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We Interrupt to Bring You: Human Leukocyte Antigen Types (HLA types)

Letter from BeTheMatch.orgTotally unrelated to writing, but deeply related to life.

Today I learned from the folks at BeTheMatch.org (I’m on the National Bone Marrow Registry) that I have a rare HLA type. This is the thing you want to match up well between patient and donor for a circulating blood cell or marrow donation. It’s a lot more particular than blood type, and it’s closely related to your ancestry, ethnicity, and heritage.

As a person who generally considers herself Irish-American, I was pretty surprised. (Trust me, there’s a lot of Irish-Americans out there.) I did my home cheek swab and joined up more out of support for a local leukemia patient than because I thought they’d need me. Apparently, I was wrong. I may not be needed very often, but if I am, I’m likely to be one of a very few matches

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the what-ifs right now. Personally, I know I’m fine with donating if I can help someone save their life. But what if I hadn’t happened to see that poster? I look at the articles about patients for whom there is no match yet in the entire registry, and I sure wish I’d joined sooner.

Want to know more, or considering your own cheek swab? BeTheMatch.org for facts, myths, medical guidelines, etc.

These Days

Moss on a concrete railingThese days, it’s been raining in Seattle, and I am:

These Days

These days, I am:

  • doing a lot of work on Wraptillion, with exciting results
  • getting ready for upcoming trips to Los Angeles and Philadelphia
  • also getting ready for taxes, sigh
  • really enjoying these white cyclamen and their one tiny fang per flower
  • reading Cat Girl’s Day Off (and really enjoying it too)
  • making a list of broken & unfinished writing projects and trying to figure out what to do with them
  • watching the chickens peck through ice and figure frost out (yes, they have thawed water, they just like to peck at things)
  • wishing I hadn’t left the sourdough starter out of the fridge for a week without feeding & aerating it (results = not good)
  • thinking about cabbage (no action yet)

Ready for 2013!

 

These Days

These days I am:

 

Experiments: Pineapple

Initial impulse: sore throat

Beg for (and receive!) a fresh, whole pineapple after remembering that pineapple is supposed to help with sore throats. Go back to sleep.

Specialized tools & equipment:

Find pineapple on counter 4 days later. Feel guilty. Consider pineapple. Locate pineapple auger. Note existence of new ratcheting model; regret that pineapple waits for no one. Set up workstation over sink (due to past lessons learned in pineapple juiciness). Whack top of pineapple off with large knife. Start pineapple auger. Note emerging pineapple mush, juice overflowing. Feel doubt, vague sense of past unresolved questions of efficiency. Wonder if big knife is really the better way to go. Secretly suspect these problems would not occur with new ratcheting model. Wonder if the auger is progressing or just mushing things around. Keep augering. Finally hit bottom (of pineapple). Try to tip juice out; dump top section of pineapple in sink. Deep breath. Remove auger, with core of pineapple. Realize no container was prepared for dripping, juicy pineapple on auger. Grab container while holding pineapple over sink. Note “SINK CRITICAL” for future experiments.

Halve pineapple shell and leave core intact for chickens. Place pineapple shell & core in chickens’ food scraps bowl.

Result: chickens unimpressed

5 minutes later: chickens still unimpressed. Further research needed.

Auxiliary experiments:

Consider growing pineapple top.

Pros: have never done this before; plants = good

Cons: lack of space near windows (because plants = good); lack of photographic evidence of happily growing pineapple plant in instructions

Decision: Regretfully compost pineapple top

Results of original experiment:

Pineapple delicious

Throat does feel a bit better

 

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