Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The end is near

Friday Oct 5th is this blogs birthday (1 year old now). It was also the day 3,000 hits were recorded. Kind of neat, I suppose.

But this will also probably be the blogs last entry. My final post.

This blog was to be about my experience with live liver organ donation. I wanted to let others know what it was like to donate an organ. It was started because the local hospital, where the transplant was to take place, wouldn't allow this areas largest newspaper to do a story about me and my donation experience. I wanted to get the word out in case I wasn't able to donate my liver. Which was what happened.

I also used ambiguous, yet obvious pseudonyms for the characters in and around me. Because of this blog, I received a pretty large amount of flack from people that didn't like what I was writing about. All of which can be found here, on the blog.

Because of that, I chose to stop putting in personal accounts and observances of the characters so I could comply with those few that were unhappy. And, because of that, the only thing left was to regurgitate information that was already available to anyone that can perform a Google search. I can't do that anymore. If it's not personal, it's not what I want to do. The blog has become old, stale and stagnant.

I want to thank most of you for stopping by every so often and supporting me over the last year when there was real honest content on the blog. It was a wonderful ride.....

I end with today's numbers:
Waiting list candidates as of today 11:09am
All 97,504

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Got liver?

Carl did, and here is his blog.

News from around the world

Well, actually from one other country. Here is a small article on Yahoo News, from Hong Kong about a living donor. Click here. Thanks to Josh for finding it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There is always hope

On Nightline (ABC News) there was a story about a liver transplant.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Curent numbers

Waiting list candidates as of today 9:31am 9/11/07

332 people have been added to the waiting list in 23 days.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So cool

FoxNews.com reported that an 8 month old boy received a FIVE organ transplant of the gastrointestinal tract. The organs did come from a single donor.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A side note

One of the web sites I visit frequently had this article.
It is about a photographer that documented the last days of a womans life very close and "inside". He talks about being inside versus outside regarding the subject.

When I asked a photographer from a local paper to document my journey as a liver donor, it was this access I was trying to provide. Not many times do they get that kind of an opportunity.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Current numbers

Waiting list candidates 96,884 as of today 5:15pm
Data from OPTN.org

It's amazing how fast the numbers are rising. We will have 100,000 people waiting for an organ probably in less than a year (by my estimate nothing to substantiate those numbers). I can only assume that the number of people that die every day will rise accordingly. Right now, I believe that number is about 17 people die every day waiting for an organ.

CORE has updated is Facts and Statistics page. It's an interesting read.

Concerning issues

Apparently I have pushed someones buttons. I got this anonymous comment:
Ok, after reading the latest on your website, I really must say that you have your self up on a high pedestal, and it is not only Brad and I that think you are truly an ass.

That being said, the only reason we read it, is so we can see how much you think of your self and see how big your head has gotten for the day.

I emailed the above this question:
Would you be willing to share exactly what has gotten so many people on a tear? (that's TEAR as in RIP, not tear as in crying).

Then got this anonymous comment:
You are an ass.

Never did get a response to my question. So, apparently my whole blog has been all about me. Well, yes, IT IS MY BLOG. From my point of view and my life. I guess it will be a bit biased. I still try to be pretty fair in my representation of the facts of life and the goings on.

So, when someone reads my blog only to see how big my head has gotten and it makes them so upset. Stop reading. Pretty simple.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back in (limited) action

I just returned from my 20 year high school reunion this morning. I can say with enthusiasm that it was the highlight of the year. Possibly the best week(end) in the past 5 years.

I had so much fun it was pretty difficult to return to reality. But alas, I am back here in the Pitt and dealing with dirty floors, a backed up sewer, boxes and boxes of stuff and of course the humidity.

"Yeah but it's a dry heat" was never so right. The arid southeast corner of the Great State of WA was hitting highs of 90-100+ degrees and it felt so damn good. Hot, yes it's hot. But at under 30% humidity (purely speculatory, I really don't know), who cares. In western PA, we have more like 40, 60 and 80%. IT SUCKS. I took a shower last night and had to lay on a towel in bed because I couldn't dry off.

While I was gone It appears that someone got very upset about a sentence or paragraph in one of my blog posts.

Well, the story I got was that PERSON_A read my blog. Then PERSON_A (or their spouse) called the recipients spouse. The recipients spouse got all upset and freaked out on my wife. My wife then called me.

I was reading all my posts to see what was so inflammatory. Of course the areas I thought would have put someone on the ropes were not even close to what was being referenced. I am still not 100% sure about the specific posts that caused such a ruckus.

So.....the moral of this story.


I have already made a few concessions in my web activities. I am not using names here on the blog to protect the innocent (or the stupid). I use carefully selected pseudonyms. To most, it's not hard to add everything up. To many, no one cares. I also don't blog about everything, like over at Dooce. I could, but that would open another can of worms that I won't go into. Although putting in names and a full accounting of events might be more fun.

Although, I could be like others in this world and not care, that wouldn't be me. I do care. I care enough to actually post here to let everyone know what the hell is happening. I care enough that I offered my own damn liver to help the recipient out. I cared enough that when my wife asked, I had already gone through the thought process to be able to say "yes, I will donate". I even said yes to consolidating houses to help the recipient and his spouse since they are not able to sustain individual living on their own. Along those lines I clean the house (sometimes) I drive them to some appointments. I cook and have a few conversations every day. I deal with the nuances of their personalities. I even hold my tongue on occasion (rarely). We even go to dinner together when I can drag the recipients spouse off the couch. Does it sound like fun? Well, for the past 4 years, 3 months and several days, every time I speak to one of my family members I field the questions and answer session of when will we be moving back.

I DON'T KNOW. If it were up to me, I would relocate to 99336 tomorrow. But my wife and the recipients spouse have more say than the kids, myself and the recipient. Their arguments are valid. I understand. But I don't have to like it. So, here were are and here we will stay until death do us part.

Employment has also kept us here, but that too is another LONG potentially volatile discussion.

To compare that to some of the other family members, I have done a lot for the recipient and spouse. I know that my wife and I are in a unique situation.

But everyone else is too, so don't go there.

We took this on (taking care of them) many many years ago because of another situation that we were in. I will also not forget that the recipient and spouse have done a LOT for my wife and I. It doesn't go unnoticed. I also have my own sets of parents to think about. This is probably a precursor for what the rest of my life will be about.

For those that question me, walk a mile in my shoes.

So hows that for pissing in your cheerios.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Back in action

Okay, wow, like, it's been a while.
I still have a few hangers on. I appreciate it. Really, I do.

Now that I have a real job, (taking care of my kids) I don't have time for the frivolous stuff like blogging. (tongue in cheek) Sort of.

So, here's a nutshell update.

Moved out (you already know that)
No regular paycheck (you already know that too)
Trying to get a photography studio off the ground.
Looking for a corporate type gig (otherwise know as a "job")
Trying to adjust to living in a box with 5 other people......moving in with the recipient and the recipient's spouse is a HUGE adjustment. My kids are not as enthusiastic about it anymore either. I am sure it goes both ways though.

Next week I get to go "home" for a few days. My 20 year class reunion is Aug 10/11. Almost didn't get to go. I would have been truly bummed if that had happened. Truly.

For three weeks, I have been hanging out with our summer visitor.....She is legally a niece. But because of my superior way of being specifically ambiguous, I will call her....OldestD. It has been fun, and trying. From OldestD's perspective, I am the "entertainment". Since I don't have a day job, it's up to me to keep the kids entertained. Swimming, food, shopping, trips ANYWHERE out of the house. You know. Everything I have waited to do since I was a young teenager. Being a DAD is nothing short of great. Wish OldestD could stay forever. Wish she could have been with us these past years....

Other things happening are:
The recipient has been taken off some more medications. He is doing very well since the transplant. Even in the past three weeks, things are better. He was really tired for quite some time. Early to bed. Late to rise. Mid day nap for a few hours, then back to bed early at night. Now, the nap is essentially gone. Strength is still low and a few other issues exist like the lost feeling in fingers of the left hand. Still there.

I have been monitoring the numbers, but obviously haven't posted any. Here they are:
Waiting list candidates: 96,940 as of today 11:22am (8/5/07)
It won't be long until the list tops 97 THOUSAND people waiting for an organ. I guess I should do my part.

