Yesterday I went to visit the grandparents of a very good friend of mine. I have known these people for many years, and they have always welcomed me into their home with open arms; we even stayed with them for a week back when we were 17. They were pretty brave!
As many people are as they inch closer to their 90s, the grandparents are stricken with Alzheimer’s. My friend warned me that they may be “different” from the last time I saw them, as the disease had progressed significantly. When I was there they asked where I was in life now (I believe the wording was something along the lines of “So what on earth are you up to now?”!). I told them that I was in university and that I would be graduating this coming May, and they asked how long it was that I had been in university. I responded with “Too long”, and the grandfather, who always was a man of few words, said something that really touched me; “You must have a very benevolent family”. Well, I’m here to say that I certainly do; I’ve put all of them through hell the past number of years, both personally and financially…and it took a 90-year old man to make me realize it. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Now, Canadian Blood Services has never said so much to me (I still call it the red Cross sometimes…oops!), but I know they do. You see, my blood type is O-, or “O-negative”. I could go on and on about an explanation from a scientific standpoint, but this is a pretty good explanation. Basically, it means that my blood can be given to anybody, regardless of that individual’s blood type.
The first time I went to donate blood, it was quite the experience. I had heard about the rigorous questionnaire they put upon you, which in my opinion is a great idea; it protects us all from catching a disease from someone with less than honorable intentions. I answered the relationship and “prior activities” section, and then the nurse asked the usually fairly simple “Which countries have you visited in the past 5 years?”. This was an interesting one, as at the time, in the previous 5 years, I had been to:
- 2003: Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia (in transit) Poland, and England
- 2004: Hawaii (yes, I know it’s a US state, but they have different rules on agriculture and such things)
- 2005: England, France, Italy and Germany
- 2006: Bahamas, St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands), Puerto Rico, Haiti, China, and Hong Kong
The poor woman’s eyes nearly bugged out, and I explained to her that I had a friend in the travel industry and that we had taken all these trips together. There actually were a couple “flags” put on my file due to some areas in China and the Caribbean that I had been to. They did take my blood, though, and I will be donating in the near future as my travel has been put on hold while I finish school! Stay tuned, though…there are sometimes excellent last-minute deals that my travel companion is able to sniff out…
This is likely old news to some, but along with shuttering the production of blue-colored Smarties, they have taken away the green ones as well!!! I opened a pack today and noticed the proliferation of pink, yellow, brown and orange, and the absence of blue and green.
While I appreciate the “reasoning” given for this change (see http://www.nestle.ca/en/articles/general_food_information/Smarties_No_Artificial_Colours.htm), I think that we should have the choice of what we put into our mouths. Putting children’s needs ahead of adults seems a bit ridiculous to me, although I suppose marketing to “panic moms” is good business sense (I guess that Dads don’t choose what treats their kids indulge in, according to Nestle). We have to protect the children…and I want my blue Smarties back!!!