Red Cross says I’m tapped out; y’all need to step up and give

They showed me the numbers, and it just added up to too much plasma...

They showed me the numbers — two pages like this — and it just added up to too much plasma…

Well, it finally happened: The Red Cross says I’ve given them too many platelets, and I need to take some time off.

And you know what that means: It means some of y’all need to step up and give, because the need is still there. In fact, over the weekend I received this message in an email reminding me of my appointment today, and telling me how badly it was needed:


Yeah, they say that a lot, but here in SC, we’re generally in a shortage situation. I used to think that was a Midlands problem, but it seems wider than that. For instance, the two units I gave June 19 (that was two donations ago) went to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach and Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg. Just think of me as the Scarecrow, and this is the Tin Man’s cue to say “Well, that’s you all over!

You can give platelets again after six days; they come back that fast. But I’ve generally been giving every two weeks. Last month, to keep them from calling me so often, I decided to go to a standing appointment — every other Monday afternoon.

And today was that Monday, but when I showed up, and started going through the usual series of questions that precede the donation, the young lady saw something on her computer screen that made her jump up, excuse herself and run for help. A moment later, someone came in and said that was it for me: I’d given too much in the past year, and I wouldn’t be able to give again until after Aug. 2. Which nixes my appointment on the 31st as well.

It’s not the platelets, though — as I said, they come back pretty quickly. It seems that over time they’ve taken too much plasma from me for my weight — 12,000 ccs. And I won’t be starting over in August, either — it’s cumulative, so this is likely to happen again if I keep giving at the same rate.

This respite will be a relief to my family and friends, who are always asking why I, personally, have to give so often. This is always my cue to go into my Gary Cooper routine and explain, “I’ve got to; that’s the whole thing.” I’m just that kinda guy, ya know. Man of action. Few words.

(Don’t look at me like that. For too many years, I was too scared to do this. Having overcome that fear, I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth.)

But now I’m out of action. And the need is still there. So it’s time for you to be the hero.

You just gotta.

Here’s where to sign up.

That's the thing: You just gotta...

That’s the thing: You just gotta…

43 thoughts on “Red Cross says I’m tapped out; y’all need to step up and give

  1. bud

    Wish I could but I have a heart condition that might cause me to pass out if I give blood.

    Looks like the latest GOP healthcare bill is dead with two more senators just now came out against it. (Lee and Moran I think)

  2. bud

    I’m getting angry with Democrats on this whole healthcare debacle. Where is their plan? The world wonders.

    1. Doug Ross

      Repealing Obamacare was a bad strategy. Would have been better to let it die on its own as it was headed that way anyway. Insurance companies would have continued to pull out of markets, taxes for not having insurance would continue to rise, states would have to start funding a percentage of the Medicaid — you know, all the things the Democrats conveniently scheduled to occur AFTER Obama was out of office.

      Here’s a great idea for Democrats to float – Medicare age dropped to 55. Start with ONE THING. And that would start to transition to single payer with a path that would allow all of the entities involved in healthcare to respond gradually.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        “Here’s a great idea for Democrats to float – Medicare age dropped to 55.”

        Yes, and it was floated, back in 2009. But if I recall correctly (and I do), my man Joe Lieberman, who represents the state that is the traditional home of the insurance industry, was a roadblock.

        It’s the only thing he’s ever done that ticked me off.

        Side note: Since I had just turned 55 and had just been laid off, such a deal would have been perfect for me. Fortunately, I don’t take policy personally…

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        But I’m definitely with you on creating a glidepath to single-payer. It’s time for both parties to stop messing around and get something real done…

        1. Bob Amundson

          Costs should be controlled before single payer, and there are ways to control costs. For example, not placing the elderly, disabled and mentally ill in institutions and keeping them in their homes with “wrap around” services is often much less expensive. However, nursing homes are big business and oppose this. There are several other ways to contain costs that are a huge “political lift.” The amount of money spent to extend lives for a very short time needs to be addressed, but many will cry “death panels.” Buying pharmaceuticals through government purchasing would lower the cost of drugs. Tough political, ethical and moral issues must be addressed, and only bi-partisan efforts will succeed (IMHO).