A little FYI. Over the summer, there was an ad campaign on TV about teen drivers. While I am not a teen driver, I have one that is of age, and two that are becoming aware of driving. They ask the speed limit. Recognize red lights (and green ones too). The stats from SADD (culled from the NTSB) say in 2005, 43,200 died in traffic accidents. That same year, 3,467 15- to 20-year-old drivers were killed in accidents. (Not in additions to, but as a part of).

Looking on the CORE web site. I found some interesting bits of information. First, one:

If I die of a heart attack, can I be an organ donor?

No. For traditional organ donation, a person needs to be in a hospital and on a ventilator at the time of death. If someone dies of a heart attack, that person may donate tissue, but not organs.

Another one that is a big bummer, but understandable (source here) :

Donation Facts

-Under a program called "Routine Referral"

...However, when an individual dies outside the hospital setting, the individual may be able to donate tissue or corneas, but not organs.

Those two items have been the most troubling for me. The death outside a hospital was surprising. But my limited knowledge of anatomy, I will assume that when the heart stops beating, the organs begin to deteriorate. Thus, in a car accident, it can be several minutes (tens of minutes) before a crew could extricate a decedent. By that time the organs are in pretty bad shape. Not exactly something to put into another person huh.

With those two items, I can begin to understand how important it is to have more and more people to be organ donors. Right now, so many people die in car accidents, they are probably the bulk of organ donors. If the death occurs in the car, then they cannot donate.

Kind of a strange irony.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Current events

We are finally moved out of the old place. It took THREE 26 foot moving trucks plus our van (for the delicate stuff) and two regular pickup truck loads and a trailer. Damn man, that's TOO much SH!T. All I can say, is we better have one helluva yard sale soon.

So now I have internet access and can hopefully, get back to the better tasks at hand.

Since I have been moving literally every day for the last three weeks, it's time for a break. But there is no rest in the plan. We have so much chaos in our lives right now, it affecting our sleep, our attitudes, our logic and of course how we all get along.

The house we are in now is nice and big but the kitchen on the main floor is not set up very well. The former owner really did a crappy job in almost everything he touched. The rumor was he had electrical skills. Well, skill is not the word I think of. We had two electricians come in to take a look, and they both said the house should not have passed inspection. We have several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars worth of work that needs to be done because of his "work". Hopefully, we can do some of the work ourselves and save on the non-existent cash.

One other item is how the main floor kitchen was put together with zero insight. (I wasn't involved at all). The food is in four different and separate locations. Drinking glasses are in such a bad place everyone struggles to get at them. But no one is willing to admit they were put in a bad place nor will they move them to a better place. So I relish in a sadistic joy as I watch everyone struggle getting a freaking water glass.

I could go on, but I don't feel like throwing myself into a pit of negativity, there will be plenty of time for my bitterness to rise to the surface.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How's this for a real causal effect

TNT channel has a new series centered around organ transplants.
http://www.upmc.com and the TNT site.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Current events

I am heading in a different direction professionally. I have two photographers looking over my portfolio and am thinking about moving whole heartedly towards being a pro photog. Another local pro has offered me a 1/3 partnership. We will talk about this in more detail Friday morning.

I also got a call from "C" (you can see her picture here http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneaday2007/513681626) her daughter is an up and coming photog and she wanted to know if I could offer any guidance. Of course I will!

One of the things the recipient gets is TIRED. He naps for a few hours every afternoon and I think he's getting a full night's sleep. But after 3 months, he can do more things, but it really saps the energy. We worked together today on a workbench in the new garage. I could see him struggling with the tools and with his strength. While it's better than is was 6 or 12 months ago, it's tough to see him like this.

I put up a new link down on to the right, but here it is anyway http://transplantheadquarters.blogspot.com there are many thing organ donation related on here. I haven't gone to far into it, but it's a plethera of info.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Bro

It's my brothers birthday and I want to wish him a happy one!

Melancholy funk

Much has happened over the past 7-10 days. I won't bore you with the normal details....if you're lucky.

I finished my first professional photo portfolio a few weeks ago. I culled through all of 2006 (35,000 images) to pull my 50 favorite shots. Currently I have two professionals reviewing it, one on each coast. When I get my reviews back, I will share with you all the....results.

The wife, kids and I took our first official family vacation together last week. Suffice to say, it wasn't without it's issues. We went to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to see the treasures of the Pharaohs. I have been planning it since the fall of 2006. We left a few minutes late on Wednesday....well if 240 minutes would be considered late. We also stopped in Gettysburg during a rain storm. Making it to our hotel in NJ, we eventually made it to the Franklin Inst. at 10 the next morning for our ticketed time slot. As we entered, the tickets were found out to be FOUR months old. When I purchased them, it was on Feb 12. The time/date was Feb 14 not June 14th. DAMN. I was in tears. I had been planning this trip so long and they wouldn't let us in. I had to buy tickets again, if they were available. Luckily they were and to the Franklin Inst. honor, they allowed us to purchase at a membership price rather than the normal price so that saved us a few dollars....

Saturday was the end of soccer. It was a long and very satisfying 12 weeks of soccer. My idea of an adult league was a resounding success. They will all be playing in pickup games through the summer.

The stick and ball season is almost done. The final record will be something like 14 losses and zero wins.

Grade reports came back last week too. Mostly even. A few improvements. My plan of using a cell phone for a reward wasn't enough. They studied only when they would get something now, not in the future.

We moved the recipients....stuff....from the old garage and it now FILLS the new smaller garage. I have moved some of the same exact items, three times now. Some of that stuff has been touched three times in four years. Only when it's moved. There's gonna be a big ass yard sale someday. Sell it, toss it or leave it. I'm not moving it again.

We started cleaning the 2nd floor of the new house. It's disgusting. The former occupant smoked and the previously white walls are GRAY with smoke.

I got to over hear the recipient talking to a former neighbor regarding his current health. He says he feels good. Unfortunately, he isn't following all of the doctors guidelines. But for the most part, his he only suffers from some tiredness. His energy level isn't what it used to be. He also has lost the feeling in the three fingers of his left hand. It' the same issue as before, but after shock therapy....?.... nothing has changed so we can probably expect that is the payment for a new liver.

We have to be out of the current rental the end of this month and we are nowhere close to packed or the new place prepared for us to move in. Then again, the recipient and his spouse are using all the boxes we need to pack. Not only that, but all their stuff is in the living and dining rooms as well as the kitchen. So we don't have a place to put our living room, dining room or kitchen stuff. Basically, I am sure it will go as it did two years ago. my wife and the recipients spouse will call the shots and I will have to deal with it.

I love my life, I just wish I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quote Of The Day

“…If you talk to a guy in the Apple Store, you already know he's going to be modern and up-to-date and sober. It's healthier than picking up someone in a bar.” - unknown Apple store customer

Monday, June 11, 2007

Not what we like to hear


A woman working for Tennessee Apparel wanted to donate a kidney to a distant relative, sort of. But the company won't keep her job available if she donates. Because the surgery is an elective, they don't have to follow the FMLA.

Now, when I first read this, I was a bit concerned about it. But after reading the article, she is also the
sole financial provider for the family. Strike one. She has three kids, that apparently get sick often. Strike two. The third strike for me is thinking about the lack of care she nad her immediate family will get during her recovery. Sure, organ donation is important, but she and her family is too.

This is just one fo the issues facing everyone that is a living donor, what happens after I donate.

A new era

Over the past week to two weeks, I have been coming up with something of a new plan for my professional career path. Flash back to last summer when the recipient was really sick, we (actually just me) were thinking that if the recipient did pass away, we would fast track it back to the Great State of WA. Come fall, I was offering a slab of my own liver. Last November, I wasn't able to donate. This winter (February) the recipient received a liver. Spring=change, and we bought a house here north of Pittsburgh, thus securing our medium term stay, extending the 5 years that we (again, probably just me) would give Pittsburgh......sigh

Now, given my wifes penchant for being in a constant state of chaos, we are getting ready to move into said house. The recipient and spouse have most of their stuff in the house, and the flooring and paint is supposed to be going in. When I say "in the house" that's literally. The dining room and living rooms are FULL of their stuff. Both floors also have to be replaced so we will be doing a lot of move everything there, then move it again then move it AGAIN. Something I loathe!

So, that effectively brings you current.

