How Am I Unlike a Turnip?

Well, for starters, you can get blood from me.   In fact, I give the stuff away fairly often.

I’m a big proponent of donating blood.   Giving blood is a simple & very charitable gesture; a single pint of blood given by a donor can help to save the lives of as many as three people.   But Shelly Tucker over at This Eclectic Life reminded me of another great reason to give blood…

Before any blood is collected, you must first complete a brief medical history questionnaire.   It’s also at this time that a mini-physical is performed, during which your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and your hematocrit (the number of red cells in your blood) level are checked to ensure that you’re a eligible candidate.   And of course, after your blood is drawn, it’s thoroughly screened for diseases.   During these pre- and post-donation steps, sometimes conditions you were previously unaware of, like high blood pressure, for example, can turn up.   In Shelly’s case, she was shocked to learn that her blood tested positive for Hepatitis C antibodies, though (thankfully!) negative for the virus itself.   While this is certainly not news she would’ve wanted to hear, she now knows to alert her doctor to keep a close watch out for liver damage during future checkups.

Similarly — although much less seriously — I was alerted to an unknown problem when I went to give blood earlier this year.   I was turned away because of a low red blood cell count that was revealed during the pre-donation mini-physical.   I promptly made an appointment with Dr. Perlman for a follow-up on this and the initial bloodwork indicated internal bleeding.   After a number of tests and visits with Dr. Perlman and my bariatric surgeon Dr. Davenport, I was able to breathe a deep sigh of relief — they determined that I’ve developed pernicious anemia, caused by serious vitamin B12 & iron deficiencies due to malabsorption.   This type of anemia is readily treatable; I’ve been on corrective supplements for over 2 months now and have since been able to donate blood again.

Please note:   Blood donation screening tests are not diagnostic and are no substitute for routine annual physicals!   For your own sake as well as that of potential recipients, please don’t use blood donation for the purpose of screening!   If you suspect that there’s a problem, please see your doctor first!

This isn’t necessarily easy for everyone, of course.   Giving blood can cause queasiness & cold sweats and just the needle-stick alone is quite difficult for some people to tolerate.   However, you can take comfort in knowing that giving blood not only helps others but may also benefit you as well.   In fact, it stimulates the generation of red blood cells and there’s some evidence that suggests that giving blood may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

So, what’s your take on this?   Do you donate blood?

Busted Again

My, what a difference 2 years makes…

Sharp readers (and maybe even some not-so-sharp ones) will readily see what’s changed since Dede & I were first busted at the ballpark back in ’06.

Rob, Dede, & Liam at the ballpark

Suffice to say, this year’s MCH Employee Night at the Citibank Ballpark was definitely unlike previous ones thanks to our own all-star, who April would be quick to point out is:

(Press the "Play" button above to hear a great sound clip
from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
or click here if the audio control doesn’t appear.)


Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap

Sid the SeagullIn 1981, the Cancer Council Australia launched their very successful Slip, Slop, Slap skin health campaign.   Ads featured the program’s mascot, Sid the Seagull who encouraged people to "Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat" when going out in the sun to reduce the risks of skin cancer.

The slogan was later extended to Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap or "Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on some sunnies" to also promote the use of sunglasses.   (Even though this very effective campaign has resulted in far fewer incidences, Australia still has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.)

It might seem a bit early to be talking about summertime skin care here in the middle of May, but with the forecast already calling for triple-digit temps, it’s pretty appropriate.   So as you gear up for outdoors activities, remember the "Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap" slogan to protect yourself!

Sadly, despite best intentions, many of us will still end up sunburned at least once during the Summer months.   If you find yourself looking rather lobester-esqe, head over to WiseBread for some !

Master Bath Makeover

Our much-needed, perpetually-delayed master bathroom renovation project is finally underway!

Our master bath’s step-in shower developed a slow leak into an exterior wall, so we’ve been planning on gutting the tiny bathroom and remedying the problem before it could cause any real structural damage.   We’ve been working towards this for well over a year, saving our pennies, assembling materials, & finalizing design choices while our trusty contractor Truitt has been tied up on another job that kept expanding.

The layers of construction dust settling throughout the house and the mess are a challenge (to say the least!) but since this is a room that sees heavy use everyday, we’re excited to finally have the makeover in progress!   We’ll update the Master Bath page soon, but in the meantime, here’s a teaser glimpse of the new glass block shower stall:

glass block shower wall

Be sure to check out our 2Dolphins Resort & Spa page for revealing looks at most of the other areas of our house and our ongoing home improvement efforts.

Twofer Tuesday

Occasionally, I come across small utilities or other free applets that’re worth passing on.   It occurred to me that it’s been a long time since my last Two For Tuesday Utility post, so here are a couple of utilities that I’ve been using quite a lot lately:

  • Lyrics Plugin is a free applet that lets you easily view song lyrics in either Windows Media Player or WinAmp.   Just play your favorite MP3s and their lyrics will be displayed automatically.
  • Notepad++ is a free & open source replacement for Windows’ Notepad.   The program is highly customizable and offers a wealth of powerful features that make it especially great for use as a source code editor — like hacking out some HTML, for example.

Blogs May Be Tipping

Blogtipping iconBlogtipping is a chance to give a nod to some noteworthy fellow bloggers — after all, everyone likes a little pat on the back, right?   And you never know, this could be the tipping point for some lesser-known gem of a website to become an overnight sensation.   May’s installation is a grab-bag of assorted blogs that don’t have anything else in common other than, well, we think they’re worth checking out:

Blue Skunk Blog is a recent discovery but I’ve been enjoying keeping up with Doug, both on the blog & via email.   Doug Johnson, who is the Director of Media & Technology for the Mankato (MN) public school system, uses this as a sounding board for education- and technology-related topics among other things.   What’s not to like:

  1. Some great reading material about kids & technology.
  2. Be sure to check out Doug’s free e-book.
  3. Nice, clean site layout makes everything easy to find!
  • Tip: I’d like to see a page aggregating some of the reference material links that’re peppered throughout some of your posts — like the Alliance for Childhood’s Tech Tonic.

Simple Green World by Jeneflower is a brand new blog that Jen has spun off from her Three Sons and a Princess adoption blog.   Dede & I like this one because:

  1. Practical eco-friendly tips drawn from personal experiences.
  2. Jen’s "Living Mindfully" attitude is inspiring & infectious!
  3. Posts target the bigger picture — not just being greener, but also increasing the health of your family, decreasing expenses, reducing waste, & just being a better overall person.
  • Tip: I’d like to see a few more images & photos!

4 Reasons Why from brothers Mark & Sean Evans is a fun blog that I recently added to my Google Reader subscription list because:

  1. Each post features a short list of 4 (sometimes 5) items to support an idea or argument.
  2. I like the controversial angle that these guys take on topics.
  3. Very clean site design makes it easy to navigate & discover lots of interesting stuff.
  • Tip: Guys, your "About Us" page could use just a little more info and maybe include a photo so we know what you look like?

Now it’s your turn!   Post a comment to share one of your favorite blogs!