Friday, May 20, 2011


It's official: sledgehammer therapy works. I started off the day with three hours of pounding and destruction. Sometimes the tears were from the sheetrock dust in my eyes. Sometimes, from Maura in my head. Why did no one ever seriously tell me that hitting things felt so good?

In the evening, I went to the MD Anderson Blood Center to donate platelets. The technician did not want to take my platelets.
Who are you donating for? 
What patient are you donating for? 
No one.
He wanted to draw whole blood because he said my veins were small and the needle was big.  I think his opinion may have been influenced by the fact that I was the last appointment of the day, and he wasn't going to get to go home on time if he collected platelets. Or maybe he was truly worried that my vein would blow up and I wouldn't be able to donate anything? Either way, I would cause a problem.
What patient are you donating for? 
No one in particular. I just know you need platelets.
MD Anderson needs whole blood, too.
I'm usually not very assertive. Usually.
Yes, but I want to donate platelets. I know that a patient has less of a chance of having a reaction if the platelets come from just one person. 
The technician's shoulders slumped and his eyes drooped a bit. I bet his wife had dinner on the table. I should be less selfish and let him draw whole blood. It only takes a few minutes. His dinner would be covered with foil and stuck in the fridge by the time he got home if  I insisted on platelets. He pleaded his case to Joel.
It's a 16-gage needle. The vein might blow.
Joel stood by me.
She wants to donate platelets.
The technician looked defeated. 
Who are you donating for?
I want to donate in memory of my daughter who died from cancer two years ago today. Please let me try.
He instantly morphed into the complete healthcare professional. The tired man that had slipped through the cracks for a few minutes was just an aberration. He was both kind and efficient.
Everyone gets tired. I honestly don't know how health care workers don't lose it more often.

I thought that the 19th would be a wallowing day. It clearly wasn't. Pro-active planning on my part certainly helped. But, as I've said before, grieving has its own timetable--not always convenient, for sure. When I checked in with Danielle last night, she said that she was so focused on work that she also set aside wallowing. Wise woman that she is, she also said she knew it was building inside her and that she would soon need a day to let it out.
The pressure valve is always pushing toward the red mark.

Maura, we miss you so much. It was so neat to see so many of your friends still posting about you on their facebook walls.
And to you on yours.
I love you.


Sue G said...

I'm so grateful that the day went well for you, filled with purpose and drive and determination. Your spirit just shines through the sadness and the grief.

It is easy to see where Maura's purposeful, gentle, and determined spirit came from!

Kathy said...

oh my goodness. Has it been 2 years?? It feels like yesterday. You have shown such grace and spirit and growth these past two years. Your giving spirit has really shined through and is a beautiful tribute to such a special girl. Peace Erin. I am so glad that I have gotten to know you through this blog and have gotten to know Maura too. My life is better for it.

Anonymous said...

I visit this blog from time to time but am just now commenting.

I knew Maura in junior high and high school and feel a deep sadness when I think about her. I remember her as always energetic and happy, however.

I'm halfway through medical school hoping to get a surgical oncology spot in the future and open my own research lab, focusing on patients just like her.

Maura and all the cancer patients I've helped take care of give me a great purpose in life.

all the best.