Sunday, August 24, 2014

Transplant


Somewhere under the immobilizer, ace wrap, bandages, and stitches—somewhere, in fact, under the skin, flesh, and bones—there is something going on that I have yet to wrap my head around. I am a man bordering on middle age (or solidly there, depending on how you calculate it), yet I now have some very young parts. The cartilage transplanted into my knee came from two separate donors. They are, and will remain to me, anonymous, but I know that they were children.

I thought I had come to grips with having cadaver parts placed within me. I am wondering if it was because I am “only” receiving cartilage that I initially felt like my involvement was peripheral to the donor’s true gifts (the big ones: heart, kidney, liver, etc.). A few spare parts for me? Not a big deal? I pictured nameless, faceless cadavers in medical school anatomy classes, all of them there by their own generous choice, but that’s not correct in this case, is it? By the very nature of my procedure, the donors had to be less than twelve years old—too young for the child to have made a legal decision to have his or her body used to donate organs and tissues. Someone else had to allow it. A mother. A father. Or, I suspect, perhaps both needed to provide permission?

Monday, July 21, 2014

GoDaddy terminated its blog service--so I've moved...

...and this free service is pretty nice! Who knew? For my inaugural free Blogger post, I will re-post a list of observations that got a good response on my previous blog:

My Observations at the Laconia Bike Rally, June 2014:

- Motorcycles can travel faster than heavy storm systems. When riding west to east, you seem to catch up to the rain no matter how long you stop to wait it out.
Corollary: When riding on a motorcycle in heavy rain, waterproof gloves are not waterproof. Neither are waterproof boots. Nor raingear.

​- New Hampshire is stingy with its speed limit signs. A 40 mph zone will go for miles without the occasional sign reconfirming the speed limit. I did note, however, that state troopers were willing to provide written reminders.

- If you wander a campground full of bikers at night, you will get pulled into campfire gatherings and forced to drink light beer.

- It wasn’t just adults at the rally; there were teenagers too. I saw seven of them, the only customers huddled around a booth on the main strip. The booth sold hand-blown glass drug paraphernalia. Gone were the days I was interested in the merchandise. I just wanted to slap the kids upside the head.

- Gandalf fell into the bowels of the mountain, fought with a demon, and emerged a white wizard. I rode a motorcycle up Mount Washington. Same difference.

- Waving the confederate flag and giving Neil Young the finger during “Sweet Home Alabama” may have been a socio-political statement by the southern band members of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the 1970s, but with only one original member left (and, they freely admitted, three northerners for replacements) it has morphed into sad pandering to redneck-wannabes. I heard Freebird from behind me as I walked back to my bike. RIP Ronnie; they’ve done nothing since you left.

- The “world's largest arcade,” which does have an original Donkey Kong, was not fibbing when they said they would turn off all power to the video games at 11 pm regardless of whether you are in the middle of a high-scoring game better than you remember playing thirty-odd years ago in the pizza joint on the corner.

- The entire state of New Hampshire is covered with a pervasive, constantly-replenishing layer of green pollen.

- Bikers love to impart lessons learned, like, “don’t ask for a domestic beer in Mexico and expect a Bud Light.”

​- Southern bikers were amazed at the friendly northerners. They were advised to stay away; we northerners would be awful and mean to them. This is what my new friend from Mississippi told me as we split a cab from the campground to the main strip to hang out until all hours. He was friendly. I was friendly. Everyone was friendly. But I already knew this much about bikers.