Giving platelets today. Want to come with?


Y’all may recall that the Red Cross banned my blood for a year because I had visited Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Danger of malaria or some such.

That’s me in front of the famous Bridge on the River Kwai (not exactly the one in the movie, which was after all fictional, but this is the point where the Death Railway crosses the river — and you can see Colin Firth crossing it in “The Railway Man”), which is located in Kanchanaburi. I’m pretty grubby because I had been engaged in various unsanitary activities — such as feeding, washing and riding on elephants, and floating several miles down the swift-moving Kwai without a boat. I was riding back from all that in the back of a pickup truck with some Germans who were remarking on how dirty I had contrived to become (you know how ze Germans are), and had rapped on the back of the cab to get the driver to drop me off because we were near the bridge.

On the whole, a more interesting day than today. The most exotic thing I did today was eat lunch at Al-Amir.

So if I was going to pick up any communicable diseases in Thailand, that was probably where I would have gotten them.

But I didn’t. I’m fine.

And this afternoon at 5, I’ll be at the Red Cross facility on Bull Street to give platelets.

And the Red Cross asked me, as usual, to bring a friend.

So join me if you’re so inclined. Not to lay a guilt trip on you, but the need is great

2 thoughts on “Giving platelets today. Want to come with?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Well, I did it. And it went OK until near the end.

    Giving platelets is a lengthy process. After I had waited as long as I could stand before asking how much time I had left (forgetting I could just look up at a monitor and see), I was told I had 76 minutes to go. Awhile later, it was 41 minutes.

    Then, lying there with a needle pulling from one arm and another pumping back into my other hand, I started checking myself. 32 minutes. 29 minutes… (I was watching Netflix on my iPad precariously perched on my belly, but I was still conscious of the process). Shortly thereafter I saw a pulsating bar indicator on the monitor that should stay green turning yellow, and called for help. They said it was OK as long as it didn’t turn red. Then, as they were trying to adjust the needle in my arm to address the problem, it turned red.

    We had to stop at that point, amid talk that I tried not to listen to about the “soft vein” (the only way I can stand to go through this process psychologically is to sort of hypnotize myself that I’m not really doing something involving needles and veins — I have this lifelong horror of such things).

    So I got to go home a bit earlier than expected. Here’s hoping the platelets they got are still useful to someone.

    This is the only time I’ve ever had trouble doing this. But even when it goes well, I have to be honest, giving platelets is a hassle. If you don’t do the early checkin process online ahead of time, you can be there for three hours.

    But I still urge y’all to consider doing it. Because our community really, really needs somebody to do it, and it can’t just be me and the others currently doing it.

    If you’ve never given blood before, consider just giving whole blood. I’ve done that in a little over five minutes (not counting all the preliminaries), and they won’t bother you again for 8 weeks. That’s the easiest. Giving double red cells takes longer (30 or 40 minutes), but then they don’t call you again for 16 weeks.

    But every once in awhile, you might consider giving the much-needed gift of platelets. Maybe you could go for me, when they inevitably call me again next week…


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