Changes

I said in my last post, now over six months ago, that life comes at you fast. Even then I had no idea just how fast.

This weekend is father’s day. I will not be celebrating, as my father passed away two months ago, just a statistic, the latest victim of a healthcare system that research suggests kills as many as 98,000 Americans annually through medical errors, misdiagnosis, and dosing errors. (1)

He did not have to die. It was my own home, my own people, my great love- medicine- that is responsible. A single laboratory test likely would have saved him, but perhaps we are not so far out of the dark ages of medicine as I thought.

But I am determined and this will not stop me. I spent the three months of his ICU stay travelling back and forth between Alaska and Seattle, a packed bag ready by the door for the call. I stayed in school, sometimes working on homework late into the night then getting up the next morning for an early shift. And when he died I went home, packed our house in a week, scored a 99% on my final exam, and moved back in with my mom in rural Idaho.

I don’t really want to make this post about my dad. Everything else in my life right now is. This post is about me and my journey. I believe now more strongly than ever in the importance of laboratory science and the power we hold to save lives.

I also have come to understand something to which I never applied much thought. Everyone has something to give, and it’s never too late to change the world. I cannot strongly enough encourage anyone who is reading this, if they haven’t already, to please sign up to be an organ donor. Donate Life America can help you with this, or it’s a simple box to check when you sign up for a driver’s license.

Now, on to other things. I have transitioned to being a full time student as there is not currently a position available for me at my new laboratory. This semester I am taking Principles of Hematology and Hemostasis and Microbiology. It was my initial hope through this blog to provide my first hand experiences of life in a clinical laboratory and admittedly, I’m starting a little late. However, it’s never too late to start, so keep an eye here for hopefully at least weekly posts about my adventures in hematology. I am required for my class to write a weekly log of my activities, and I have six backlogged from this semester so I may put them up at some point.

I also now have a twitter account on which I plan to try to share at least daily an interesting thing I have learned in my studies or research. I hope you’ll follow it and stay tuned for fascinating facts.

And of course, I am still baking. My new home has much more sunlight so I am hoping to get better shots.

I hope everyone has a lovely week and if you’re a father, happy father’s day.

(1) Medical Errors Kill Almost 100,000 Americans a Year. BMJ. 1999 December 11; 319 (7224): 1519.

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