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Why Should I Be An Organ Donor?

Image Wikipedia.Org.



Our Kidneys and Why We Need Them?

Each day in the United States the National Kidney Foundation reports more than one million persons on the kidney transplant list.

A whopping 660,000 with kidney failure, 37 million with chronic kidney disease and 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease!

Sadly many people will never get the call informing them that a donor organ is available for their use. An estimated 20 persons die each day for lack of donor organs. 

Our Kidneys and Why We Need Them?

The Human kidneys, shaped like two kidney beans lie against the back muscles of in the upper abdomen. They are located on the left and right sides of the back (flank) muscles with the right kidney ‘sitting’ a little lower than the left due the the size and shape of the liver.

Combined our kidneys contain about 1.2 million renal corpuscles that filter up to 1500 liters (400 US gallons) of blood daily. What a powerhouse!

It purifies the blood and removes toxins from the body. They control the water balance, regulates our electrolytes like, sodium and potassium and maintains homeostasis thus keep us alive.

The renal system aids in the breakdown some medications such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) making it available for use by our bodies. One such example is advil. The kidneys excretes all these waste products in the form of urine.

What happens when our kidneys malfunction?

If our kidneys are not functioning at their optimum or not working at all, then the toxins from the break down of the various chemical process involved in keeping us alive will not be removed.

The toxins will remain in the body causing illness and death in a relatively short period of time.

When this happens the blood must be cleansed by artificial means.

Dialysis, using an external machine to ‘cleanse’ the blood is the next step. This process requires the creation of a ‘shunt’ which is created connecting an artery and a vein to be used for access to the circulatory system.

Image: masagepassport.wordpress.com

The process of dialysis greatly restricts a person’s activities of daily living. It’s a time consuming process that generally requires you to go to a dialysis center three days a week, up to eight hours at a time.  The toxins are removed by spending an average six to eight hours at a time.

After dialysis patients often report they felt like they had the stuffing knocked out of them. The body has been depleted and unfortunately no man-made processes will ever work as well as God’s, so it takes time to return to your norm. Then by the time you begin to feel better it’s time to repeat the process again.

Am I Too Young to donate?

Many states allow people who are younger than 18 to register as organ donors.

You are legally able to decide from the age of 18, but some final input may be required from your parent or legal guardian.

So discuss your wish to become an organ donor with your family, and ask for their advice. Keep in mind that many children too, are in need of organ transplants.

Am I Too Old to Donate?

You are not too old to donate, just inform of your desire to do so and let the medical professionals make the decision whether or not you are able to do so.

Do not discount organ donation because you think you are too old as there is no defined cutoff age for donating organs. The decision to use your donation is based on strict medical criteria, not age.

The idea of donating your organs may be an unpleasant one to grapple with. I must admit that I was not enamored with the idea myself. As humans we do not want to contemplate our own demise and the connotations that this idea brings to mind are not pleasant ones. But the truth is that organ donation saves lives.

If they know I’m a donor, will they just let me die so they can have my organs?

Some people are under the misconception that their medical treatment may no longer be a priority if they become donors, the medical staff will make every effort to save your life as is within their power to do so.

When you are ill medical personnel are required by moral and legal code of ethics to make every available effort to save your life first.

You will be seen by a doctor whose expertise most closely matches your particular condition and who can and will give you the best care possible.

If you are unsure of, or uncomfortable with your faith’s position on organ donation, ask a member of your clergy.

Even if your organs are not used for living recipients, they can be used in science to further medical understanding of many disease processes thereby making a greater impact.

Don’t deny yourself from the chance to help someone else. Let the doctors decide at the time of your death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.

Being a Living Donor

If you decide to become a living donor, i.e. giving one of your kidneys to someone while you are still living you will have to undergo extensive psychological testing to ensure you are not being coerced into doing so.

This ensures that you are aware of the risks associated with your decision. Doctors will also test to see if your kidneys are in good shape and whether you can live a healthy life with just one kidney.

It’s critically important to consider becoming an organ donor if you belong to an ethnic minority. Minorities like African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to have certain chronic conditions that affect the kidneys, heart, lung, pancreas and liver. Some examples of such diseases are; alcoholism, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Certain blood types are more prevalent in ethnic minority populations. Because matching blood type is usually necessary for transplants, the need for minority organ donors is a ‘dire need’.

How to Register to Become a Donor

Becoming a donor is easy. Here are a few ways to indicate your wishes:

  • By registering on your State’s website.
  • Have it placed on your driver’s license. 
  • Inform your close family members.

If you have a loved one who will make decisions in the event you cannot make them for yourself, discuss your expectations with them and ensure that they understand and will honor your wishes.

So now that you have some of the facts, can you see that being an organ donor can make a big difference? and not just to one person? Organ and tissue from one donor can save or at best improve as many as 75 lives. Also knowing that your loved one helped save or improve the lives of many others may bring you some comfort.