          1. Claus2

            Have you ever been around seriously mentally ill people? I know of one family where the guy would have slit your throat given the chance… didn’t matter if you were a stranger or a family member. To him everyone was evil, or at least that’s what the voices were telling him. Do you want people like him living in your house or next door? I doubt 24-hour care is cheaper at home than it is in an institution.

            I agree, I’m following another thread where they’re talking about huge costs to keep someone alive. It started out with a child who had racked up $21 million in medical expenses. Two posters said they were hemophiliacs and their medications and treatments cost between $80,000 and $100,000 per month. I’m sorry, but there needs to be a cap on this… if it costs $60 million dollars to keep you alive for the next 50 years I hope you have a rich uncle ready to kick the bucket.

            1. Bob Amundson

              24 hour care is not going to be cheaper for elderly, disabled or mentally ill patients. Using data to make rational cost decisions is necessary; too often irrational, emotional decisions drive our health care system.

          2. Doug Ross

            “Tough political, ethical and moral issues must be addressed,”

            Aside from Bernie Sanders, who is carrying the ball on this? Why do Democrats allow Pelosi and Schumer to evade this fundamental issue?

            But Democrats also have to be willing to give on SOMETHING. Why not just give up on federally funded abortions? Find an alternative at the state level or establish non-profit charities to pay for them.

            1. Bob Amundson

              No one, from either party, is carrying the ball. It is still the correct solution. We need some actual leadership from our politicians, instead of focusing on being re-elected.

              1. Doug Ross

                Will you vote for someone who does not support your views in this area?

                Unless and until a majority of the electorate for Democrats decides this is THE #1 issue (and not one of the seventy five other niche issues related to some disenfranchised group), you won’t see it happen. Republicans don’t have to appease a hodge podge of splinter groups on race, gender, sexual identity, climate change, income inequality. This is the issue for all Democrats to get behind FIRST. But good luck with that with Pelosi and Schumer out front. They’re bought and paid for by lobbyists.

              2. Doug Ross

                And you can’t say it’s neither party carrying the ball. All but two Republican Senators were on board with McConnell’s plan. That’s what they are driving for. It’s a different ball, but it’s a ball. They made it to the ten yard line but can’t score.

                Now what are Democrats doing to move the ball the other way? Who’s the quarterback? Bernie – who couldn’t win the nomination a year ago? He has little political influence. The rest of the Democrats are either too old, too focused on their own demographic issue, or unwilling to challenge the leaders. Where’s Tim Kaine? Where’s Cory Booker? Where’s Kamala Harris LEADING???

                1. Zombie Paul Bryant

                  “They made it to the ten yard line but can’t score.”

                  It’s hard to score in the red zone if you don’t have a good rushing attack. The passing windows are just too small if the defense isn’t forced to play good faith run defense.

                2. bud

                  The Democrats do need to offer a specific alternative to the Republican approach. But make no mistake that this the GOP owns healthcare now. The Democrats are powerless to get anything passed. But they could go a long way toward making the GOP look bad. And that’s what’s important.

                3. Bryan Caskey

                  “The Democrats are powerless to get anything passed. But they could go a long way toward making the GOP look bad. And that’s what’s important.”

                  Look, I think we can all agree the GOP is doing fine on that front without any assistance.

                  I would refer you to Napoleon’s maxim of: Never interfere with the enemy while he is in the process of making a mistake.

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, what’s important is having a healthcare system that works for all Americans. The rest is partisan bull.

                  I just thought someone should say that…

                5. Doug Ross

                  They own Obamacare like someone who inherits a eight year old Yugo with bald tires and a blown transmission. Obamacare is in effect until the end of 2017 no matter what Republicans do.

                  it. If it’s so good, it will survive on its own… but since all the tough parts were backloaded until after Obama left office (by design), we’ll now see what happens to the only thing Obama did in eight years.

                  Can you imagine the apocalypse in the media if Trump came out and said “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? That’s a bigger lie than anything Trump has said so far.

                6. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, it isn’t. Trump actually LIES, blatantly, all day long.

                  Making a promise that you can’t later keep isn’t lying. Sometimes, it’s even laudable. Bush should never have said, “Read my lips; no new taxes.” But I praise him for breaking that promise later when he realized it would be wrong to keep it.

                  I don’t doubt for a moment that Obama thought the statement was true when he said it. Why? Because normal people (people who are not Trump) don’t lie like that on something that can be so easily disproved…

                7. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Far be it from me to defend George Costanza, but it’s true. For that reason, I say that a lot of the time (say, every other time he opens his mouth), Donald Trump isn’t lying. He just has no idea what the truth is. You can’t fully hold such an ignorant man accountable. Which is why you don’t make him POTUS.

                  But, unless I’ve spent my life learning NOTHING about people and can’t read them at all, I’m going to have to put Obama on a higher plane than Trump or Contanza on this score. We all know George will lie intentionally…

                8. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Republicans think the BAD thing Bush did was break that promise. But the BAD thing was to make the stupid promise to start with. Breaking it was the right thing to do, under those circumstances…

                9. Doug Ross

                  Yeah, I’ll just have to disagree with you there on the “if you believe it when you say it, it’s not a lie”. He didn’t say “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor and if you don’t, I won’t run for re-election”. He was just throwing out garbage knowing it was impossible but sounded great at the time.

                  As for “No, what’s important is having a healthcare system that works for all Americans. The rest is partisan bull.”

                  That’s fine. What are you willing to give up to have it besides my money? Can we shift any other federal spending to address the issue or must it come only from new taxes? You won’t compromise a bit on shifting military spending to healthcare, right?

                10. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, because there’s no need to. And having healthcare without national security is no kind of deal.

                  I say take all the money currently paid into the system we have — in private insurance premiums, co-pays and such — and put it into single-payer. Maybe that won’t be enough. If it isn’t, we can then talk about how to finance the rest. But let’s add that up first and see how close we get…

                  It’s easy for you to say “Take if from the military because you believe, deep down, that we don’t need the military — or that we can get by with, say, an Italy-sized military. I am completely certain that you’re wrong.

                  So let’s stop play the “If Brad won’t sacrifice the military for single-payer he’s not serious about single-payer” game. You don’t stop paying your mortgage to cover the light bill. Both are important.

                11. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Oh, and I’m going to utterly reject this: “He was just throwing out garbage knowing it was impossible but sounded great at the time.”

                  Have you ever actually heard anything Barack Obama has ever said? Go find an extended interview with him on YouTube, about any serious topic. This is not a “whatever pops into my head that might sound good to you” kind of guy. This is a guy who may be more careful about what he says than anyone I’ve ever encountered in public life.

                  Obama’s not a salesman, pandering type (like, say, Bill Clinton). He’s more an “eat your vegetables” type…

                12. Doug Ross

                  “I say take all the money currently paid into the system we have — in private insurance premiums, co-pays and such — and put it into single-payer.”

                  That’s a terrible idea. First, because it is a “let’s do it all in one shot” idea. Those usually turn out really badly because all the unintended consequences cannot be imagined. Second, there MUST be copays in any solution or else you run the risk of people running to the doctor for every small thing. Think of how much food is wasted at all you can eat buffets. Because people think of it as “free”. Third – you are then asking some people to pay a whole lot more than others for insurance that should be fair. Do you really think union workers who have great plans are going to switch to single payer without expecting something in return? Not going to happen.

                  So instead of wishing for the rainbows and lollipops version of healthcare, why not make incremental steps… one change at a time.. implement, assess, respond. We have the Medicare model now to use – the only change we’d have to make is dropping the enrollment age. Leave the rest the same then check back in a couple years to see how it’s working.