The new era.....I would really like to head in the direction of a photography. Really! I would. Our new house has an out building that could server as an office/SMALL studio. I mean REALLY small studio. I also got a shot of hope from a Canadian web site that focuses on social change. You can see their images here http://www.photosensitive.com. Last month I was also reading about NGO's, otherwise known as Non Governmental Organizations. BIG non profits that are about bringing about the betterment of the world, one country at a time. The photographers that work for the NGO's are usually contract photogs. In some cases they are actually staff employees, but not often.

Right now I am in the discovery phase of the process. After I do my research, I will take the information I learn and to move forward by creating a non profit foundation/organization. File for the 501(c)(3) tax status. That will put me in the position of being able to request tax exempt donations from large corporations and individuals that might be sympathetic to organ donation and it's various associated causes. Right now, my cause is commendable, but I can honestly say, being successful puts me into the position of sacrifice that frankly, I am not prepared to perform. I don't mind working hard, but there has to be a payoff. My family can't eat off great pictures of organ donors. If I can actually pull a salary as a photographer, then putting 110% into this cause can then actually create some change. To wit there are 96,667 people waiting for organs this afternoon.

I have another photographer friend of mine that has offered to pull me in as a 1/3 partner. That should bring is some weddings and perhaps some team and individual portrait jobs next spring/summer. It's a tough gig to work full time on the weekdays, then shoot weddings and sports on the weekends. That's where I am not willing to sacrifice quite yet. The kids are young and I am involved, so I an staying on the side of caution before I jump headlong in to the mosh pit.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Yeah, I am that good

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with my kids. For those of you that know me, you know my standing on them, their activities and my devotion.

Last week, one of my offspring asked for a sleepover. No problem. Then another friend was added. Soon, the sibling wanted in on the action. That too, resulted in another friend.

Before long, we went from one sleeping over to EIGHT.

I had planned for dinner at a certain time and things weren't going too well. Food=good, timeliness=bad.

No matter, this is what I live to do. Cook, entertain and make people happy. I watched the kids hang out and chat. Then they asked to head to the store across the street.

As dinner was served and eaten, I really relished in the moment. So much so that my wife noticed that I was probably glowing and called me "super dad". I was the happiest I had been in quite some time. They wanted to go to ice cream and I offered up some cash for those that weren't prepared. (I even got change back)."Sure, but be careful." (I also WORRY, A LOT). They all headed off, over the hill. It was really a neat sight to watch the group as they mingled, jockeyed for position and really got along. My kids included.

After the ice cream was eaten, the kids got a bit restless. One of my claims came out with a water balloon and the war was on! I even let them throw water balloons from the upstairs bathroom window. (I did laugh thinking that "mom" would nave never allowed that!)

Looking back, I got to see, and really pay attention to the inner workings of boys, girls, and boy-girl relationships. It was just so neat to watch and be privy to what happens.

Later that night, they were all down in the theater hanging out. It's the only room where you can put your feet up, eat and hang out on the furniture. Yeah, it's cool!

Anyway, they were playing a game and I got to play too. Being near 40 and getting accepted (to a certain level) by your children's peers, is a pretty big coup. I work very hard at letting all of them know my expectations. I don't mince words and I treat all of them with respect. I also am very adamant in that I expect some respect in return.

Forward to last night......I was at a sporting event with one of my kids. It is near the end of the season and the overall record is so far past dismal, it's beyond sad. No wins and really no close games. No matter, the kids are still playing.

I noticed that the opposing team was similarly matched in skills. Something we haven't experienced this season. All the other teams play year round, or the coaches are effectively a$$holes and winning is the only option. Those coaches like to know they walked away from a game that the score is 2 to 26. Class acts I tell you.......but pull the "Cl" and you know what you get.

So, two of our coaches were absent this game. So me being the one to take advantage of a situation, I pretended to be a coach. I did what I do naturally.

Recognize the talent.
Challenge the mind.
Motivate the heart.

I spoke encouragement. I challenged the kids. I made a few changes with their bats and how they hold the grip. It worked. Some got hits that normally don't. Many got on base. And several scored.

Sure, the team was better. But we...THEY scored 11 runs. Three times anything they had scored before. On several occasions, a player said they liked being ENCOURAGED.

While it wasn't just me, the other coaches were more encouraging too and they actually coached, where I just tried different things. But I did something different. I spoke to the players DIFFERENTLY. I treated them with respect. I think they responded positively to that.

Sure we lost, but they had fun doing it and enjoyed the game. I know it was the best one I had watched.

We have several more games left in the season, all against very good teams. Hopefully, they can play as well these next few games as they did this last one. But I suppose it might also depend on if I can be in a position that I was last night.

I know it wasn't because of me. But I know I was part of it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I would like to congratulate my brother and his wife on the birth of their child yesterday.
Pretty cool to have another one in our family, hopefully I will see her before she graduates from high school.

Friday, June 01, 2007

More time wasters

For those that use Google maps, or for those that don't.
This site has some funny issues with the new version (addition) of Google's Street View.

Opinionated cynic


Several things need to blogged today, but I am diverting from the important to allow myself some therapy. Bear with me.

We...er..."I" signed on the line of death, sold my soul, determined my (short term) destiny and bought a house last week. Last Friday actually. I still claim it was under duress so to speak. Regardless, I took one, two (and more) for the team. Even though the team consists of two chiefs and a handful of Indians. I feel like we're headed into Wabash and I just hope it doesn't turn into another St. Claire's defeat. Although the Indians were victorious in that one. Maybe I feel more like St Claire.......

While I am not great at anyone thing, I am pretty good at many things. Yesterday, I prototyped a cover for a robotic arm. Then I picked up the camera to take a picture of it for a marketing campaign.
Last week, when getting everything packed for phase 1 of the move, I fit nearly the whole house in a 26 foot U-Haul, with some room to spare. While not something you put on the resume, I was pretty damn proud of the job I did. Then the wife and I unloaded it in about three hours. Just the two of us. A great time I tell ya.

I won't go into any detail of the garage, but those of you that lived through the first move in '03, it isn't any different, but possibly worse. How many broken riding lawn mowers should one person own? For gosh sake, throw something away would ya?! Look, there's the top (side, part, crank, whatever) of a '49 make-a-name-up-here-cuz-it-ain't-made-anymore manufactured somethingorrather.

Me: "Um...do you have any other parts to make it work?"

Him: "Well, no, but it's a classic (top, side, part, crank, whatever) of a '49 make-a-name-up-here-cuz-it-ain't-made-anymore manufactured somethingorrather."

Me: (to myself) "That's......just.....really nice........"

Okay, so I told you the details. Oops.

Keep it moving, there's nothing to see here folks.

I have a good mind for small project management and a decent analytical skill set. It's never been truly tested in a professional setting, so perhaps my analytical skills are more "opinions" versus true skills. Just don't ask my wife.

We are in the early throes of phase 2 of the move.

The new house needs some cleaning. A smoking renter lived there and the carpet in the whole second floor needs to be replaced or deep cleaned. The attic/3rd floor also needs to be gutted floor to ceiling. The main floor is livable but the bedroom needs flooring. The carpet was removed (old and ugly) and we have been waiting for someone to make a flooring color decision.

......................waiting...........................waiting..........................waiting.............................still waiting................................(guess)................................

I started to write this post this morning then got side tracked with other things. It's amazing how time will cool the creative mind.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In the news

A Dutch TV show is raising some controversy with it's crazy antics. A woman is going to have a game show to see who will get one of her kidneys while she is alive.

It interesting that in the article people are quoted saying it disgusting that this show will air and they want to shut it down. Yet, no one offers any suggestions on how to fix the issue of people waiting so long for an organ. In the Netherlands, their average wait is 4 years.

It's great that someone took some outside thinking to bring about an awareness. Here in the US, our numbers are significantly higher than those in the Netherlands. Currently the accepted (average) number is 17 people die every day waiting for an organ. That puts us around 6,200 annual deaths. Right now, there are 96,470 people on the waiting list.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Link of the day


Southern hospitality

In all honesty, I was a mark. But (I hope) it became more than that.

"C" needed more numbers. And truthfully, the first words that I digested were "5,000 free miles".

Funny, that's what I need to get a ticket back home for my 20 year reunion this summer. She asked me to fill out a credit application. Quickly showing me where to sign, fill in and check there, there and there. It was rushed but if I actually had time to think about it, I am sure I wouldn't have done it....but that 5,000 free miles was my enticement.

I slowed and tried to have a conversation with "C". She had numbers to get and I wasn't helping by keeping her from the "zone". Airports are a target rich environment, but time is fleeting. Her numbers were impressive. Much more than I would have thought.

