Monday, March 05, 2007

In the heart of a nation

Here I am in Omaha Nebraska. This is what I would call a little big city. It covers a lot of area, but when you drive around, it has a homey feel to it. Everyone here is incredibly polite and patient. I think the farther west one goes, the more patience there is to be had. I am definately not used to driving the speed limit. EVERYWHERE. So if you come to Omaha, don't be in a hurry, the roads are full of farmers that are kind of used to not getting anywhere very fast. And I mean that in a good way.

I ate at a steak place tonight that was DELICIOUS. Very clean and I think fair priced. Well for one anyway. for a family of four it could get spendy. I didn't look over the menu much becuase I saw what I wanted right away. If you wanted meat, this was a good place to eat.

My waitress was named "M". Well, it wasn't really, but for the purpose of the blog it is. (You know I don't ID anyone). We chatted a decent amount, and I wanted to talk more, but she was working and I do talk tooooooo much. ((I am starting to recognize that too)).

After my check was paid, I offered her a business card about the One-A-Day-2007 organ donation awareness project and I bluntly asked if she was an organ donor. Normally I try to ease into that. This time I just felt I should put it all out there. She is. And I continued to ask what helped her make that decision.

She wasn't sure. But it seems to be the right thing to do she told me. Later she mentioned that she was nervous about the first time she had to make that decision on her first drivers license.

We talked a little more and I mentioned my preference to taking action sports pictures to portraits. "This project and the portraits are very difficult for me" I went on to say. But the Awareness project is about the conversations about organ donation. The portraits are secondary.

I think, when she asked if I wanted to do more portraits, I may have missed an opportunity. I was too damn busy talking to realize that until after I left. I may have been able to get a picture of her, but I just plain missed it.

That is one if the job hazards per se. I don't get a second chance. I have one, single moment in time to determine the possibility in a complete stranger and make the request to take their portrait. It's truly a shame because some of these people I meet are an incredible joy to talk with. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to spend an hour shooting pictures. When I travel there is zero chance to ever meet this person again. But the reality is that I don't know if many of the people I talk to about the project ever actually visit the web site. Everyone says they will, but I RARELY hear from them if they do visit. I don't have any way of tracking visitors other then by the counter on the page. It would probably knock me out of my shoes if someone emailed or called and said "hey, I want you to come take my picture".

I mean really, that would make me so damn happy I wouldn't be able to stand it. It's a pipe dream, I know. But in order to achieve your gols, you have to dream right?

"M" had one of those faces that I could imagine in a painting. She had a great face. With her great smile, dimples and great teeth. I think she had straight hair and really cool glasses. It all looked....well, picture perfect. I love looking at peoples hair because of the way it can frame a persons face. It doesn'tmatter if it's short, long, red, white or brown. I am an equal opportunity photographer. I just like taking pictures of all people. I spend all my waking time looking at people and I imagine how they would look a certain way, or in a certain light. I guess it's a sickness. LOL, but I enjoy it.

As we were talking about other small talk, I mentioned that she reminds me of what I think my daughter will look like when she grows up. Except the hair. Then again, my daughter wants to color her hair, so it could end up being a different color than it is now. LOL

Anyway, I got to share my story of 'my' attempt to be an organ donor and the status of the recipient. I also shared the numbers, which I have below for you all.

This weeks numbers from OPTN.
Waiting list candidates as of today 10:30pm
All 95,223
Kidney 70,311
Pancreas 1,747
Kidney/Pancreas 2,394
Liver 16,931
Intestine 230
Heart 2,813
Lung 2,810
Heart/Lung 131
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - November 2006
Total 26,690
Deceased Donor 20,492
Living Donor 6,198
Based on OPTN data as of 02/23/2007

Donors recovered January - November 2006
Total 13,582
Deceased Donor 7,386
Living Donor 6,196
Based on OPTN data as of 02/23/2007

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