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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14, 2011

It’s another look back in time with the Tuesday timeline, and what do you know?  This week’s edition happens to fall on Valentine’s Day.  Whether you’re planning to spend the day snuggled up to your sweetheart, planning an anti-Valentine’s day celebration to protest the commercialism of the day, or attempting to stay in bed until the fifteenth of February rolls around, I hope that whatever you do, it makes you happy.
Now, as you know, the point of the Tuesday timeline is to go back to a specific event that happened on this date in history, and in past events, we’ve gone back in time a considerable number of years.  The earliest year we’ve visited was 1935, and up until now, the latest was 1987.

So, I imagine that some of you are wondering why I’ve chosen the rather recent date of February 14, 2011 as today’s special date.  It only happened a year ago.  Yes, this is very much true.

However, one year ago today, I had something happen to me that inspired the subject of this post.  Consider it to be some sort of a public service announcement if you will. 

And unlike other Tuesday timeline entries of the past, this entry has nothing to do with any sort of pop culture event.  Instead, it’s more of a personal tale that I wanted to share with all of you reading this post.  If anything, it will send out a very positive message.  But, to give you a hint as to what I’m referring to, I’ll use a pop culture reference for you to ponder.  This was an activity that Dylan and Brenda did partook in during the second season of Beverly Hills 90210, appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day (though the episode itself aired on February 13, 1992).
And, since I’ve done it for most of the other Tuesday timeline entries before this one, I may as well give out a list of significant events that happened on this date in other years.

We’ll start with people who have February 14th birthdays.  Happy birthday to Hugh Downs, Florence Henderson, Teller (from Penn & Teller), James Eckhouse, Meg Tilly, Zach Galligan, Simon Pegg, Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20), and Freddie Highmore, just to name a few.
February 14 was also a big day for the United States, as two states entered the union on this date.  Oregon in 1859, and Arizona in 1912.

Looking back on the historical events of February 14, it`s a bit ironic that for a day which supposedly is a celebration of love and passion, it sure has a lot of deadly events associated with it.  Just have a look at this list.

1349 – An estimated 2,000 Jewish people were burned to death or forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg.

1779 – British explorer and cartographer James Cook was killed by Native Hawaiians on the Island of Hawaii.

1831 – Battle of Debre Abbay.  You can read more about it here.

1929 – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Seven people, including six rivals of Al Capone`s gang are murdered in Chicago.

1945 – A series of bombings took place from the skies during World War II.  Dresden, Germany and Prague, Czechoslovakia were two of the cities that were bombed on February 14.

1981 – A fire at Dublin nightclub Stardust kills 48 people.

2005 – Seven people die, and 151 are wounded in a series of bombings in the Philippines.

2008 – A gunman opened fire at Northern Illinois University, killing six (including gunman) and wounding 18.

Like I said, it’s very ironic, wouldn’t you think?

Although, there have also been some good things that have happened on this date.  Jacqueline Kennedy took television viewers on a tour of the White House on this date in 1962.  In 1899, voting machines were approved for use in American elections.  And, in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent for a new invention called the telephone on this date.
So, you see?  It’s not ALL doom and gloom.

So, now we come back to the date that this blog entry is about.  February 14, 2011.  What exactly happened to me on this date that inspired this blog post?
Well, it was on this date one year ago today that I ended up getting my third of three blood transfusions after a surgery that had I not gotten it done, would have killed me.

I really wish that Valentine’s Day was on a Thursday this year, because in all actuality, our story truly begins on February 12, 2011...but I’m making do with what I have, so I’ll get on with it.
I have talked about what happened to me last year a little bit on my blog in past entries, but in case you happened to miss those entries, here’s the version.  On February 12, 2011, my gall bladder was removed.  It had not been working right for several months prior, as I had gotten quite a few attacks from it.  I’m talking doubled over in pain attacks here.  Of course, I didn’t know that it was my gall bladder at the time.  I had just chalked it up to having indigestion, or having a case of the stomach flu.  But by February 2011, I knew that it couldn’t have been either.  The pain was constant, and it was excruciating.  Think of someone stabbing you from the inside out, and multiply that intensity by fifty.  That’s the best way I could describe the pain.  I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy, that’s how severe it was.

It didn’t help matters much that the administration staff at the hospital that I went to kind of gave me the runaround (which is a story that I’ll save for another day), but by the time I was finally admitted as a patient, my gall bladder was severely infected.
(Here’s a life lesson for you.  Don’t be stupid and stubborn like I was.  If you know there’s something wrong with you, don’t put it off like I did.)