After I filled out the application, I watched her. Well, I watched for a couple of reasons. One, she was dynamic. Very engaging. Secondly, she's beautiful and had an incredible southern voice. She would engage the passengers as they went from gate to gate. Some would slow and several would approach. Her style was all charm and hospitality. In between her attempts to get applicants, we would engage in small talk. Before long my plane was ready to board so I had to move along. After I checked in, (I was flying stand by) I returned to ask if I could take her picture for a project. We discussed the One A Day project and her standing on organ donation. She got involved many years ago when a family member got sick. Organ donation wouldn't have helped in that case, but it was still something that was near and dear to her.

Currently, she helps raise money for sick children. She had contacts to celebrities and creates events involving these celebrities and the children. But she is a behind the scenes person. Ironically, I put her front and center in my camera and she shines.

You can see her picture here:
or all the OAD images here:

It's over

It finally happened. After 13 years, of a hot and cold relationship it’s done. Lately, I just couldn’t wrap my hands around it. The years made the middle pretty wiggly. We be doing our thing and if I didn’t treat her just right sometimes she would end up on the floor with a big whump. The kids would run in and ask if everything was okay. I would mutter out a “yes”. But alas after 13 years, the iron has died.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's been a week

First off, I got bored with the blog look so I changed everything. I still like the black background best but it's not the best for reading. I will stick with white until I find the right combination of text and color.

I am back from Nashville TN and wasn't all that impressed. Granted, I only saw Stones River civil war site and was downtown on Broadway during the day. At night with the sights and sounds, I am sure it's a much better place. I ate at a dinner theater restaurant that started to serve breakfast and lunch. Wellllll, lunch specials are last nights dinner covered in gravy. Probably would have had a better sandwich at Subway. It would have been fresher for sure.

In another post, I mentioned a bit of chaos in our lives.....good God was I right. After three days away, I came back to a house that looks like something you would see in a reality TV show. We have SEVEN people living on our rental house right now. Five adults and two kids. I am not hammering on anyone, it's just so many people and so much stuff. There just isn't anywhere to put it. We have bags of food on EVERY counter. The refrigerator....well, I am OCD when it comes to the kitchen. Everything has a place and dammit, make sure everything is in it's place. When I opened the door this morning, things fell out and I was about to freak on all who could hear. There was medicine, half opened bottles (with lids) and containers falling out. It was all I could do to not literally throw EVERYTHING AWAY and start over. I was not in a good mood at that point. Sooooo, I followed suit and picked the crap off the floor and THREW it back in the fridge. I didn't care who, or what. If you are missing something that is supposed to be in there, find it your self. It's probably in the back under what ever you put in there before that isn't supposed to be there but somewhere else.......DAMMIT!!

Okay, I have vented and the next post, being a few days late, will be regrading organ donation and the One A Day project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When it rains...it pours

May 15 - Tuesday - (wife) close on 28 Station St. (new owners want to take possession May 20)
May 15 - Tuesday - (me) sign loan paperwork for 1635 4th Ave (will not close on 1635 until week of 5/21 (note the gap))
May 16 - Wednesday - pick up U-Haul begin filling it with lots of sh!t
May 17 - Thursday - (wife) work 12-14 hour days, pack U-Haul, wife sick, has been for three days, the recipient cannot pick up more than 30 lbs (me) work 10 hour days but not home until after 7pm pack U-Haul at night
May 18 - Friday - (wife) work 12-14 hour days, pack U-Haul, wife sick, has been for four days, the recipient cannot pick up more than 30 lbs (me) work 10 hour days but not home until after 7pm pack U-Haul at night
May 19 - Saturday - (everyone) adult soccer at 7:30am, youth soccer at 9:00am, softball at 9:00, mandatory dance practice at 12:30pm
May 20 - Sunday - (everyone) new owners get keys to 28 Station St (old occupants (the recipient and spouse) have no where to live) Looks like a hotel for a week, 2007 dance recital most of the day Sunday
May 21 - Monday - (me) head to Nashville for the week, wife still sick, kids tired of us being tired and short tempered, the recipient and spouse still in a hotel, every one says sh!t a lot and vow to sell everything before we move again
May 21-25 - week of - close on 1635 house and can't move in because the renter is (probably) still living there, we have unloaded all the sh!t from 28 Station St and it sits in the storage unit. We moved it once and have to move it all again into the 1635 house within a week.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Neat story

I was talking to someone today and they told me about story of their relatives, co workers spouse.....whew...was diagnosed with a liver disease. Not long after, they said they need a transplant. VERY shortly after that, they received one BUT they were asked if they would be willing to donate a portion of that new liver to a pediatric patient waiting for a liver too. Of course, they said yes.

Sorry i don't have any more details, it's pretty much how it was told to me. But the fact that more and more of these transplants are happening is pretty neat. Since the liver regenerates from any size, the pediatric patients only need a very small portion and it will grow to it's proper size once implanted. The adult can live without a that small portion given to the child too since the larger portion will regenerate to it's proper size.

That's soooo, cooool.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Encore, encore

"I called out Sue's name twice, and the second time she raised her hand," he said. "I announced we had to get her to Pittsburgh, to the children's hospital, that they had a heart for her little boy." - Pennsylvania State Police

That is an excerpt from this Fox News article about a boy getting an opportunity at life from a live saving organ donor but also, because of technology. They were at a concert and his mother had a cell phone that was able to be located from GPS, but I think it was triangulation. GPS is a receiver, cell phones send out signals that can be triangulated.

If the venue that she was at had a cell phone jammer (which is illegal right now in the US but some want to change that) or if her phone was turned off, he may have missed an opportunity at a new heart.

Jammer info:
http://www.slate.com/id/2092059/ This is an old article, but may still apply.

The important thing is the fact that someone donated their heart to John.
Our current numbers are:
Waiting list candidates as of today 10:59am
All 96,371
Kidney 71,598
Pancreas 1,683
Kidney/Pancreas 2,356
Liver 16,855
Intestine 231
Heart 2,778
Lung 2,756
Heart/Lung 124
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - February 2007
Total 4,424
Deceased Donor 3,414
Living Donor 1,010
Based on OPTN data as of 05/04/2007

Donors recovered January - February 2007
Total 2,274
Deceased Donor 1,266
Living Donor 1,008
Based on OPTN data as of 05/04/2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"I kept leaning down to smell the top of your head, so thrilled that I was home." - Heather "Dooce" Armstrong

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dream job

1) Independently wealthy.

2) Work part time for a couple of corporations as the representative on the boards of non profit organizations that receive the donations from the corporations. Not as a meddler, just to ensure the money is being spent wisely.

You also see no differences

Okay, I have away from the organ donation part of this blog it's crazy. You will have to live with it for a month or two more. Then it's back to the right stuff.

Reading the headlines today I would really like to..........

Okay, I wrote a post and re read it, then I edited it, re read it then deleted most of what I wanted to write......

Of the two articles I was going to reference one was about some group in Austria that want to declare a chimpanzee a human. The other was a 17 year old Kurdish girl being stoned for having a relationship with a boy with a different religious background.

I cannot (well I can, but I won't) say what I really want to say on this blog. It would move the content so far away from the focus of Organ Donation.

When the subject of "differences" comes up with many people I deal with, I ask them to close their eyes and tell me what they see that is different. Not what they remember, but what they can actually see with their eyes closed.

The usual response is "I see nothing". Then my answer is "then you also see no differences".

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

From behind the lens

On another note, I have mentioned him in the past, but David Farmerie has been preparing a re design of his own site. He has added podcasts and a blog and there should be some more images pretty soon. His web site blog is here http://davidfarmerie.com/txp and the web site is here http://www.davidfarmerie.com

I was reading his newest blog http://photographersplace.blogspot.com recently with this entry:

What Moves You?

This is the question that I would ask of any image maker wanting to know what genre of photography to explore. It is also the question that I would pose to any image maker asking how to go about choosing a personal project.

As an example, a friend of mine - who is an aspiring photographer, began shooting sports for a local newspaper but he wanted more. He took on a personal project that moved him - that he was passionate about, and created a blog and photo site. (http://causaleffect.blogspot.com/)

I actually had to read it twice because I didn't realize the paragraph was about me. I am flattered. I just need to live up to my own hype and begin producing images for the One-A-Day-2007 Organ Donation Awareness Project. Besides the many obstacles I run into, I don't have much accountability. There isn't anyone over my shoulder saying I need to fill a quota, or have a certain portion of the project done by a certain date. It's all self paced and self regulating. Which is exactly why the last 45 days have been a total bust.

