One of the unanticipated benefits of my triathlon training project has been the thinking/meditative time. While I’m running, riding or swimming, I’m also afforded the opportunity to think, ponder, notice.
This morning, I made a slightly hurried trip outside to ride my bike.The opportunities this time of year are somewhat meager, paralleling the meager light supply here in the northern hemisphere. If it’s warm enough, light enough, and I’m not at work, it could be time to go outside and ride. While riding, I was pondering today’s daily prompt, meager, and the above bit on light came to me.
Continuing my ride, I was reviewing my schedule. Next up: donating blood. I’ve donated many gallons, one pint at a time, during the past 45 years. Today’s appointment was spurred by the request of Susan Briscoe. I started following Susan’s blog, The Death Project, https://susanbriscoe.wordpress.com last summer when I started blogging. Susan has a rare and aggressive cancer, and she started this blog to chronicle her journey through this final segment of her life. I’ve very much enjoyed her willingness to share her journey and have been inspired the fullness of her living the time remaining to her.
For quite a while, Susan has done well, and she had a good summer, with many activities, connections with those dear to her and she’s been able to travel and visit with her sons who live overseas, thanks in part to excellent palliative care. Things are changing again, she’s less well, and her growing tumors are now causing internal bleeding. Because of this, she needed some blood transfusions this week, and her latest post was encouraging blood donations. I’d cancelled a previous scheduled donation last week due to another commitment, so this was a good reminder.
I went online and scheduled myself for 10 this morning. Arriving at the center, I did the usual check in, and re-answered all the questions there to ensure a safer blood supply. Then it was time for vital signs, etc. Body temperature, low, but acceptable. Height and weight, well within range. Blood count: a little low. Check the other finger: its fine. Blood pressure: too low. Take it again in 15 minutes (they wouldn’t let me do jumping jacks): Still too low. Deferred.
I’m a little disappointed and frustrated. I’ve had lowish blood pressure all my life, and I’ve donated many times without incident. My ego is slightly stung. And in the grand scheme of things, a meager blood pressure is nothing. I can show up again to donate in a few weeks, and if I have two cups instead of my usual one of morning coffee, my blood pressure will likely pass. Time to let that go, and be grateful for the life I have, with enough time some mornings that I can ride my bike and donate blood, and the health to support such activities.
When Susan received her diagnosis last spring, she knew the quantity of time remaining in her life was meager. Her approach to this time has given her a quality of life that appears to be anything but. I take inspiration from her approach and encourage you to do the same. I also encourage you to donate blood if you can, as you may make a non-meager contribution to another’s life.