Blood Centre, Grand Final and Alex’s New Home


Some time on Thursday last week, the Red Cross Blood Centre rang me to ask if I could come in the next day (Friday) instead of the scheduled Saturday week, and if I was happy to provide a platelet donation instead of the scheduled plasma. I checked in with Tress and thought why not, since Friday was the Grand Final Parade public holiday here in Victoria.

Thursday night Tress had to work late and I left work early (with imprimatur from the boss) so I went and did some grocery shopping for the long weekend. It was mainly for brekky at home for the next 3 days. Eggs, avocados, tomatoes, smoked salmon (a bit of treat for the long weekend) and some milk. Friday morning after a really good brekky at home, we whiled away some time by packing up some old clothes for the Salvos. We then trekked east to the Blood Centre.

Platelets are needed mostly by cancer patients. Treatments like chemotherapy destroys the patient’s platelets, which are needed to form blood clots which in turn stop bleeding. I’ve done plasma donation numerous times but donating platelets was a new experience for me. I was told it was largely the same process, except it will take longer. Fewer donors have the necessary blood cell component count, apparently, to qualify as platelet donors and platelet shelf life is shorter (only 5-7days) so when there is a need/demand for it, they need donors who can, to respond quickly.

So there I sat strapped down for about 75 minutes and with the prep time it all took well over 1½ hours. It was the first time, over the years I have been a donor, that I felt tired, fatigued even, after the donation. I felt drained. Maybe literally…

We dropped into the Eastland (the Blood Centre was just a street away) after that, and shopped around for a Nespresso machine for Alex and Li Har, who had just moved into their new home in Balwyn North. We then went to lunch a couple of suburbs away.

At lunch, I was still a tired and therefore grumpy person so Tress had to put up with me. We then went home, took the little fellow for a walk, and went home to watch a movie on Netflix. Maggie Smith was superb as the Lady in the Van and it was a heart-warming tale of human frailty and kindness. When that was over I saw that Michael Mann’s “Last of the Mohicans” was on TV and I stayed up a bit more for that.

On Saturday we pottered around the house, had lunch in our now favourite Malaysian place in Box Hill. Penang Inn is just next to Madam Kwong’s and we’ve not been in Madam Kwong’s for a long time. Penang Inn used to be owned by a lady and while the food’s ok, this new owner has turned it into a place which whips up stuff we used to love back in the Klang Valley. We finished lunch in time to go watch the big game. Just before the game, I said to Tress what a difference, 24 hours brought. I was fatigued just a day before and I was back to my normal self, 24 hours later.

West Coast Eagles came from 5 goals down in the first term to methodically and skillfully go toe to toe with Collingwood, before pulling just ahead in the final 2-3 minutes. The flag winning mark and goal from the right pocket, by the same player who won the ball from the Pies’ ruck tap earlier, was a memorable one. The West Australian won this one really well, after crumbling under our (Hawthorn’s wings) in 2015.

Yesterday at St Alf’s Peter made a self-deprecating joke about football (he’s a Collingwood fan). The well timed final talk on Ecclesiastes provided him with the “it’s all meaningless” eulogy to the Pies’ demise. Tress and I were on communion duty again, and although we’ve been on this task for a while now, it felt really smooth and I had no nerves whatsoever. It has probably been this way the last few times, but it was the first time I was conscious of this. I guess after several years in St Alf’s now, we’ve sort of settled in and while “still not quite a local”, we’re not all nerves there anymore. After church, we headed to Westfield Shoppo and after a chat with a very helpful lady in the Nespresso shop, we picked out a “Creatista Uno” machine for Alex and Li Har.

We headed to their new home and was pleasantly greeted by a beautiful house which blended in beautifully to the surroundings. It was a beautiful newly built home, but it was spared from those garish ostentatious “look at me” monstrosities popping up everywhere these days, mainland Chinese owning most of them. It’s like dressing up as a Brownlow WAG to show up in a neighbourhood barbie. The attention is not the sort one wants.

We then got home and did some quick gardening. The north eastern corner of the backyard, where I had hoped to grow some herbs, had been peppered with weeds growing bigger each week. We cleared that up and I did a quick mow before applying seasol all through the back and front. Hopefully the odour would ebb away quickly, when we start the last quarter of the year. I hope I wouldn’t be too fatigued to mount a West Coast styled finish to the year.

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