Donation in the minor places

I live in the United States. From what I gather, blood and blood product donations are mostly run by the Red Cross (ARC) here. There are, however, smaller local blood banks that do their own donations and drives. I went to one today to give plate-lets.

The drive was approximately 1 hour (nearest ARC location: ~2.25 hours) along a famous highway that is clearly from the very early days of motor travel. The roadway was mostly concrete slab, of the kind that could be attempted to be analyzed with the equally crap correspondent to KENPAVE, KENSLABS.

The donor center itself is a small suite in an office building (!) with things like CPAs and maybe lawyers offices. A far cry from the use of dedicated buildings that the ARC has. I remember the main elevator had the look of a freight elevator. The outside of the building and parking lot was unwelcoming, though this was the fault of the property management not the blood bank that was occupying it.

Arriving there I had to present my papers (I chose that one) and fill out of paper form. ARC uses a PC with questions on it that you answer that way. I do note that the questions must be standardized, probably by the FDA, since their numbering of them was jumbled and I seem to recall they are similar to the ARC ones.

About the questions themselves: I do not that one difference from the ARC ones is that you can donate if you are a man who last had sex with a man over 12 months ago. Last I knew that ARC had not adopted this change, which was in the news some months ago. I do not know the backstory to why this one did, and the other did not.

After this I had to do the usual physical. Weight (actually measured), height (taken for granted I gave the right answer), temperature (measured using a clever liquidless analog thermometer), blood pressure, pulse, iron level (different machine than ARC uses, but same procedure) and maybe something I’m forgetting.

Then, to the machine itself. It was a Trima machine (no endorsement) like ARC used to use, but then discarded in favor of I think Amicus machines (also no endorsement). These are single needle only machines, but I didn’t bring a book or anything so I didn’t really get any advantage of this. It took about 2 hours (equal to the time on Amicus machines @ ARC). They had the TVs on (“The Shakiest Gun in the West“), so I divided my time between looking at that and also at the screen showing my progress.

The Trima interface is much more polished than the Amicus one. I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I appreciate the need to have a very intuitive interface for a medical device like this, even if the users are all trained before accessing it, but pretty (or ugly) pictures can easily mask dangerous pitfalls. For UI designers, I will note that the Amicus interface is much flatter and entirely non-skeuomorphic.

Anyway, 2 hours went by, I got my rinseback and then ate some cookys and drank a little bottle of apple juice and left. The building was just as uninviting leaving as entering. I took a different route home and wrote it down. With only the roads at the start and end excepted, the entire thing was on numbered routes.


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