Thursday, June 21, 2007

It has been

*all pics courtesy of my sister amy_c on flickr

One hell of a week. I won't even lie! I am relieved it is Thursday and that in about 24 hours I will be leaving for this place:
Well my sister and I have been needing to get our boating license in NH for over a year now. It's something we totally kept putting off until we buckled down and decided that we'd take the test on June 23. The thing is that even though we live in MA, our boats are registered in NH, our boats spend more than 30 consecutive days in NH waters, and it appears, though no one really spells out the rules for you, that you need to take the proctored Safe Boater Education Certificate Exam in NH. We realized that Gilford is only about 30 minutes or so from the island and that we'd head up this weekend and take the exam.

On Monday, I called my grandma to make arrangements and told her I wanted to bring my kayak. She's like "helll to the no" in so many words. See, she had rotator cuff surgery and is working one-handed and absolutely positively under no circumstances can she use her bum arm. NONE. So naturally my grandpa is a bit nervous about maneuvering the boat with only one set of hands, and they felt that if I had a kayak up there holding me down, my hands would be too busy to help. I didn't feel this way and was totally disappointed that I couldn't bring my new fabulous pink boat, but whatever, you're not exactly gonna go against your grandma, and I'm an adult, I can handle the disappointment. I even vowed to Jam that I would start taking my kayak out once a week to be sure it gets use and researched good paddling spots on the South Shore. Case closed.

Tuesday my grandma calls me at work. Which means, of course, that she called my mother for the number, because she definitely doesn't have my work number. She says "you're bringing your kayak because I disappointed you by telling you couldn't" I'm sitting at my desk thinking "seriously? we're talking about an inanimate object here" I said "no no grandma, so not a big deal I don't need it" "NO" she said "You're taking it!!" Again, you can't fight with this woman. "Of course," she said "this means we'll be leaving Friday morning instead of Thursday afternoon" Bummer, I thought, I've rearranged everything to accommodate a Thursday departure. Oh well. Ok I agreed. Case closed? Maybe?

Since I knew I would be leaving Friday and would now be able to work a good part of the day on Thursday, I decided to leave work on Tuesday around 4. I figured I'd get home, go for a run, and work on a paper that had been looming over my head. As I exited the subway, I saw a baby bird lying on the cement in the stairwell. Sad, I thought. Then it moved. Ohhhh I thought, running away. I can't stand seeing helpless things suffer, and the fact that hundreds of people were tromping by made it worse. It's probably half dead I thought. I sat in my car for a second and of course, because I am soft-hearted and a sap, grabbed a roll of paper towels, the only supplies I had appropriate for transporting a baby bird, and called my sister for directions to the New England Wildlife Center. When I got to the bird I did a test: I turned it upright to see if it would fight to stand or just flop over. This is in no way scientific really, but a bird never voluntarily lies on its back, and if this baby flopped over on its back, well, it's probably too far gone for help. I righted the barely feathered eyes still closed creature and it stood and fought to move. Ok, little guy, I thought, we''ll get you some help. I looked to put it back in the nest because honestly, taking a baby bird from its nest is probably the single worst thing you can do for it. No nest in sight. It must've fallen from a nest in the rafters 8 feet above my head. Dammit. I wrapped the small body in paper towels and set off for the wildlife center.....which was closed to new admits when I got there. WHO DOES THAT??!! YOU'RE A WILDLIFE HOSPITAL. Suddenly I found myself saddled with the responsibility of a baby bird that requires food every 20 minutes. I hate to admit it, but I checked the bird all the way home to see if it was still breathing, because I knew I could do very little for it, and at the very least, if it died in my car at least it was warm and calm and on a soft bed of paper towels.

It survived to my house and I nestled it in a box from with a piece of Hello Kitty flannel covering it. I jacked up my heating pad (it's really weak) and starting mashing cheerios for the thing. I also put some eggs on to boil, because I knew in a pinch that mashed yolk, high protein cereal with a little warm water fed in small bits is a good substitute food. I realized that I'd have to keep the bird alive until the hospital accepted new admits, til Thursday. I found an old syringe I used for shooting water at my teeth when I had my wisdom teeth out and cut off the skinny part so I was left with a wider syringe curved a bit like a beak. Thing went well at first. I knew that I had to get the food in a certain place - I learned this from working at Foster Parrots and learning about the baby bird bill they're trying to get passed, and how important it is to get food in the crop so the baby doesn't aspirate. I knew I was getting the food down the right place because the baby kept begging and its little crop filled. It even started to open one eye. It bit me twice and bit on the syringe, taking bits of food. Then without any warning or sign of distress, its head dropped down and it went still. Dead. I said to my sister "Oh my GOD I just killed it." Amy, who is a tough girl on the outside, but sensitive on the inside (she bought me two t-shirts from cause my week was going badly!) said "Allison you did not kill this bird. It was going to die anyways, unless you took it to the wildlife center, and those jerks were closed." My mother and father, when they came home and told the story, assured me that the bird was too small to leave its mother. I knew these things, but still I felt so so bad, bad enough that when Amy told me that I couldn't just throw the bird outside, I had to bury it, that I went and go the shovel. Then I sat down to write my paper.