I am still passionate about organ donation. I go through life right now figuratively looking through a camera lens. I watch people all day wondering what they would look like with a certain lens. I watch the shadows fall across their face. I see how the nose casts a shadow and want a Canon "L" lens that will show the smile lines on their cheeks. I even went to a second hand store to buy some interesting clothes for the time I actually get to shoot in a studio. Hats, shirts and a few skirts. I think my daughter snagged a few though.

I bought People magazines 100 most beautiful edition. When I look at the pictures, I am looking into the reflections in the eyes and trying to see if they are using a softbox or octobox, a strip light, reflector or natural lights from the sky or windows.

(Note to all: A Canon 85mm L f/1.2 or an 85mm f/1.8 would fit nicely in my mailbox....in case someone has an extra laying around).

I drive around looking at trees, signs and buildings wondering when the best light will be. I get butterflies in my stomach when I see people gathering for ice cream or sitting down for dinner. It takes all I have to not just stare, observe and want to take pictures.

David mentions the "zone" in his new blog. Last weekend I was in the zone. I got some really good soccer shots. They aren't at the level of those on SportsShooter, but some day, some day.

Timing is everything

Yesterday, I was perusing a site I frequent very often. www.sportsshooter.com which has some of the worlds greatest photographers as it's members.

I delve into the main site every so often but I read the forums most. but since I am not a member of the site, I cannot participate, post or view some parts of the site......

I read a forum post from one of the members and replied via the email feature, which I can use. We struck up an email conversation that was very, very nice. We had a few things in common and it lead to a discussion about a few things including organ donation, our pasts, our futures and dreams.

The photographer is an organ donor, has a family member that received an organ, and is also struggling with someone near and dear that may be in the early or middle stages of liver disease. We talked about the difficulty dealing with someone that isn't necessarily in denial, but refuses to accept help or seek treatment.

Our conversation went in other directions too, but I was struck by the casualness of our email conversation.

I had asked her early on if she could spare some time to review some of my own images I that have made in the last year or so. Having a true professional photographer review your work is always beneficial and scary. Most photographers are pretty critical and detail oriented. We are our own worst enemies. And having a "peer" (and I use that term loosely since I am not a "true" professional (yet)) review can only benefit me as a budding professional photographer.

To view her work, head here: http://www.jodygomez.com

Making it up as I go

It is May 2007 now. Last month, April, was National Donate Life Month. I saw ZERO national efforts regarding organ donation. I watch the news (NBC Brian Williams, ABC nightly news and CNN) on my iPod at least 4 of 7 days a week. In all of April, none of them had a story on organ donation. Locally, I don't watch the news since I am editing pictures at night from the previous weeks events or I am sleeping.

It is pretty disappointing to say the least. But in all fairness (because that's what I am about), I wasn't out there doing interviews or getting portraits either, so I am not pointing a finger, just making an observation.

I looked back on the numbers and unfortunately, I didn't do a good job posting last month. My post on Mar 26 shows 95,611 waiting for organs. April 10 shows 95,978 and May 1 (today) shows 96,254. There was an increase of 643 people waiting based on those numbers. Of course many have been added and dropped because they got organs or they died waiting for an organ. Out of the 36 days between Mar26 and May1, it averages just over 17 people per day being added to the list. 17.8 actually.

All of last month, I wore a Donate Life pin. It's a red heart/ribbon type of pin. I put a sticker on it with the number of people waiting for an organ. The first day I wore it, someone asked what it was. Yesterday, someone else asked. I don't remember anyone asking at any other time of the month. Very strange indeed.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Cat's out of the bag

And I'm not too fond of cats. So let 'em go.

This post is to bring everyone up to current. It’s a rant, a rave and a revelation of sorts.

These past several weeks have been pretty traumatic on my psyche. I have had to withhold information from you lovely loyal readers and that put me in a predicament that caused me to slow down on so many fronts, especially the blog postings. Something I didn't exactly like doing.

This blog is my confidant. My therapist. My out, if you will. Even though its auspices are organ donation, the blog has a very grounded effect since the organ donation is exactly what has put me in this current position.

Where does the future lead?

We are in the process of looking for a new house here in Western PA. If that happens, then is will cement our roots in this area for several more years. It's not something I relish. As a matter of fact I nearly got divorced over this decision. Something I actually seriously considered. While I can live and flourish anywhere in this world, my family is the most important thing to me. My “family” is not limited to just my children and my wife. It fully includes my parents (both sets), my brothers and sister, their kids, my grandparents (all of ‘em) and my aunts, uncles and cousins. I grew up with 5, 10, 20 people at a birthday party. Thanksgiving dinners had twice that and most of the time there were so many people coming and going at Christmas we really couldn’t count. I cannot thank my parents and grandparents enough for those memories that are just so damn wonderful.

But that is exactly what put me in a position that no matter what my decision was, I would regret it.

When we moved to Pittsburgh, I thought I made it very clear that we would be here for at least five years. That would be enough time to take in the ambiance of what is Pittsburgh and beyond. At four years we would sit down and determine if our move was beneficial to us as a WHOLE family. If we have not benefited as a WHOLE family, then we would begin the process of returning home to Washington.

Apparently, only my kids, my family members and myself were the ones that remembered that four/five year timeline. My wife (and company) had forgotten about it.

I define “beneficial” as a set of standards. Whereas we have either increased our finances, gained personal wealth by experiences (more-better culture), put into a better position professionally (which should better our finances, so to speak) and/or where we as a family have become better people by living here.

In years form now and the subject comes up that we lived in (near) Pittsburgh, they will invariably ask what you did there. Well, up to now, not much. I have been to the hospitals more that anything else. I have seen one pro baseball game. No hockey or football. I have seen a couple fireworks shows, but now they are old hat. We have been to a few museums and my daughter got to see River Dance at the opera theater. We have been to Erie once and Niagara Falls once. This summer we head to Philadelphia for a weekend. That’s it. For fours years in this area and I can summarize it in a couple of sentences, I say it’s a bust.

The above may expose our limited experiences, to be totally fair, we have benefited.

I have put myself into positions where I volunteer for one of the local youth sports associations. That is something that really is one of my great joys every week in the spring and fall. I have also been able to pick up a camera again and re discover my love for still photography. (I would have most likely picked up a camera anywhere, it just happens to be here so that’s an indirect benefit). I also got involved with an organization to bring about revitalization to the small town I currently live in. My wife has been promoted which really was the reason we moved in the first place. She contends that she can’t “just transfer” to any other location within her company. I agree, it would take time to do that, but we did it once, we can do it again. Another benefit that is most obvious is the recipient has received a liver resulting in a new lease on life. The recipients spouse loves living here too. Enjoys the slower lifestyle and small quiet comforts of the village they live in.

What have we lost?

My kids….well they haven’t directly benefited by being here. Indirectly, yes. But they are also losing so much that just cannot be replaced. Regular time with extended family just cannot be replaced with a few weeks once a year or in our case every four years.

What’s the big deal? Well, my kids are growing up with only two of their dozens or more family members. The two that they regularly interact with really can’t (or won’t) do anything with them. One is more of a homebody and the other has health issue that must be taken into consideration. It’s NOT a slam. It’s the reality of our situation. There are so many family members we left back home, that are very active in life that our kids are just plain missing out on it truly pains me to be in this situation.

Staying here in Western PA will result in my kids not knowing any of their cousins or their grandparents and having great memories like I do, I still have two grandparents (with one remarried) that are alive. My mom and dad have both remarried (YEARS ago) and I have siblings with both of them that have kids. I also have numerous cousins from aunts and uncles that have kids that are similar in age to my kids. All-for-naught.

Right now I feel they are in the golden hours of their lives. Over the next 3-4 years, they will create memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. I want those memories to include family. The whole family. Once they hit high school, it’s all about their peers and their classmates. The majority of their time will be spent away from mom and dad and they will be fast approaching full independence. Even if we move back in three years (my next milestone) they will have missed out on the ability to make close relationships and great memories with my parents, (their grandparents) their cousins and other family members.

By my decisions, I will have taken away opportunities of precious memories from my parents as well. That is something that is very, very difficult to accept.

So why are we still here? Well, it’s economics my dear Watson. Economics.

