Little Ship of Dreams
Writing Them Down: Everything Else

A Remarkable Study in Contrast

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the hospital emergency room with Brian.  Nothing serious.

January 25 random 003 

While working with his fellow Science Olympiad team members on their Rube Goldberg project, Brian sliced his finger open with some steel wool.  You know, we have never had to make a visit to the emergency room because of hockey.  The irony does not escape me. . . that it was the calm-and-cerebral Science Olympiad - and not violent-and-brutal hockey - that sent us to the ER!

While at the hospital, Brian and I marveled at the smooth flow of events.  Even though it took a long time (as visits to the ER tend to do), we were treated courteously; we were comfortable; everything was neat and clean and well-stocked.  They were ready for us!  The doctors and nurses, though busy (especially when dealing with a screaming toddler who had something. . . big . . . wedged in a nostril) were pleasant, helpful, and in good humor.  Everyone was confident - and competent.  The equipment was shiny and plentiful.  We were impressed with the portable x-ray machine that they brought right in to Brian's room to take x-rays of his finger (they needed to make sure there weren't any steel wool fragments in the wound), and even more impressed when the doctor called the images up on his computer screen only moments later.  Brian was pleased to leave the ER without stitches (they "glued" his wound shut with Dermabond instead) - although he wasn't happy with the Tetanus shot.

Our visit to the hospital was an unwelcome diversion -- but quick, convenient, easy, not-quite-painless, and very. . . dependable.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  I sat down at my computer with my cup of tea and a little mid-afternoon snack.  Time to check my email, read some blogs, maybe catch up on some computer work.

January 25 random 004 

I followed a link on an email from one of my friends to this video. . . showing the Doctors Without Borders inflatable hospital being set up in Haiti.

The contrast between my own experience at the ER with Brian yesterday. . . and the medical situation in Haiti today. . . is stunning.  Our shiny, accessible, friendly ER experience . . . contrasted with the very basic, very real, and very poignant needs in Haiti is almost unfathomable to me.

I know that many of you have already supported the relief efforts in Haiti.  But now that the crisis is beginning to fade from the coverage on our news channels here in the US, we need to be reminded that  the needs there are great -- and still growing.  If you haven't already, I hope you'll consider the needs in Haiti --- especially in contrast to how fortunate most of us are here in the US -- and help support aid efforts there.

If you're wondering how to help, you could start by checking out the Doctors Without Borders website.  For additional ideas, the New York Times blog has published an extensive list of agencies involved in Haiti relief efforts.  And if you are a knitter, there are some special ways for you to show your support.  Ravelry has a group devoted to promoting information about Haiti relief efforts and opportunities; many designers are offering a portion of pattern sales proceeds back to Haitian relief efforts (click here for Help for Haiti pattern offerings on Ravelry), and there is the Yarn Harlot's ongoing support of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins San Frontieres (if you do make a contribution to Doctors Without Borders, please let Stephanie know, so she can update her knitters-give total -- which is now over $1,000,000).

If all of this weren't enough incentive to help our neighbors in Haiti, the IRS has given us all one more reason to jump on this.  Click here to read more about a special tax relief provision -- enacted just yesterday -- allowing people who make cash contributions to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti to claim these donations on their 2009 tax returns.  (Please make sure to read all the details of this provision.  I'm not giving tax advice here -- just letting you know about this new rule.)

As I sit here, drinking my tea in my comfortable home with my healthy family nearby, I am grateful -- and aware.  The contrast is remarkable.


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On the finger - eeeeeew. But glad it was nothing. On all the Haiti info, thanks - I'm glad to hear about the little tax blurb too, who knew? and the toddler just made me laugh. Am sooooo glad those days are behind me!

Diana Troldahl

On Ravelry I have retagged all of my for-sale patterns (with the exception of those already dedicated to specific charities) to have the Help For Haiti Tags. 50% of the sales will go to Doctors Without Borders.

All of them also have been changed to be $1.99.

[Diana Troldahl Ravelry Designs][1]



Thanks for the tax info. (How did I miss that myself?) Good for us in particular; 2010 income will definitely be less than 2009, so deductions in 09 are worth more.

My mammogram last week was digital, too -- the tech showed me the photos right away, side by side with the previous year's. I did not make the contrast connection with Haiti, but I should have. Thanks for the reminder.


Sorry for Brian's injury -- I find I never do worry about the right things in life ;-)

Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings & help as we can.


Contrast, indeed. Happy to hear that everything's OK with Brian -- pretty funny that it was science and not hockey. As for toddlers, my MIL ran a nursery school for years. Peanuts became politically incorrect because so many little kids stuffed them up their noses...Doctors Without Borders is great, and I was pleased to read that Unicef is not taking any part of the donations that they receive for administrative costs. I did my part to support some of the Ravelry designers who are making contributions to Haiti relief, too. Yum...biscotti!


Clearly, there is some danger in being too smart. ;^)

Isn't it just amazing how far we've come in our lifetime with the medical stuffs? Makes me happy and very tired all at once.


Glad your ER experience was ok. My only one was when C fell at the swimming pool, aged 4, and cracked her head. Because it was a (potential) head injury she was whisked right in.

I gave to MSF via Yarn Harlot, in the UK you can also 'gift aid' a donation which means they can also claim some tax on the donation which means they get more.


I've been thinking lately that I shouldn't be buying things that give a percentage to Haiti but rather doing without and giving it ALL to Haiti. Thanks for the reminder that what we take for granted is not the norm everywhere.


ohno! I'm glad your ER visit wasn't too traumatic!

(love the blog, adding you to my reading list! I'm terrible at commenting but I'll definitely be reading!)


Every time a disaster happens to someone else I am so thankful for all I have in health, home, friends and family.


Glad that Brian's okay! Dermabond is great! No stitches means that he won't have to go through a second round of pain like my husband did when he was a boy. He cut his hand while building a cage for the pet monkey he wanted to get. At the emergency room, a brand-new intern sewed the cut and made the stitches very tight - so tight that my husband's skin grew over the stitches. When he went to get the stitches out, they had to cut his skin to get to the stitches!

Thanks for the information about the new tax break for Haiti deductions! I hadn't seen that.


Thank you for posting the video. I have heard a lot about these hospitals but hadn't actually seen one. seeing things like this, really does put in perspective, doesn't it.

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