September 2011 Archives

Blog Exile

I've been so sporadic in my blogging this year that I am beginning to feel like an exile from my own blog.  My absence hasn't been from a lack of interest in posting or crafting.  I'd like to be doing more of both of those (and certainly the latter feeds the former).  Instead, it's been about priorities. 

I've come to discover that it's really hard for me to have more than 3 or 4 active priorities in my life.  Right now, kid, job and some semblance of physical fitness have been the dominant ones.  You'd think it wouldn't be all that hard to include some crafting, but I've been having difficulty finding time to carve out space for it -- mostly because I've just never been the kind of person who is good at taking advantage of small amounts of unused time.  And because knitting needles and elliptical machines seem to be mutually exclusive devices when it comes to using either of them effectively. 

With fall coming, I have high hopes that there will be more inspiration for engaging my needles. Certainly someone in my house must need some new socks....
About 4 months after Ms. Z was born, my dad needed heart surgery to replace an aortic valve.  The surgery went well, but there were complications with the anti-coagulant therapy that resulted in my dad experiencing a ruptured spleen and significant internal bleeding.  My dad jokes that he needed "a full oil change" -- when all was said and done, it took 7 units of O positive to help save his life.

Up until that point in my life, I'd always been a little scared of giving blood -- needles and bleeding just weirded me out.  But if there's anything I got used to in the process of trying to and having a baby, it was to deal with blood draws and IVs.  So I got to thinking about it.  As I've gotten into Health IT and started working at a university with major medical center, I've spent a lot more time thinking about health care, and how I can make a difference personally.  Giving blood seemed like the perfect way to start.

In honor of my dad, I've made a long term pledge (to myself) to donate 7 units of blood.  On Friday I made my first donation, and I promise to update my progress here as I go along.  Here's a few things I learned from my first donation:

  • At any given time only 38% of people in the US are eligible to give blood (i.e. they meet the health previous history requirements)
  • Only 8% of people give blood
  • Giving blood is easy and does not take a long time -- it took about 10 minutes for me to make my donation and another 15-20 to hang out after the donation while you drink some juice.
  • Drink a lot of water before hand -- it will help the donation go faster and more smoothly (and you'll feel better, too!)
  • You feel like a real hero when you're done.   
The Red Cross website is great at helping you find out more about your local Red Cross chapter as well as a a place to donate in your area -- most of the time you can even make an appointment so that you can do it at a time that works best for you. 

To put the incredible gift that my father received in perspective: when people donate blood, they can only donate 1 unit at a time and you have to wait at least 2 months to donate more.  There's a good chance that 7 different people contributed to what my dad received.  Although they will never know it, there are seven people in Southeastern Michigan who helped make sure that my dad is still here to watch his granddaughter grow up.

If you can donate, I'd really like to encourage to to do so. So many people need blood and when it's needed, there's no more precious gift in the world.


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