So I turned in my paper last night, and I have to admit, though it was written during a slightly stressful period, was kickin'. I was in a good mood all the way home, listening to a cd I burned to compensate for the busted iPod. Then I got home and had a chat from Ame and realized there's all kinds of family bullsh*t drama going down, some of which revolves around me and this stupidf*ckingkayak. First I say "FINE I WON'T BRING IT!" Then I'm like "but Grandma told me" Ultimately this leads to me getting rageful and frustrated because I don't know what to do!!! My mom is pissed at me for being upset about wanting to bring my boat, my grandma is upset because she "disappointed me" she says, though she's really just upset because her arm is busted up and she can't use it, but my mom is pissed that I "made" my grandma upset!! WTF WTF WTF I need non-family opinion. I consulted my main man, Jamaal. He graciously listened to the whole story, including major flippage and said "talk to your grandma, she's the one you need to go to." This put me at ease. Though I figured I wouldn't be able to get a straight answer from the woman, I could at least defray the drama.

Wouldn't you know it, there was divine intervention which actually eliminates the problem. I went to give platelets this morning at 7:30. A pheresis tech I really like had me - she's been setting me up for platelets for 2 years now and knows my veins and everything. So I settle in the donation lounge chair with my warm blanket at "Good Morning America" and wait to get stabbed. Well the needle KILLED when she did it. Usually I'm a soldier and sit there silently, but today I went "woooooah!" "I'm sorry I'm sorry!!" she says. We both look to the blood draw tubing, and it's empty and dry. Missed the vein. "Oh damn!" she says. She takes the needle out partway and restabs. Holy Jesus it hurt like a mofo. "You ok?" she asks. I have a pretty high pain threshold, and this was maybe like a 3 on the 1-10 pain scale, well on MY 1-10 pain scale. No biggie. The blood fills the tubing and the machine starts drawing it out and and filtering the blood. The tech says "are you in any pain??" Compared to before, not really, I think. "No nothing too bad" She turned the computer screen towards me and says "just wondering because this thing is barely drawing blood. though you did have low blood pressure this morning, 100/58" Suddenly, the machine is ready to recycle and send me back my red blood cells, sans platelets. "OH MY GOD" I say as I feel pretty much one of the worst feelings I've ever felt. My arm is burning and swelling and the needle site is a lovely iodine-covered blue purple - the needle went right through my vein, and now the blood was being sent into the great beyond in my arm. "Oh JESUS!" says the tech, untaping the tubing from my arm and removing the needle as fast as she can. She jams gauze on my arm and applies pressure, sits me up and calls another tech. He runs over to stop the machine, and gets the air out of it (you know, so I don't have an embolism!) and they restab me in the right arm instead. It feels soooo much better. I relax.

Then it dawns on me: I won't be able to lift anything heavy over my a kayak
SO in one slightly dramatica moment at the blood donor center, almost all family drama is completely resolved. While I may want to bring up my kayak, I physically can't, and without my dad or even my sister there to help, I am S.O.L cause I can't lift the thing and I also can't leave it parked in the wooded lot at the marina because it will absolutely disappear. Problems completely solved. It's incredible how the world works sometimes, isn't it?


Rachel said...

Okay, haven't been here for a while, so I'm making random comments-- hope you don't mind. Is this the wildlife place in Weymouth? I read somewhere they are only open a few days a week. I'm sorry.
2. Isn't there a crisis every time you give platelets? Or do you give so much that statistically it isn't that high a blood exlposion/bad needle stabbing rate? Seriously, is there another place you can do it?
Lots of love and these random sort of mean-sounding comments,

Al said...

Hey Rach

Yup it's in Weymouth - on the website it doesn't mention it's only open for new admits a limited time, so that's really annoying! LOL no there's never been a crisis when I've given platelets, usually they just scare the crap out of me by telling me that my platelets are high. I'm a model platelet donor, I've got huge veins and that makes the collection process pretty speedy. I go every 2 weeks usually and this was the first time I've ever had an issue with the process - I mean when your job is a pheresis tech you pretty much have to do it right every single time, so naturally I was surprised at the glitch, though I'm sure it must happen to other people with small veins! Anyways, I'll stick with the blood donor center here, they give me prizes for donating. Today I got two scratch tickets. Losing, but still- free stuff!!!

So my battery died the day you called and said you saw a beaver. Wow! I suppose I should just email you about this.... <3 ALLISON

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I use my email like a blog and your comments section like my own personal email. :)
For example: PS-- After I called you I saw a heron eat a fish!

Al said...

NO WAY! So cool!!!!