Friday, October 2, 2009

Let's Be Laudable Together...

I'm ready to laud myself today. Are you ready? Will you laud yourself with me today? C'mon...let's go lauding. It's time. Let's have a big laudation party. I'll bring the tapas, you bring your drink of choice. We'll find out who is the most laudable and then we'll put them on a pedestal and we'll do a laudatory dance, that involves some showering with flowers. And then we'll all sleep well tonight. Hey, one last thing: no self deprecation is allowed...not at this party. So take that hat off at the door.

I never hear Paul Bunyan come home at 2 a.m. from his 12 hour shifts in the Emergency Room. I'm dead asleep. He's tired in the mornings, but he still gets up to jump in the pond. He rarely says anything to me anymore about what he sees or does the night before. And I rarely ask anymore. But there are times when PB just has to talk. It's usually after 1)there's been an unspeakable tragedy (mostly involving a child around the same age as our's just too close to home); 2) there's been some sort of appendage lost; 3) there's been some reason he's had to get a saw or drummle tool from the maitenence department in order to cut something off or out of someone (at which point he brings said objects home in small containers to show me); 4) when he actually saves someone's life.

Nurses are heroes. No doubt. He certainly makes his patients feel safer, better, more whole, but it's rare for PB to really feel like what he did saved a life. Still, there are times when I feel a little jealous. He'll tell me a story about being able to put an i.v. in a 6 day old baby (because no one else could) and I'll throw back, "Well, well I finally took out the compost." Or he'll tell me about how he brought someone back who had stopped breathing for minutes and I'll be all like, "well look at this skein of yarn I just spun up." I got nothin' on him. I really don't. I'm too busy doing other smaller people's laundry to feel important. Until now.

I've always been a blood donor. I don't really know why. I remember donating in college and this was really dumb, but I donated right before field hockey practice one day. Yea, that practice I'll remember forever. I stopped donating for awhile to have my spawn and then started back a few years ago. I got a letter in the mail one day saying that I was a universal donor for platelets. I'm not sure why A is the universal platelet donor, while type O is the universal whole blood; and frankly, I don't "get" a lot about what I'm going to try to explain to you, but maybe you will. Platelets are round or oval nonnucleated disks that are found in your blood. They are separate from the whole blood cells. They help your blood clot. A normal person has a count of 200,000 platelets. Well, mine is about twice that. So when I found this out I was all psyched and I did a little dance and sang a little song and got down that night.

So I can give twice the amount of platelets in about half the time. Most people take about 2 hours to donate platelets...I can do it in just over an hour. Which frankly sucks because I never get to watch the end of the movies they play. Fine, whatever.

Here's where it gets better. They did another test to my blood and I get a formal letter in the mail from Medical Director of the Blood Services- Northeast Division. He writes:

"We have performed screening and confimatory tests which indicate that your platelets are PLA1 negative. The PLA1 antigen is a protein found on the surface of the platelets, and the majority of the population (98%) has this antigen. About two percent of the population, including women of childbearing age, lack this antigen, and the platelets from this small segment of the poplulation are classified as PLA1 negative. Pregnant women whose platelets are PLA1 negative can form an antibody (a protein in blood) against the PLA1 antigen. This anti-PLA1 antibody can enter into the blood of a baby in the womb of an expentant mother and destroy the platelets of the baby. A baby with a low platelet count can bleed severely due to the low platelet count."

So basically, my blood is tagged as unique and is ready to be given to babies in the womb and shortly after delivery. And my special platelets can prevent life-threatening bleeding in the babies. I'm a baby saver! Of the 670 (give or take) active platelet donors in Vermont, I'm the 8th PLA1 negative donor!!

I get to go sit in this cozy (warm) chair, put on the ear phones, watch (part of) a movie, get poked in both arms, and be a hero.

I get to see wonderful people like Jodi, who make me feel like the superstar that I am.

And I get to chat with Priscilla, who asks me how my day is and how my kids are.

And I get to know Ann, who is quite wonderful and probably the sweetest little grandmother you've ever met and never pokes me too hard- she has the gentlest hand.

And I get to laugh at Phil, who is usually poking my arms with needles, but is today being his own hero and falling asleep watching Dodgeball.

And all of that just for this stuff. The special baby saving juice, which I secretly am so proud of.

And now I want you to laud yourself. All three readers: tell me how you save the world, in your own way, or at least how you make it a better place? Please come to my laudation's no fun being here alone!


  1. reader number 2 has been struggling to find something laud-worthy. my blood seems to be opposite - it takes me twice as long as an average human to donate, and that's if someone is actually able to get a vein started (where's PB when you need him). the only thing i've brought back to life is CPR Annie...and the occasional oven bird who likes to fly into our living room windows. i could claim that we've 'saved'our 2 kitties, who spent the first 8 weeks of their lives in deplorable conditions. but i've no good story of how i make the world better. with my day job, i help insure computer products function as desired before resources and money are spent to build them......and i'm certain this earth wouldn't be what it is to day without the nintendo GameCube. ! reviewing my escapades, my modus operandi seems to be helping out under the covers. no, not those covers. i mean, being parts of things and making them better.....while staying out of the spotlight as much as possible. i've always loved team sports, choral singing, etc - but i really squirm standing on the starting block or singing solo, or even leading the team in a cheer. to give me some sense of worth, a goal is to show my 'nephews' as many good and new things about life as open their horizons so that THEY can make the world a better place... so i'll attend the laudation party, as long as it's not about me!

  2. You are a super hero. And by the way I consider your kids super heroes by cleansing the world of leeches. I can't think of anything laudiable for myself except I show up. I show up every weekend to have fun with my nephews. I show up to hockey. I show up to work. I like to tell Char, that I do the "intangibles". You just have to look hard to see them.

  3. I'm glad you're both parts of the big picture and that I'm there too. I'm glad you show up on my right, or my left, or sometimes behind me. I'm glad you ask me to show up too. Thanks for coming to my laudation party. I was starting to feel like I don't have any friends.