Back in 1983, Peggy was ill and in the hospital, and needed a blood transfusion. The people at the hospital said that if I wanted to pay back the blood bank, I could donate the next time there was a blood drive at work.
Not long thereafter, the Bloodmobile came to the courthouse where I worked and county employees lined up with their sleeves rolled up. The deal worked fine...you got time off from the job (about an hour) and you got all the water or orange juice you could guzzle and as many pretzels and cookies as you could put down your neck. What's not to like?
And now that I'm retired, I still go every few weeks to the American Red Cross Blood Center over by White Marsh Mall. You now do the pre-registration at home, so you are whisked in, hooked up, drained, and on your way in maybe half an hour. You still get the water and snacks and you still get your blood pressure and iron level checked for free.
And they use a disposable needle; you won't even feel it! I promise. If you want to see the phlebotomist smile, just wait until after the wine is starting to flow out of you, and say, "Let me know when you're going to put the needle in." It never fails!
So consider this a public service announcement, and please consider going to http://www.redcross.org/blood to set up an appointment at a blood drive or a clinic. After a couple of weeks, you'll get a postcard from the Red Cross, telling you which hospital received your donation, and you can be very happy that you helped someone in need with something you can do easily and for free!