Posts Tagged ‘donate’

on this thanksgiving

I do not live in a place where hospitals run out of food, water, medicine, or bandages.

Such a concern does not figure into my everyday thoughts, even though I have seen enough of the world and read enough news to know better.

For those of you who do not know — and there are likely few who do not — a stampede in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, on Monday night left almost 400 people dead in what the Camobdian PM is calling the country’s worst tragedy since the mass killings under the Khmer Rouge. It is unknown what set off the mass panic and stampede, but it happened on a small footbridge across the Bassac River during the annual water festival, a joyous celebration that marks the end of the rainy season.

And for those of you who do not know — likely many more in this camp — my best friend has been living in Phnom Penh for the last month and a half, working at a legal advocacy and human rights not-for-profit NGO. She is fine. But she is seeing, in living color and graphic detail that most of us have not, what it means when calamity strikes a country where the runaway majority live on less than $2 a day. Hospitals, already overrun, cannot treat the injured and they are running out of supplies.

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Please mosey over to her blog to find out how you can help.

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To learn more about the Monday night stampede, check out: the New York Times and Times blog, BBC, CNN, Reuters, and others.

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the red cross

I’m big on giving blood. Of late. And while I don’t usually bully pulpit from my blog (mostly because I’d bully my couple dozen readers away — come back!), I’m plugging the Red Cross today.

The donation appointments are easy as pie. First, the collections nurse puts your data (name, address, etc.) into the system – so bring ID. You fill out a computerized questionnaire, answering such points as “Have you gotten a tattoo in the last 12 months?”, “Have you been outside of the US or Canada in the last 12 months?”, “Have you ever tested positive for HIV?”, and “Are you currently pregnant?” (Around 30 Q’s in all.) Positive answers don’t necessarily bar you from donation: it’s okay if you’ve traveled abroad! Or have diabetes! If you’re pregnant or HIV positive, you can’t. Et cetera.

Then the nurse pricks your finger to test your blood for iron levels.

The first time I gave blood was this summer on E Street NW. My iron levels were too low. So they did a second prick. My iron levels were just right! Then we proceeded as normal, but still: two pricks!

After that donation, I found out I’m O+. Not a totally universal donor (that’s O- — missed it by one cross, c’mon), but I can give to AB+, A+, B+, and O+, which is still pretty neat, and the O’s are those most often requested by hospitals anyway, so ever since I have felt imbued with a deep-seated sense of purpose. So I am now big on giving blood.

Anyway, this time I came prepared: I had steak and spinach for dinner last night, and raisin bran for breakfast, all of which are iron rich foods, and guess what.

One finger prick was all it took.

Next you lay on a doctor’s cot. The nurse finds a vein, paints your arm with a brownish iodine solution, and sets up the tubes and blood collectors. Avert your eyes: nothing is quite as disconcerting as watching a plastic tube flowing from your arm into a glorified plastic baggie turn red. You squeeze a foam ball all the while to promote blood flow and in, you know, 15 minutes, you’re all done! That’s an hour of your day, and three lives saved! (Yes, I swallowed the brochure.)

You head to the recovery room for trail mix, pretzels, and some disgusting sugary drink pretending to have something to do with fruits of the forest. The rest of the day: keep the band aid on. Drink lots of water. No heavy lifting. Obviously, this last one is a huge problem for me. I must literally bolt the door to my bell bars.

“When Harry Met Sally” is on TV. I’m going to paint my nails and look at Anthropologie clothes. I’m going to babysit later and eat more steak for dinner. Giving blood is good!


To schedule an appointment, bop this way.

ETA: An illustrious reader asked for nail shots. So you have only her to blame: