Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lessons learned

So, not too much happening since last time, but a few noteworthy events. First, as of Friday, May 9, I am officially done with classes FOREVER. I handed in my particle project and had turned in my last quantum homework earlier. Also, I checked my grades today and apparently I earned an A in Advanced Quantum, despite the fact that I know some of my homeworks used mathematics of a questionable legality. YAY! Moral of the story? You can try, and even if you fail, you might succeed.

Next up, after turning in my project, I headed to the Red Cross Blood Drive that was on campus. I was fairly confident, having given blood a mere 5 years ago at UMBC. However, when I was at the sign in table, a nurse came up and asked if I would like to make a double red donation. I figured it couldn't hurt, so I agreed. I should have known it was going to go poorly when, in order to take my blood pressure, the nurse had to use 3 cuffs. Anywho, after all the preliminary paperwork and testing to make sure I could actually do it, they took me over to the apheresis machine. A different nurse now had to do paperwork for it and whatnot, then looked for a vein in my arm. Right arm? No good. Left arm? "I think we can use this one, let's do it." Definitely fills me with confidence...
So, she eventually sticks the needle in me and starts up the machine. At some point it must have started beeping, though I didn't notice it. Another nurse comes over and looks at things, then moves my arm out, then in, then back to where it originally was, more or less. She then told me that she had to adjust the needle in the vein, and proceeded to do it. I think that was the point when I started getting really hot and lightheaded. It turns out that when she adjusted the needle, she broke the seal of the vein and the needle, so some of the liquids leaked out. I gather that the machine was saying that I wasn't doing so hot after that, and so they finished up what they could and unhooked me. In the end, I donated a unit of whole blood instead of 2 units of red blood cells, and was left with a good sized bruise and some soreness. Moral of the story? I should not donate double red, and probably should not even try apheresis again.

Finally, as I was returning to Philly from Baltimore the other night, I got quite a surprise: the normally 2 hour drive took me 5.5 hours; I left at 6 PM, got to my apartment around 11.30 PM. The first problem was an accident that was "blocking all lanes" on 95, which I didn't believe until I hit the backed up traffic from it. 2 hours later I'm back on 95, and hit some traffic due to construction on the Tydings bridge: 2 of the 3 lanes closed.
Eventually that clears up and I can continue through the toll and get my gas in Elkton: $3.75/gal. By 9.45 I was back on 95 again, and looking forward to getting back around 10.30 or so. But shortly after I got going on 95, all but one lane was closed (yet again) until 495. From there, it was smooth sailing, but I still didn't get back till 11.30 or so. Moral of the story? Belligerent design works.

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