                13. Doug Ross

                  “because you believe, deep down, that we don’t need the military ”

                  No, I don’t think we need a military that is multiples in size of any other nation. There’s a big difference between cutting our military by 10% to pay for our citizens’ healthcare and not needing a military. It’s funny how you talk about compromise as the key to success in politics but won’t give up a dime from the military.

                  As for your mortgage/light bill analogy, I would suggest that if you can’t afford the light bill, you buy a smaller house with a smaller mortgage. You can’t invent money out of thin air if you can’t afford it. Well, you can – by sneaking into my house and stealing it from my wallet.

                14. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Taxes aren’t stealing. That’s where we differ, in the end.

                  I don’t pay as much in taxes as I used to, but I used to pay a lot — and I never begrudged a dime of it. I’ve always believed a civilization is worth paying for.

                  Actually, we do need a military several times as big as anyone else’s. As Madeleine Albright’s indispensable nation, we need that in order to fulfill our post-1945 security obligations — and to discourage the Russians, China and anyone else from thinking they will ever come close to matching us, making it possible for them to think they can go toe-to-toe with us, however much they might test us through surrogates.

                  But the SIZE isn’t as important as the capabilities. For instance, we don’t have enough carrier groups. It should not take us a week or so to get a carrier to a trouble spot.

                  Now, we can have a reality-based conversation about whether a carrier group is as valuable as I think it is — the idea of it just being a big target. That would be more meaningful than an arbitrary discussion about “how big is too big.”…

                  Bottom line, it’s silly — and has been since years before I was born — to compare the size of the U.S. military to other nations’ as though that had ANY bearing on what our needs are likely to be.

                  We didn’t question this during the Cold War when, let’s face it, we only had one adversary to deal with, although a big one. Now, sources of national and collective insecurity are generally smaller, but multilateral, and any number of them could pop at once. (In fact, the smartest thing for a wannabe adversary to do is wait until we have our hands full to make a move.)…

                15. Richard

                  How will Obamacare work in states where all insurance companies refuse to write policies? It’s almost weekly that we hear about yet another insurance company pulling out of a particular state. When you’re down to one company providing health insurance in your state you have little choice. Now go back to deregulation, you see competition among companies.

  3. Mark Stewart

    So what is going to happen – should happen if they are smarter than a McConnell/Ryan – is the Democrats ought to offer up some of the meaningful “enhancements” that need to be made to fix what didn’t get handled well in the ACA. They should also give some of the things that everyone knows needs to be addressed to truly stabilize Obamacare – things that the rational Republicans want. And here is the hard part – even if it means giving up some material things around the edges of the legislation. Sometimes you win big by losing a little…

    If the Democrats can be generous and centrist here, they can provide for the long-term stabilization of Obamacare, demonstrate to the electorate that they are a responsible party responsive to the needs of the country as a whole, and allow the moderate Republicans who support them to get over the 51 vote threshold to claim next elections that they – not the reactionary right Tea Party loons – were able to uphold their promises to Republicans to improve the ACA. And Trump would sign it – he will sign anything that would “alter” Obamacare.

    This is the kind of Grand Bargain the Senate has, at times, excelled at. It’s the kind of thing that would be good for the country. And this kind of magnanimity would be the thing the Democrats need to start being able to really pick up seats over the next few years.

    All the Democrats have to do is to avoid being whiny Democrats bleating at whiny Republicans. Which will be a tall order if party discipline cannot be maintained.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      All the Democrats have to do is take John McCain up on his call for a bipartisan solution. And I think you’re right about Trump — he’ll sign anything that enables him to say he did something…

      But I’m afraid too many Democrats have been content to implement the Napoleonic dictum Bryan cited earlier: “Never interfere with the enemy while he is in the process of making a mistake.”

      If you look at politics as war, an opposing general would be delighted to watch the way Republicans are tearing themselves apart, and infuriating the electorate, over this…

      1. Mark Stewart

        Right, but there is always the strategic moment to carry the attack forward. Done right, it turns the field.

        I’m not arguing that politics isn’t a kind of war (as in the strategic “in it to win it” sense) – but I’m absolutely tired of the petty playground fighting that most politicians confuse for war.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        “If you look at politics as war…”

        This made me think of the famous Clausewitz line that “war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means”.