The recipient of course underwent a liver transplant recently. The medical coverage is provided by the hospital that performed the procedure. If the recipient leaves the area, then the medical coverage will cease to exist. Since none of use makes seven figures a year, we are sort of stuck here. The state Commonwealth of PA uses proceeds from the lottery system to supplement the seniors that reside here. Many states use the lottery for education; PA uses a lot of it for seniors. It’s a system that works very, very well.

I requested the medical info from the recipient so I could contact the State of Washington to compare medical coverage. But the recipient and spouse wouldn’t have not provided that info for me. I think they know that if I can find a good argument against staying here, we will then begin moving back to the (great) State of WA. By not providing that info to me, it ensures we stay here. That’s leverage. I’m impressed.

I tried a difficult stand on a compromise, that wasn’t taken very well. Perhaps it was the blindsided approach that caused it to fail right from the beginning. But sometime, that approach works best. This time, it didn’t. I offered (?) to move back to WA with the kids for a couple of years. My wife could stay here with the recipient and spouse. In a few years, we would reevaluate the situation.

It was met with incredible hostility.

Even though my wife left WA to come to PA for her job, me leaving to go back to WA with the kids was not met with the same enthusiasm. It must be different.

It wasn’t meant to be an “end all”. It was designed to be a safe stop gap of “the grass is greener” situation. If it didn’t work out for us in WA, there was some place to come back to in PA. If things in PA changed, or the insurance in WA got better for the recipient, then those in PA could head to WA.

Again, it wasn’t received well at all. At that point, I had to give up the battle. I knew I would lose everything I was working for if I continued. I put on my “happy face” and went on with the charade.

My wife has made it her number one goal to ensure the best quality of life for the recipient and spouse their last years on this earth. I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT. But our sole focus on them has caused the rest of our families (hers and mine) to figuratively be lost to the wayside. They have essentially become an after thought.

We have effectively been the sole providers to them for the last 6-8 years. I must admit, it’s been challenging but also rewarding. There are few people on this earth that can do what I do. It has caused some consternation and yet has given hope to others. Never the same people though.

I have rarely been the one to say “if we can save just one” it’s all worth it. I am usually the person to reach out to the masses. I don’t have a problem sacrificing one for the majority. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in my ability [sic] to self sacrifice. I have given so much up for the benefit of others my whole life….I am realizing now, that I need to begin to take care of myself, to take hold of my own dreams before they are lost to the ether forever.

I just do not know how rocky that path will be.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Back, but for how long

Okay, these past several weeks are excruciatingly thin on updates. It' s by design and by accident.
I am going to side step Organ Donation for a bit and fill you all in on some things going on.

1) The bacteria referred to in a past post is treatable, but at a cost. The medication will destroy...well damage, the liver. Since the doctor (?) that diagnosed the bacterial issue, isn't in contact with the doctor/surgeon that has performed the liver transplant they just issued a medication that could potentially kill the recipient. Nice huh.

2) I personally have some changes currently going on. Some can't be detailed until they are done.

3) I am trying sort of hard, to find a new job. Hopefully I can be a professional photographer, but it will take a few more years of work before I get to that point in my life. With that in mind, read this web page and the top 100 things about a photographers job. You may understand why I want to pursue that as a profession. http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1748

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quote Of The Day

My response is, Lighten up and get a life.” - Senator John McCain to reporters after a parody of a Beach Boys song

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Where to draw the line

Since the beginning of this blog, I have skirted the line of personal versus private. For the very close readers, and a select few others, there is no blurring of the line. You know the players, their stories. For the other outside/casual readers or those that stumble upon this blog, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure everything out.

The recipient underwent another test last week. Two actually. One was the MRI to attempt to determine the cause of the issues in he fingers of the left hand. The other test was for a bacteria, that is communicable.

He was, how did they say it, exposed and possibly at risk. I won't quote those words, but that's how I remember the conversation. We...he, hasn't received any word back on the tests either. Well, I haven't heard, if he has heard.

I am at odds with divulging the particular bacteria. It's not one of those front page stories. Most of the front page sicknesses are all viruses. Like Ebola, HIV, Bird Flu etc. No, this is a few notches below. But concerning nonetheless given the current circumstances.

So until I get an approval from the recipient, I will toe the line.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"Well, any General Officer who’s any good won’t take the job, and any General Officer who’ll take the job won’t be any good." - Col. Jack Jacobs (Army ret.) on the White House recruiting for a "War Czar"

A New High...or a low

The United States went over 96 THOUSAND people waiting for organs today.

Waiting list candidates as of today 12:17pm
All 96,003
Kidney 71,120
Pancreas 1,728
Kidney/Pancreas 2,364
Liver 16,912
Intestine 234
Heart 2,781
Lung 2,808
Heart/Lung 125
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - January 2007
Total 2,268
Deceased Donor 1,724
Living Donor 544
Based on OPTN data as of 04/06/2007

Donors recovered January - January 2007
Total 1,191
Deceased Donor 648
Living Donor 543
Based on OPTN data as of 04/06/2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Project Progress

Now that we are done with Q1 of 2007, I have begun work on the book portion of the One-A-Day-2007 Organ Donation Awareness project.

But before I get to that, let's take a stroll down memory lane.

Summer of 2006.
The recipient was sick and went through a battery of tests. Over several months the conclusion was his liver was failing. After the requisite tests, he received a MELD score of 8.

Fall of 2006.
I was asked that if my blood matched, would I donate a portion of my liver. I answered YES.

Since I thought I was going to go through the process of donating my liver, I tried to line up a documentary team to follow me through this journey. Living near Pittsburgh PA, I contacted the biggest newspaper here and was not met with much enthusiasm. I also contacted a few other media (two Pulitzer winners, a TV personality I graduated with and a photographer from my home town). I even asked relatives living in areas that might have connections. No one was willing or able to help. Including the hospital. It was up to me from this point on.

My journey, my view.

November 2006.
I went through the tests to see if I was a match. I was not and am diagnosed with a fatty liver. I was also incorrectly diagnosed with a blood disorder that has been subsequently ruled out.

January 1, 2007
With little to no support from anyone else, I began a blog to document everything that is going on in the recipients life, health and general items about organ donation. I met several people on other blogs, but mine is probably tied with first as the most active.

February 19, 2007
The recipient got a call 4 days before his birthday saying they might have a liver. The slow rush to the hospital was on.

February 20, 2007
Early in the morning after a 7 hour surgery, he received a liver from an 85 year old doctor from New York. After several weeks in the hospital, he comes home.

The recipient now:
He has gained weight, increased stamina, more energy and FEELS BETTER.

With the blog, I have a parallel project that involves my photography. I have a photo project on Flickr.com. The project has become dismal and an embarrassment to me. I started out with 15 portraits in about 35 days. February and March sucked. Overall I only have 18 portraits, technically 16 since one is of me and another is a double portrait.
I can honestly say the portraits are secondary to the message of organ donation awareness. I have talked to more people than I can count. Normally I talk to 2-4 people a week about organ donation. Most of the simple, short stories are on the blog. But as a photographer, I try really hard to get pictures to lend a face to those stories.

Where I am now:
Now that we are current, I have begun the process of taking all the images (all 18 of them) and the stories from the blog to create the first portion of the book. Without boring you to more tears, I have 226 pages in the current document. It's gong to take some editing to get it readable. I will also begin putting the posts directly onto a document rather than relying on an export process. Which DOESN'T EXIST on Blogger. (Those are the details I will omit for now).

Quote Of The Day

“I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations,” - Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Med Update

It's been a while since a med update and this one will be pretty sparse.

The recipient is still having problems with the three fingers of his left hand. There is little or no movement and they are always swollen. Because of the damage, he went in for an MRI Monday 4/9/07. The results are supposed to be back on Friday 4/13/07. So while I don't have a prognosis on that issue, it is, nonetheless, an update.

As for the rest of him, he is getting stronger every day. Little or no pain. His legs used to be really restless at night and has suffered from "charlie horses" for YEARS. It is my understanding, that all that has gone away or been so reduced in frequency that they are non issues now.

He does have sore knees in the morning, but it's most likely from the way he sleeps at night. He has also been gaining weight which means he is absorbing the nutrients from the food he eats and that means the liver is producing enzymes and functioning properly.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

April is National Donate Life Month

This morning at 9:00am I saw on the http://www.optn.org/data web site, there were 95,978 people waiting for an organ.

