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Ice, frost, blood and livers

Frosty HairThings are still pretty frosty out here on the streets of Ottawa, including my hair.

Yesterday I fell down for the first time this year. Right downtown on the corner of O’Connor and Slater. I stepped on a patch of black ice and smashed into the sidewalk on my elbow and hip. You’d think my first reaction would be pain or shock or annoyance or something, but no. It was embarrassment. I don’t know why we feel embarrassed when we fall down. (HA! I’m saying “we” like you’re somehow complicit in it. Do you feel embarrassed when you fall down?)

Speaking of falling down, the Rideau Canal should be opening in a few days. It’s off to a bit of a late start this year because of global warming. I’ll be walking to Dow’s Lake and then skating to work downtown. And you know why? Because only a very small handful of people on the whole entire planet can skate to work, and I’m one of them. If you live in Venice, you oughta take a gondola to work occasionally, and if you live in Ottawa, you oughta skate to work once in awhile. Maybe I’ll rig up a Zoom-Cam on my forehead so those of you who can’t skate to work can experience it vicariously through me. (It’ll be even better for you, since you’ll be nice and warm and upright.)

I like to skate first thing in the morning. The ice is at its best then, all newly flooded and polished and uncracked and clean. As the day goes on, it develops ruts and holes and a layer of snow scrapings and pools of blood. I find the blood disturbing.

Speaking of blood, I read today that a nine-year-old Australian girl who received a liver transplant changed blood types spontantously afterwards and adopted the immune system of the liver donor. Apparently it’s the first time this has ever happened, and they’re trying to understand why so they can replicate the results. I always thought that the donor had to be the same blood type as the recipient, didn’t you? But apparently not. It works like this:

Blood Type Can receive liver from: Generally can donate liver to:
0 0 O, A, B, AB
A A, 0 A, AB
B B, 0 B, AB

I’m Type O neg, the universal donor. I’m inexplicably proud of it, too.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Check out the ESI’s sidebar for the Zoom Cam!

14 comments to Ice, frost, blood and livers

  • Heck, I’d love to skate to work… but the Rideau simply doesn’t go where I need it to! Lucky you. Enjoy!

    And yes. I feel embarrassed when I fall.

  • Deb

    They say that the majority of people when they trip, deliberately look down at the sidewalk etc…and do it quite overtly, to make sure that everyone around knows that it was the sidewalk’s fault not the “trippers”.

  • Another article I read about the girl whose immune system changed mentioned that she’d been taking anti-rejection drugs – which apparently stop your immune system from working at all. Stem cells from the donor’s liver got into her bone marrow, and I guess they could’ve rebuilt her immune system in their own image…

    Which is pretty awesome.

    Skating to work sounds great – hope there isn’t too much carnage.

  • I am surprised that her blood type changed. My mom had a kidney transplant and there had to be a fair amount of match for her to get the kidney. Blood type, I believe, was a minimum criteria.

  • wow can’t believe the picture of your frosty hair. that’s cool.

  • dirtwitch

    Hmmm maybne her rh factor changed?

    I’m O negative – a truly pure universal donor. It is the first human blood type. I think thats pretty cool, I’m SO RETRO! It does make me happy because I know in an emergency I could give direct transfusions to anybody.

    That picture is so awesome Zoom, its not just the frost, or your icy blue eye, its the roof on logo too, and your fuzzy scarf. Everything about it is great! I want a large version of it to hang on the wall! Pretty please? For my birthday??? :-)

  • XUP

    a) I love the photo, too. I can totally see it on the cover of some mystery novel.

    b) So, does skating to work cut down on your commuting time? And, will you be skating home again, too?

    c)I’m sorry you fell down. I hope you didn’t damage yourself in any way. It’s all that bundling up that throws one off-balance.

    d) I’m blood type O, too. I brag about it all the time.

  • Marg

    I’m type O too… of course, the downside is that we are not universal recipients. If we need blood or a liver, we have to get that from another type O… of which there are the smallest number. We better stay healthy, or be able to find each other :)

  • Oma

    Your photo is now on my computer background. It replaced the flat coated retriever which replaced Duncan, your enormous cat. Only the best photos get to my computer screen.

  • I’m AB-, which is really rare, so I think that’s pretty neat, but then I feel like a right bastard, because no one else but an AB- can get my blood. I am useless to the world in a blood emergency.

    Interestingly, my sister is also AB-. My brother is AB too, though we don’t know his Rh factor. The chances of that happening are really really slim, unless: my mom is B and I’ll leave it up to you to figure out my dad’s type.

    And that photo rocks. You have very pretty eye.

  • Susan, actually this is the first time in my life that the Canal has been positioned (more or less) between my home and my work. I still have to walk half an hour before I can skate though. XUP, I don’t know yet if it’ll cut any time off the commute, but we should know by next week.

    Deb, I’ve read that too. Ever since then I’ve watched trippers (myself included) and I have to conclude that it’s true. It’s instinctive – I couldn’t NOT to do it when I tried.

    I’m so happy to find out I’m not the only one who is proud of her blood type. I feel being Type O- is somehow a marker of a generous spirit or something. And Megan, I know I’d be proud of being an AB- too, since it’s so rare.

    Dirtwitch! Happy Birthday! I’ll send you a copy of the photo. I’m surprised so many of you like the photo. I just liked the frosted hair. As for the logo on the hat, that’s my charitable Raising the Roof homelessness toque. I bought it at CCOC a couple of years ago.

  • I recognize that neck gaiter! Just fling it in the washer and dryer when you’ve breathed on it too much. I have two so I can rotate them through the wash. Hmm, I can tell what I should be making next.

    “Zoom Cam”! Love it. I feel embarrassed too when I fall but then I get angry right away. However, as I get older, I think about suing as I lie on the pavement and wait for people to help me up. That’s not true – I don’t wait for help. I leap up as if nothing had happened. “Ha ha!” I say, “that person you saw falling? An optical illusion. I would never do anything so foolish.” Then I find myself limping 24 hours later and wish I’d waited for the ambulance and sued.

    The blood type thingy is a bit misleading. I read about it too and thought that it was probably because she was so young that the Rhesus factor switched. But her type, the AB or O, didn’t change. That’s “more” genetic. For example, my mother is type O so she can only give Os to her eggs. And my father is A+A- (a weird combo) se he can only give As to his sperm. And so all three of us kids are A with the O recessive. But the +- factor is separate from the ABO. It’s sort of genetic but it’s not carved in stone (apparently) like the ABO or eye colour type of genetic. Anyway.

  • jan

    Lookin’ for a new liver (maybe)!
    Should I rip it out of a unsuspecting (evil advisery),
    or buy it at Cosco.
    I don’t want a liver out of a “liver lily pucker butt”!
    But is an “Evil” liver as good as a rightous liver?
    Who’s to say ?
    Dr. Phil.?
    Do trolls have livers compatable with alien livers?
    Why are we here?
    What time is it?
    How much is tea in China?
    Angels and sailors!
    Jim Morrison
    I do digress!

  • sheila

    I know what you mean about being embarrassed when you fall. Several years ago I was days away from scheduled neck surgery.The surgeon convinced me to get the operation by showing me the MRI and explaining how easily my spinal cord could have been severed. So I stepped out on the front doorstep and promptly took a dive. I’ll never forget thinking “Crap! I hope nobody sees this!”. I survived the fall with injuries to my tail bone and my dignity. I nearly did not survive the surgery, though.