I donated a pint of blood (yes, it was my own!) to the American Red Cross yesterday. They come to my place of employment regularly. It’s pretty easy to give blood this way. Apart from the time spent answering questions and getting drained, it doesn’t take much away from your day.

A young woman named Shanna was the technician assigned to me. She was very professional and very reassuring. I have had problems in the past with some techs when they attempt to find a vein to access. My right arm is usually selected because the vein is larger than that on my left arm. When Shanna asked me if I preferred one arm over another, I said that the right is the usual choice of the technicians, but it would be nice if the left arm could be used from time to time. Shanna checked my left arm and confidently predicted success in using it.

She did not hesitate once she located the vein. She marked the spot for penetration, then swabbed me for what seemed like a minute or two with iodine. She attached the bag to the chair, attached the tubing to the chair and to me, then without hesitation pushed the needle into my vein, secured the fixture to my arm, and told me to let her know if I needed anything.

I needed nothing. Within 8 minutes or so, the American Red Cross had my pint. A young man came to take possession of it and to prepare me for departure. He removed the needle, put a pad of gauze on the wound and asked me to apply pressure to it with my fingers, then asked me to raise my arm above my head. I did as he requested, as usual. He thanked me for donating. Shanna was nearby, and I thanked her for the great job she did, and for not hurting me. She seemed gratified that someone thought to acknowledge her efforts.

I stopped at the refreshment table on my way out of the room and took a package of Grandma’s oatmeal cookies (2 in a pack) but declined water and juice. My coffee thermos was waiting for me upstairs.

All the Red Cross people were friendly and attempted to make the donors feel comfortable and important. I felt good about giving the blood. As usual, I wondered where my blood will be used. As usual, I will never know.

A very small red patch marks the place where the needle went into my arm. Many times in the past I’ve had a large bruise appear. Not this time, though. Shanna really does have a nice way with the needle. Hail Shanna, taker of blood and giver of painless procedures.

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