I received some lapel pins from OrganDonor.gov yesterday too. I am wearing my pin for the rest of April. (I never did get anything from the other organization that offered).

You too can get a pin from here: US Dept of Health and Human Services

I modified my pin with a label that has the current number of people waiting for an organ. Mine says 95,971 (from 10:00 am 4/10/07).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I took a week off. First, I was just purely busy. We had several things going on at work and our youth soccer league was having its season kickoff on Saturday 3/31. Then there wasn’t a whole lot of news regarding the recipient so I really didn’t have much to post or the time to do it.

What has changed?

Not much.

But some news is that the recipient was able to get his PA drivers license. He went in the week before is birthday and the state office was on a multi day holiday. There was a sign on the door saying something to the effect of Monday being a holiday so we will take half of Thursday off and throw Friday in there too. For those of you wanting to come Saturday, we decided to take that day off as well.

PA State Commonwealth employees, sheesh.

While it’s significantly more important than my laziness, April is National Donate Life Month. A little more than a week ago, I was gearing up for this month, trying to get some momentum going for April. (The month, not the person). So I emailed one of the local organizations that work directly with organ donation. I have had emails in the past with them and thought I would begin another dialogue. Well, I got the cold shoulder. I had asked what was being done to push the message of organ donation this month and (me, being “me”) I questioned a fact on their web site.

Maybe my questioning the accuracy of their site was what got me blackballed. I was at least hoping for a “here’s a list of our events” reply. Nope. They were suppose to send me some trinkets so I could use them to give to people I was talking to during the course of my own organ donation awareness project. Perhaps they see my lack of results and decided I wasn’t worthy of their trinkets.

Whatever. I feel that I am unworthy too. That’s a pretty crappy way to come to an agreement.

It’s kind of funny. Some of the people I have talked to about organ donation and one that is actually in the project, never come to the site. Hmm.

MSNBC has a good article about the current state of national organ donation.

I sent a letter, a real paper letter, to the White House last week, attention to Press Secretary Tony Snow. I am sure it will be piled with the other 3,000 fan letters he gets. But I wished him well in his current battle with cancer and I also challenged him to use this as a platform for organ donation. Why him? Why not! His cancer has spread to his liver and I thought I could use that as a lead in. While I would never expect a call or reply from Mr. Snow, I have always been one to leave a glimmer, a thread, a distant light, of hope available.

Quote Of The Day

"Easily amused people are always happy. Even if they are lost in the brightly colored sock aisle at walmart." - S. Beckwith

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Learning every day

Here in Western PA the streams look dead. No fish, no greens. Nothing. It's so sad compared to the clean rivers of Washington. Well, except the Yakima. That one is a bit muddy in teh Columbia Basin area.

Anyway.....I found this description that helps clarify why the streams in this area are what they are. I acquired this info from SwampWalker14 a GeoCacher.

"This cache is located at an active Acid Mine Drainage treatment system called JB2. You are probably wondering what Acid Mine Drainage is. Acid Mine Drainage (or AMD) is contaminated water runoff from old coal mines, either strip mines or underground mines. When a mine is abandoned, water collects and floods the mine. When the coal-bearing rock is exposed to air and water, the oxidation of metal sulfides, often pyrite, within the surrounding rock creates acidity. The AMD, or mine water, is high in acidity and dissolved metals like iron and aluminum. The metals stay dissolved in the AMD water until the pH rises to a level where precipitation can occur. This makes AMD water look like a red, orange, or even a yellowish color. If the AMD contains lots of dissolved aluminum, the water will look pale blue like spilled milk. AMD is a big problem in western Pennsylvania because it smothers the tiny creatures called macroinvertebrates that fish need to live. AMD spoils people's drinking water, stains everything it touches and smells like rotten eggs. AMD pollution can kill all the life in a stream.
The JB2 Treatment System treats AMD flowing into Raccoon Creek from an old underground mine. This treatment system works by settling out (or precipitating) the AMD water in a large, shallow basin filled with high pH limestone. The shallow basin exposes the AMD to air. The air makes the dissolved iron settle out onto the limestone bottom. The limestone raises the pH and reduces the acidity of the water. This filters most of the iron out of the water. Next it flows over a dam where more air mixes through the water, and into a bed of larger limestone. This cleans the water even more. Then the water passes under Joffre-Cherry Valley Road to another settling pond where even more iron drops out. The JB2 Treatment System removes over 15 tons of iron, 2 tons of aluminum, and 105 tons of acidity from Raccoon Creek every year.
This cache is off of Joffre Cherry Valley Road. The treatment system is on both sides of the road. There is a gravel parking lot you can use. There are no trespassing signs on the wooden fences surrounding the ponds. But I have land owner permission to place the geocache here. If you would like to look at the ponds please stay on the outside of the fence. This is a simple cache to find. I hope this will teach you a little about the problem with Acid Mine Drainage. There are brochures in the cache about the Raccoon Creek Watershed Association and the Independence Conservancy. These are volunteer organizations whose members working hard to clean up Raccoon Creek."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

1st Transplantiversary

Josh http://joshcarpenter.blogspot.com celebrated his own 1st transplantiversary on the 26th.Read his account of how it went.

Data correction

I posted on Thursday March 15, 2007 that a person dies every 17 minutes waiting for an organ.

That was wrong.

The current national average is 17 die every DAY. Not one every 17 minutes.

What's the difference?

Well, 17 per day equals 6,205 per year. (The number used varies from 15 to 18, with most using 17 per day).

One every 17 minutes would equal 30,917 per year. (Given 60 minutes to an hour, 1440 per day, 525,600 minutes per year).

No one corrected me on this error. I caught it myself. So that means that:
1) No one actually looks at the info I post.
2) The info I post is easily accepted as fact because I am a damn intelligent and very honest person.
3) The dismal web hits I am actually counting are bots and don't know data from errata.
4) I am the only one actually reading the details of this blog.
5) All of the above.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Numbers for the week

I watched the numbers on OPTN go from 95, 599 most of the day to 95,611 between 5:00pm and 5:12pm. It was kind of weird.

April is Organ Donation month.

I emailed a contact from a local organization that is "one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPO) in the United States". I had heard from one of the representatives well over a month ago and they had offered to send me some trinkets that I could use to give to the subjects of my interviews and for my project. Even after two follow up emails, I haven't received anything. While the trinkets are not that important, I was just really excited that at one point, the potential for recognition and the very real possibility of legitimacy was just over the horizon for the One-A-Day-2007 project.

Unfortunately it's just one of the few things that have failed to materialize lately. I was also to have been invited to a staff meeting for a similar purpose, but since there hasn't been any follow ups from that organizations, it too will fall to the side.

I would like to think that everyone is gearing up for April and the organ donation month. But I seriously doubt it.

A return to lucidity

We went shopping this weekend for the birthday of a current visitor. The recipient was dragged along to the mall and I was actually able to talk and ask a few questions. Since most of the conversation was just conversation, I don't remember a lot of the details of what was said. Then again, I had a specific question I wanted to ask and the rest was more or less verbal fodder.

I wanted to know if he was happy that he made the decision to go ahead with the transplant. His response was "yes". The reality was that it happened to him very fast. A phone call, then admittance to the hospital and hours later up on the guerney to the operating room.

He did say he doesn't remember anything (or at the most, very little) from the time he went to the operating room until he went to the 12th floor. That was several days after the surgery. Even though we all had short conversations with him, he doesn't remember any of it. From the time he arrived on the 12th [floor], then memories come back to him but covered in some haze. After he had been there a few days, it becomes more clear until his move to physical therapy. Then it's business as usual since he's been home.

Right now, there is some major fluid retention in his left hand. The same hand (and three fingers) that has been affected by the damaged nerve during a operating room procedure. His legs and feet swell quite a bit too. But even though those are obvious issues, he says he feels better every day. We just need to figure out why the swelling is happening and how to prevent it and to make sure it doesn't turn worse.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Quote Of The Day

"Reading quizzes were easy. Finding a socially acceptable table in the cafeteria was hard. Make a game show about that." - Mary Beth Ellis In an article about the show "Are you smarter than a fifth grader" on MSNBC.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I have been wrong before

No one likes to be wrong. Few admit it when it happens. I am one of those few.

When the recipient was undergoing the transplant, two family members came to visit and help. I kept saying that we will need the help more after the surgery and when the recipient goes home.

