I donated regularly for years — up until about 2 years ago. Admittedly, I should make more of an effort to go to school/church drives. I always went to a donation center, but in the last year that I was donating there, it was an increasingly hostile environment. I’d make an appointment and walk in, only to be told that it didn’t matter — there’s no difference between walk-ins and appointments. Every time, it was, “It’s probably going to be a two hour wait, do you want to reschedule?” I eventually just stopped rescheduling after it happened for the fourth time.
In the past, even with similar numbers of donors (and staff!), the wait was usually about half an hour tops.
One time, I made an appointment. I was in my car, about 2 minutes before my official appointment time, when I noticed a woman in plain clothes going in. “Oh,” I thought, “I guess they opened earlier today.” They had irregular hours — opening at 8 sometimes, 9 on other days (appointment was at 9). So I walked in, signed in silently and sat down to read their booklet. I never bothered anyone or said anything to anyone. The woman came over to me and instantly tore into me about how they aren’t “even open yet” (Lady, I walked in less than TWO minutes early) — turns out she was supervising the place or something. I’d never seen or met her before and didn’t see her after that again (thankfully). What a bitch.
The next time around, my birth control pill caused my blood pressure to zip from its usual 110/70 to 140/80. Since BCP do not prevent someone from donating blood, and prescription medications like that are not asked about in the interview, it was never mentioned. Of course, I’m overweight (albeit, at this particular time, not that significantly). After taking my blood pressure, the phlebotomist gave me a long, lingering look and said, “You’re too young to have high blood pressure.” You think so, bitch? After a lifetime of being fat-shamed, I just sat there silently.
That was the last time I donated at that clinic. Unfortunately, many of those employees do the local drives. A few of the other major clinics nearby have shut down.
I will probably eventually get back to donating…in 2015, after I give birth. For anyone else into this sort of thing, it’s also wise to consider getting on the National Marrow Donor Registry.