And just how infected was my gall bladder?  It was so infected that it was trying to attach itself to my liver, trying to spread the lovely infection throughout my whole body.

It was a real soap opera inside my body.  It was as if my liver was attached to my gall bladder, but my gall bladder did nothing but abuse her and fill her with poison in return.  It was as if my body was trying to tell my liver ‘Drop that zero and get yourself a hero, because he ain’t no good for you, girl!’
But, the relationship continued to grow, despite my body’s protests.  Little by little, the gall bladder sunk his poisonous venom inside the poor, defenseless liver, and day by day, the liver started to show signs of rottenness.  And, the more my body tried to fight this doomed relationship, the more my liver ignored the warnings.  It was a match made in hell for sure, and had the marriage between my liver and gall bladder lasted any longer, it most certainly would have spelled sudden death for this poor blogger.

Action needed to be taken.  This marriage simply had to be annulled.  And just as all hope was lost, a miracle happened.  Just as quickly as the union began, it was ripped apart, as the cutting of a scalpel made sure that the gall bladder’s influence on the liver ended for good.  Certainly, the death of my gall bladder was hard on my liver.  I ended up losing about a quarter of it during the surgery, and in a way, I suppose keeping with the theme of the soap opera inside my body, I could picture my liver acting as a shield, trying to save her ‘love’ from harm.  But, once the gall bladder was removed, my liver found a way to bounce back.  Its scars would heal in time, as mine would too.

Although, you have to admit that in this photo taken just one month after my surgery, that the scar that I ended up with looks pretty cool.
Two days after that surgery, I was in the intensive care unit getting a blood transfusion.  It was my third of three transfusions (the first two were during my surgery, where it was reported that I had lost a lot of blood), and let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly in the best of condition.  I felt so weak that I could barely get out of bed.  The room itself was very, very boring and stagnant.  Thank goodness that my family brought me lots of books and magazines, or else, I would have completely lost my mind.  But, those blood transfusions kept me alive, and were a key part of my full recovery.  And, while that particular Valentine’s Day was spent in the hospital, it was simultaneously one of the better Valentine’s Day memories that I’ve ever experienced.

You see, prior to 2011, I was very anti-Valentine’s Day.  I hated the holiday and everything to do with it.  Even now, I still feel that Valentine’s Day is overhyped and way too commercial for my liking, but before my surgery, I had open disgust for the holiday.  To me, it wasn’t even a holiday.  It was a day where jewelry stores launched guilt trips to get you to purchase overpriced bangles for your love.  It was a day where the more roses you bought, the more love you showed for your significant other.  It was a day that served as an excuse to buy your girlfriend chocolates so that six months later, she could dump you for making her morbidly obese.
Yeah, Valentine’s Day used to be associated with bitterness.

But in 2011, I felt differently.  I mean, not only did my family give me all sorts of gifts and attention (such as the 2011 Valentine’s Day bear that my then 14-year old niece picked out for me), but my workplace went above and beyond too.  They sent me a nice flower arrangement, as well as a get well card signed by over one hundred of my friends and colleagues.  It was really touching.

And, then it hit me.  Valentine’s Day didn’t necessarily have to be feelings of love between a husband and wife, or a boyfriend and girlfriend, or a pair of life partners.  It could be expressions of love from friends, family, co-workers.  It didn’t have to be romantic love.  And, in my case, I realized that I was loved on that particular Valentine’s Day.  Knowing that was the case, it kind of helped soften my feelings towards the day.  While it will never truly be my favourite day, I don’t have as much bitterness towards it as I did before my surgery.
So, here’s where the public service announcement comes in.  Granted, I admit that since my surgery, I myself have not done this, but I plan to do this if I am able to one day.  And, while as a teenager, I was a bit afraid to take part in the various drives that took place in school, I no longer have that trepidation today.

I’m talking about the idea of donating blood.

If people didn’t take the time to donate their blood to blood banks and hospitals all over the world, it’s entirely possible that my surgery story could have had a very different ending.  I didn’t realize how important blood donation was until I was in a situation where I needed blood myself.  Now that I see how important it is, I want to raise awareness.  Please, take the time to donate blood, if you can.  You just might save a life.
As I said before, I have not been to a blood donation clinic since my surgery, but it is on my to-do list.  However, just know that depending on your region, there are certain conditions that need to be met before one is considered a suitable donor.  Some of these restrictions are understandable, while I admit some others are anything but.  Regardless, make sure that you research these restrictions to find out for sure if you are a suitable donor.

That about wraps it up for today’s look back on February 14, 2011.  Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone here, and for those of you who don’t like Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a happy Tuesday!

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