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