Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seven Pounds

Scott and I didn't know what to do with ourselves this weekend. We've spent the last couple of weekends working in the yard and various other house projects. We have an open house (hopefully) NEXT sunday, so I'm sure we'll spend next weekend getting ready for that.

Anyway, we rented two movies and I loved both of them. Friday night we watched "Slumdog Millionare". I was a little wary of it because I don't usually like the movies that are "hyped" during Oscar season, but this one was worth a watch. Very inspirational and had a little bit of a "kharma" feel to it. My advice: Watch it with subtitles. Even though they speak English throughout, it can be hard to understand them.

Next we watched "Seven Pounds." This movie was recommended to me, and now I understand why. It goes perfectly with all my organ donation/organ transplantation topics. That's all I will give away. :) As Scott put it, "that movie really makes you think." Definitely worth a watch. Will Smith is amazing as usual. My advice : pay attention! It's confusing at first, but all comes together in the end.

In other news, I'm in LOVE with a health food/protein bar. I usually hate them and would rather eat dirt than these products that my husband lives on. He's always trying to get me to eat healthier and try these "healthy" protein bars. We both eat on the run a lot, he just makes much healthier choices than I do. :) If you are like me, you may like the Kashi ROLL protein/fiber bars. Try the Oatmeal Walnut. YUM. I had one for dinner tonight.
That's my random post for the week. Has anyone seen these movies? What did you think? If you watch them because I recommended them, let me know what you think. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Controversial Subject

The topic of organ donation and transplantion is shrouded in controversy. I thought I would touch on a few of these topics over the next few blog posts. And I hope to do it as objectively as I can considering my situation and my feelings about organ donation.

There is a lot of discussion in the "transplant" community about the supply and demand issues with organ donation. The demand obviously outpaces supply and it always will with the current system. There are lots of people smarter than me out there trying to figure out new and innovative ways to deal with this grower problem. Presumed Consent, while a controversial subject, is one of these options to help with the growing need for more organs.

Presumed Consent is an "opt-out" model for organ donations, rather than the United States' current voluntary "opt-in" (Informed Consent) system (meaning you'd automatically be enrolled as an organ donor unless you specifically decided to opt-out.) Presumed Consent changes the nature of the consumer’s decision. It’s harder for consumers to actively choose not to help others in need than to passively let the opportunity to help slip by.

Presumed Consent for organ donations already exists in nine countries, including Austria, France, Spain, Sweden, and Italy (and is being considered in several others, including Great Britain.) In the “soft” opt-out system used by Spain and France, among others, you’re considered a donor unless you’ve instructed otherwise, but your family can refuse to allow the organ donation when you die. In the “hard” opt-out version, which exists in Austria, your family cannot say no. Several States in the United States are actually considering legislation to create an "opt-out" system.

It’s not likely that America would buy into to a “hard” opt-out system. If a Presumed Consent bill passed, it would probably allow a deceased’s family to veto organ donations. And there would also be plenty of safeguards so that no one would accidentally become a donor through sheer oversight.

A 2005 study published in Transplant International looked at 10 countries with either Presumed or Informed Consent for organ donations, and concluded that opt-out doesn’t necessarily guarantee higher donation rates. Other studies suggest that health education expenditures, death rates from accidents, and process and logistical issues may play a greater role.

Still, something needs to be done to boost the number of organs available. According to The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, some 98,000 people in the US are on waiting lists for organs (including about 74,000 for kidneys, 16,000 for livers, and 2,700 for hearts). It’s estimated that every 18 minutes, a patient dies for lack of an available organ.
Educating the public about the importance of organ donation may be the most reasonable approach.

I am a lucky one- someone didn't have to die for me to receive an organ transplant. But I do know what it's like to receive a life-changing transplant. These are people who (in most cases) did nothing to deserve the hand they've been dealt. And they want to be productive members of society. I don't know that presumed consent is the answer, but I do know that SOMETHING needs to be done. You never know if you or someone you love could be on "the list" one day. Think about it. (For more information, see

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Birdie update

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. ~ Lou Holtz

The little birdies that have taken up residence in the wreath outside my front door are about to outgrow their nest. Below are the various stages:

Taken about two weeks ago: Naked little things with their eyes closed.

Taken about a week ago... Notice the wall of poop surrounding them

(that will be fun to clean up when they leave!

Taken this afternoon. They are getting so big they barely fit in their nest! Hopefully I can get some shots once they leave the nest in a couple of days!

They are so cute. I'm so glad I don't have to worry about them like I would if Gorbs was still around. Now I just have to worry about snakes getting them!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I love the dark, but I HATE nature, I HATE nature...

Hey guys,

Let's just say that I've had a little too much interaction with nature lately... first there was the coyote that killed my cat. Then we found the bird's nest in our wreath hanging on the front door. We also had a HUGE alligator snapping turtle crossing our street during the monstrous floods we've had lately.

So, should I be surprised that I walked into my kitchen after a hard day's work to find this (did I mention we live in the country?):

I tried to pick it up by its tail, but it took off under the fridge. I wound up calling one of our friends who lives nearby (big shout out to Greg Tapley, my hero!) and after about 45 minutes we finally outsmarted the snake and was able to throw it outside. What a day?! What's next?
By the way, I'll post an update on the little baby birdies that have hatched in the wreath later. They are so cute!
Bonus points for anyone who can name where the title of the blog post came from...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Practical things you can do to become an organ/tissue donor...

Here are some practical things YOU can do to become an organ and tissue donor or to promote donation.

Talk to your family now about your donation decision. Help your family understand your wish to be an organ and tissue donor before a crisis occurs. Then they will be prepared to serve as your advocate for donation.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April is a special month...

April is National Donate Life Month. 30 days to help save a life. Here are some things you can do. Life most things, education is key.

What to Do in April
Every day in April, people across the U.S. make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donors and to encourage more Americans to follow their fine example.

Make it known: I want to be a donor
Register with your State Donor Registry, if available.
Say YES to donation on your driver's license.
Tell your family, friends, physician, and faith leader that you want to be a donor.
Fill out and sign a donor card, have it witnessed, carry it with you.

Tell someone: The need is great and growing.
More than 98,000 people are in need of an organ for transplant.
Each day, about 77 people get the organ transplant that gives them a second chance, but 17 to 19 others die because they did not receive an organ transplant.
More than half the people on the waiting list for a donated organ are racial or ethnic minorities. Chances of getting a transplant increase if donor and recipient share the same racial/ethnic background.

Get involved: Become a donation advocate.
Encourage your company, association, union, or other organizations to which you may belong to join the Workplace Partnership for Life.
Promote and support work site donation campaigns.
Tell your local high school about Decision Donation, a school program that educates students about donation.
Participate in local National Donate Life Month events sponsored by your local organ procurement

You never know when YOU or someone you love may need a life saving organ transplant. Know the facts!