered doing it–or if you’re just casting about for a regular selfless act to fill out your schedule–I encourage you to book an appointment.
I’ve already booked my next one.