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wild rosebush 1 - Poops 0
The last "must do" yard chore around here is cutting down the asparagus in preparation for next spring's bounty. The bed is located next to a barbed wire fence row that surrounds the pasture where the horses hang out and do their lazy imitation. Until about July, I manage to keep the wild stuff fairly well in check, but by then the ferns are so tall that I can't get around 'em much so the climbing wild roses and poke take over on the pasture side until I get out there around NOW to cut the mess down. What a tangled bunch of airy little ferns wound up with thorny branches. Yikes..my hands and arms look like I've been picking blackberries or something! If the wind dies down..there WILL be an asparagus burnin' going on. Better than fireworks with all that nitrogen feeding the blaze.

Today is, of course, a holy day in the Volunteer state as the Vols take on the LSU Tigers for the SEC championship and a Sugar Bowl berth. I can already hear strains of "Rocky Top" wafting on the breeze out there ;) Go Vols! Love ya...mean it.

The day job was the usual steady stream of sick folks being poked with needles and diagnosed with the results of those blood tests. You would be astounded at the sheer volume of precision quality control and checks and balances that go into generating one clinical lab result like a potassium level. Many of the tests requested are not performed in-house due to their complexity and these are shipped by courier to a reference lab in another city. Today we drew a blood specimen on a newborn for a chromosome analysis to determine if the infant has Down's syndrome. We gave blood to a dying AIDS patient. We heard the obnoxious buzz of a tube falling from the pneumatic system that transports specimens drawn by nurses in the ER to the lab. We managed to get a small amount of blood from a 93 year old lady who doesn't know that she's in this world to check the level of her IV antibiotic for toxicity. All behind the scenes where folks don't have a clue what's going on. It's amazing. To most patients, everybody who works in a hospital is either a nurse or a doctor. The allied health fields are largely taken for granted which is a major contributor to burnout....lack of professional recognition.

How many of ya'll donate blood on a regular basis? Fortunately, our blood supplier manages to keep us adequately stocked because it is a rural market with no big usage problems like places where liver transplants are performed and gunshot wounds are everyday's business. An amazingly miniscule 5% of the population of this country donates blood to meet the blood needs for the other 95%. Like 43% of the population, I am O positive which means that I can ONLY get type O blood, either positive or negative. Those poor souls with O negative can only get O negative. Needless to say, we treat it like liquid gold.

Do me a favor and roll up your sleeve just one time for the Poopster. Red cells can be given every 56 days. Platelets and plasma can be given more often because they are removed by a process called apheresis where the part that is needed is removed from the blood through a machine that resembles a dialysis get-up but the red cells are returned to the donor. All you're losing is the water part of your blood! Giving blood is something that most folks don't think about until they or someone they love needs a transfusion. Once you're there though, it's hard to forget the feeling of depending on someone else's selflessness in giving of themselves anonymously.

No tree yet. Still savoring the anticipation of a slow roll-out of faith through Advent to Epiphany. Some things never change.

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