        In that way, it may not be such a mistake to look at politics as war and vice-versa. I certainly take that view in my litigation practice, in the same way that chess is war.

        There you go, I’ve quoted George Costanza and Clausewitz in the same day. That pretty much sums up all you need to know about me.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Your Costanza world and your Clausewitz world are colliding!

          War is politics. But politics is not always war, and shouldn’t be — except, you know, when it IS war.

          When Democrats think of Republicans as “the enemy” (and vice versa) in the same sense the Nazis were, a liberal democracy can no longer function. There has to be room for debate, deliberation and meetings of minds….

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          One of my personal, all-encompassing peeves — my Unified Peeve Theory — is people treating things that are not war like war.

          It’s one of the reasons I hate football — or rather, hate the way football fans are about the game. It’s more of a war surrogate than any other widely popular game…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              There’s nothing earth-shaking about it. It’s just a personal peeve. You can be a decent human being and disagree with me — but just on this one thing! :)

              I would be ALMOST fine with football if people didn’t care so much about it. They go overboard.

              Note that I said almost OK with it — the way I am with, say, boxing. But in both cases, I have a problem with the routine brain damage that is an unavoidable effect of the sport. I wouldn’t want to see kids playing it.

              It’s sort of related to my thing about sky-diving. I have no problem with risking my life by jumping out of an airplane, as long as it’s absolutely necessary in order to, say, liberate Europe from Hitler. Almost any other standard falls short for me.

              If men have to go crashing into each other and turning their brains to mush or risking lifelong paralysis in a life-and-death cause — say, to save the nation from Nazis or from splitting apart in the Civil War or from terrorists bent on killing innocents — then I can justify it. That’s noble. Doing it as entertainment seems idiotic to me.

              Which is why it bothers me the way football apes war. It’s like people hypnotize themselves into thinking the stakes are a big as in war against an existential threat, and therefore these risks sacrifices are justifiable. When they aren’t….

              You can get hurt playing other sports. But intentional violence is less a part of baseball or basketball, or track or tennis or almost any other sport except maybe hockey….

      3. bud

        Again, the Democrats do need to step up. We all seem to agree on that. But the Republicans make it so damn hard to propose anything given the Republican’s extreme unwillingness to show even the tiniest scintilla of desire to work with Democrats. It’s as though Democrats were Nazis the way McConnell behaves. And it’s biting him in the ass. But Democrats should take the high road nonetheless and roll out a plan. That would show them as a party willing to work in good faith to work toward an effective solution. Juxtaposed next to the vile party of greed and obstruction the Dems would look noble and pragmatic.

      4. Richard

        “he’ll sign anything that enables him to say he did something…”

        Sounds like you’re talking about Obama’s last term.

        “an opposing general would be delighted to watch the way Republicans are tearing themselves apart, and infuriating the electorate, over this…”

        And yet the Democrats are doing little other than watching.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Exactly. They’re following the Napoleon approach of not interfering when the enemy is destroying himself. They’re sitting back and enjoying it. Which isn’t what they should do, but as I say, that’s what people do when they fall into the horrible habit of seeing political opponents as the “enemy”…

          1. Richard

            Sure they’re sitting back, but what is their response? To suddenly sit up and realize they need to do something but it’s too late to start? You don’t sit back and watch, you sit back while preparing your next strike. Have any of these Democrats ever been a position where they need to strategize? Because it doesn’t appear they have. Strategy isn’t waiting to see what happens and hope it’s bad enough that your doing nothing is the solution.

            To me, the Democrats aren’t far behind the Republicans as far as imploding upon themselves.

            I wonder if Napoleon ever retreated and just at there and waited without a plan.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Got off the phone with the Red Cross a little while ago. I’m now set to give on Aug. 7. And I had her go ahead and schedule me fortnightly from then on.

    If I find myself going over the cumulative limit again, I might have to dial it back to every THREE weeks. But I’m going to try this for now…


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