So here we are, a month post surgery and I can say "I was wrong".

He is doing very well from the accounts I have heard. There is a nurse that comes weekly to check on things and there also a next door neighbor with a medical background. The biggest issue is still blood sugars/insulin and the fingers of the left hand. Once those are in check, then I think things can go much better.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Med updates

It sounds like the recipient is doing so well the doctors said to come in once a week for tests. It started out on Monday and Friday every week but now it's only Friday. The biggest hurdle to overcome now is the diabetes and working on the occupational therapy exercises to regain the movement in the fingers of the left hand.

I don't have details, but I will try to get some this week.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A new high

It looks like the U.S. hit a new high today regarding the number of people waiting for organs. With that in mind, April is National Donate Life month. I have a permalink on the right nav bar.

Waiting list candidates as of today 4:45pm
All 95,502
Kidney 70,545
Pancreas 1,745
Kidney/Pancreas 2,373
Liver 16,944
Intestine 232
Heart 2,819
Lung 2,820
Heart/Lung 124
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - December 2006
Total 28,926
Deceased Donor 22,200
Living Donor 6,726
Based on OPTN data as of 03/09/2007

Donors recovered January - December 2006
Total 14,748
Deceased Donor 8,022
Living Donor 6,726
Based on OPTN data as of 03/09/2007

You can't get to heaven in an armored car

On the iPod:
Direct Current was the band and "I Believe" was their CD. They were a Christian band from the early 90's and are no longer performing together, but I listen to their only CD often. Right now, the song "Show me the way" is playing. My favorites are "I Believe" and "It is finished" which has great message and absolutely incredible vocals. It gives me chills when I listen to it. I know each of them personally, but only keep in touch with one of them, the lead singer.

"....he chose to forgive..." "....He spoke His final words....it is finished....."

Close but no cigar

Over the week in NC talked to several people about organ donation. Nearly all of them were literally seconds or just a few minutes. I handed out a few cards and in a few circumstances, I was able to actually hold a conversation with someone.

The young woman at the Philly airport didn't transpire. I was at the airport, but my flight from RDU was late getting there and we were of course late leaving. Thus, late getting to Philly. I was at the PHI airport, terminal "D". Except the I arrived there just after 5:00pm so she may have left by then. I looked down to where we met on Monday, I didn't see the kiosk/table she was at. So I just got into line for my flight back to PIT.

That flight was late too.....then once we got on board, the pilot said the plane had to be powered fully down and according to the FAA passengers cannot be on board when that happens. For me, it's all good. For others, it was ALL bad. No one really had a cow.

When we re boarded about 20 minutes later, the younger/high school passengers too it upon them to try and sit in the "first class" row. But this airline doesn't have a first class. Me...I walked straight to the LAST row, window seat.

During the time we were waiting to takeoff and the other passengers to board, I struck up a conversation with others around me.

((My dilemma: I want to be accurate without divulging the careers of these people))

We talked and discussed organ donation and who in my life had received a liver recently. They allowed me to take pictures but had to recant after a short conversation. We did have a good talk and although the loss of the images was a personal disappointment, the overall goal of the Organ Donation Awareness project is AWARENESS. The portraits are secondary.

Med updates

I have been remiss in my updates for the recipient.

He was released from the UPMC system last week, Friday 3/9/07 (I hope that's the right date). He was home over the weekend and went back for some blood tests Mon 3/12/07. The results of those tests allowed him to stop taking a few medications. His blood (diabetes) is out of whack so he must test his blood often. Prior to the surgery and new liver, he was able to control it with his eating habits, if you can call it control....LOL

This morning my daughter updated me with her version of his health and well being, "he's doing awesome!" she told me.

Today he had another checkup and it resulted in a few more medications being removed from his daily regimen. The fewer the better right?

As of last night, the only leaking he had was from the incision under his arm. I don't have an update regarding the three fingers on his left hand. So I will assume they are better but not 100%.

Punxatawny Phil ought to be skinned

He was dead wrong for us in his own "hood".

Here is our forecast:
Allegheny County

Today: Snow showers with the potential for 2 to 4 inches in most regions with higher totals in the Laurel Highlands and near I-80. High 35. Wind NE 10-20 mph.

Tonight: Chance of snow with up to an inch possible. Low 23. Wind N/NW 5-15 mph.

St. Patrick’s Day: Mostly cloudy and with a chance of snow. Little additional accumulation. High 35. Wind NW 10-20 mph.

Saturday night: A chance of flurries. Low 20.

Punxatawny Phil ought to be skinned

He was dead wrong for us in his own "hood".

Here is our forecast:
Allegheny County

Today: Snow showers with the potential for 2 to 4 inches in most regions with higher totals in the Laurel Highlands and near I-80. High 35. Wind NE 10-20 mph.

Tonight: Chance of snow with up to an inch possible. Low 23. Wind N/NW 5-15 mph.

St. Patrick’s Day: Mostly cloudy and with a chance of snow. Little additional accumulation. High 35. Wind NW 10-20 mph.

Saturday night: A chance of flurries. Low 20.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Up against the window

Up against the window, I have a good view of people in the A terminal. To my left, is a young man, perhaps in his early 20’s reading a book. Across from me is an Asian couple sharing a DVD on a laptop. The man is much more entertained by the movie then his companion. He regularly jumps and giggles to himself as the scenes change. She….is…. unmoved. Slightly in front and to my left is another couple. They are Caucasian. She with a brown open crochet type covering on. Not quite a sweater, but not a doily. It’s dark brown and matches her leather sandals quite nicely. He in tennis shoes like most of the men in the terminal. Next to them a few empty seats down is a trio of men. One looks to be the “leader”. I see him as a former football player with not enough talent but plenty of enthusiasm. His hair is short and graying. He wears a checkered yellow shirt tucked smartly into his khaki Dockers. He probably coaches his son’s baseball team now. He can’t sit for long always getting up and checking the sports scores.

When I follow someone with my eyes, watching them for any clue to their current situation. Is it business or pleasure? I can only imagine where they have been. What they are doing and where they are going.

The reality of my fear is truly unfounded. While I may have had a few people turn me down for a picture. Nearly everyone will listen to me for a few seconds to several minutes of my chatter about organ donation. No one has any idea about the number of people that are waiting for an organ. They don’t consider that one person will die every 17 minutes waiting for an organ. One that will not arrive. I don’t know what caused the death of the patient the first day the recipient was in ICU. It could have been a sickness, accident or natural causes. I remember seeing the distress on their faces. I could almost feel it.

DATA CORRECTION [I erroneously posted that "one person dies every 17 minutes". The actual accepted number is "17 people die every day".]
What's the difference? At 17 per day = 6,205 deaths. If it were one every 17 minutes, there would be 30, 917 per year.

All around me wandering in and out of empty blue vinyl seats are people coming or going. There are so many stories that are waiting to be told. A few months ago, I would have called it a “target rich” environment. But now, I am leery to approach a subject in an airport. Mostly because of no way to easily escape. At the mall, I can head out a door to the parking lot. In a book store, I can duck into another aisle filled with fiction or Harlequin books. In the airport. Not so easy to disappear.

To my right is a younger woman with a large diamond wedding ring. It looks to be a princess cut set in white gold. Simple design but pretty nice. It still shines so she probably hasn’t been married too long.

In most public places, people tend to put barriers between themselves and others. Separating us from “them”. Normally it’s distance. In an airport, it’s seats. On my left is the young man two empty seats (one with my camera and laptop bog on it) then myself. To my right are two more seats and the young woman. She too, has a bag on one of the two seats. So between the three of us there are seven seats with 5 taken up. Psychologically, no one will sit in between us. There really is only one seat. Sure, we can move our bags, but we won’t. They are our barriers. The protective cocoon we put up.

To the young woman’s right are two college age guys. They are sitting in the two seats immediately next to her. I can see her discomfort. She ahs made “innocent” glances their way to see if she approves of their proximity. Getting up and moving to another seat would be rude. Something that’s probably not acceptable here in the south. But yet, these two young men got up and moved to the area the trio was occupying. Now the woman is alone in her small space. When two of the trio return, there will be a dilemma. Sit next to other “men” or remain standing and wait for another set of seats to open.

The “leader“of the trio has returned. He’s standing now. One of his colleagues has his own bags on one of the seats and if he were to sit next to it, he would violate the “man law” of sitting too close.

Being up against the window is entertaining to say the least.