What are your thoughts, please comment below. I would really love to know.

Sources cited and questions:

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A Time For Everything Under The Sun

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“Home is where our story begins…” — author unknown

Faded dreams –Remnants of a life once lived

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven — Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is lived in stages

Photo by Олександр К on Unsplash
Photo by Sandy Zebua on Unsplash
A black puppy looking at a pie on the kitchen table.
(see the look on that doggie’s face as he watches the pie). — Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Dusk on a farm, the light is dim, the sun setting, a tower in the background and some cows settling in for the night.
Photo by William Isted on Unsplash

The Takeaway

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Grow Organic Squash — Improve Your Health

Image credit: Author
Long Squash

One of the main fruits we grow in our yearly garden is squash.

A delight, best when cooked fresh!

The variety shown above is one of many we grow in South America. It is also known as Chinese long squash.

Chinese long squash, also called the Opo squash originated in Africa, from there made its way to Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

Long squash usually grows to about 10 to 15 inches in length. Though I have seen it grow much much longer in my native country. I think its length is dependent on soil, weather and care.

When fresh, the flesh is firm and may even be shredded and eaten raw as a salad. versatile enough to be cooked in a variety of ways.

Said to have a cooling effect on the body it is delicious.

Like most squash, it has a mild and pleasant flavor and is a member of the cucumber family.

Upon maturation, the skin becomes hard and even the flesh is rendered inedible.

At that point, the skin can be used to fashion bowls, ornaments and other household ornaments and tools.

A long green squash
Image credit: Author

Facts about squash

As a member of the gourd family, it is a Monoecious Plant.

Monoecious meaning it has both male and female sex characteristics and is completely self-reliant for pollination. With monoecious species, each plant has some flowers with stamens and some flowers with pistils.

The fruit appears first then the flower is seen. As shown in the picture above. Whenever the flower first appears, it does not develop a fruit.

A pungent smelling plant, it contains small white hairs from stem to fruit. Eventually, most of the hairs fall off the fruit but remain on the rest of the vine.

Image credit: Author

You can really see the hairs in this image. The squash has grown considerably in the past two days as well.

Below are pictures of the flowers and those will not bear any fruit.

Image credit Author

Nutrients

Long squash contains several nutrients that are good for your health.

Squash is relatively low caloric content while providing vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

It is also rich in fiber to help aid a healthy digestion. The juice of Opo squash has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

In Guyana the juice is sometimes consumed as a healthy and refreshing beverage.

  1. A good source of fiber — the presence of fiber serves to aid a smooth digestive experience while removing toxins and waste.

2. Easily digested — helps by reducing gastric acid.

3. Vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair and skin— contains vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc among many other vitamins.

4. Helps to maintain normal blood glucose levels — due to its low glycemic index, it does not cause a spike in blood sugar.

5. Improves blood circulation, and aids the prevention of heart disease— The magnesium and potassium present in squash are two very important electrolytes necessary for cellular metabolism. They are an integral part of the cardiovascular system. Vital component of muscular contraction and can have deadly implications if the quantities present are too high or too low.

8. Anti-inflammatory properties — The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, and other compounds have anti-inflammatory effects.

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Recap

Squash seeds are said to have anti-parasitic, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. They provide protection from tapeworms or other intestinal parasites.

The meat is nutritionally dense with fiber to allow for easier digestion and removal of toxins from the body.

Also contains Vitamins C and A, zinc, antioxidants and many other minerals. Potassium known for its importance maintaining homeostasis, helps to relax the tension of blood vessels and arteries, thereby allowing for lower blood pressure and reducing the workload of the cardiovascular system

Together these numerous qualities improve health, reduce stress on the body and aid longevity.

Finally can be eaten in salads raw and lightly sautéed to preserve its nutritional benefits while being extremely pleasing to the palate.

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So You Want To Be A Writer?

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I saw this quote and thought it was so true, I wanted to share it with you all.

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“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job: It’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

Neil Gaiman

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Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday.

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Flowering Beauty

Beautiful oran

Bright orange lilies, with raindrops sprinkled on their petals.
Image credit: Pene Hodge

Besides writing, photography is another dream of mine.

I love taking photos of nature.

So when I awoke one-morning last month to the sound of rain outside my window, I knew what I had to do. Get my trusty phone and head on outdoors.

I began taking pictures of various flowers with the rain drips caught on their petals.

These lilies looked especially beautiful like diamonds sparkled about, enhancing their natural beauty.

So so lovely.

Zoomed in for a close-up or two.

Beauty created for me and you.

Beautiful bright orange lilies sprinkled with rain drops
Image credit: Pene Hodge

Fun facts about lilies

 Orange lilies signify passion.

◉ The lily is the 4th most popular flower across the globe! I must admit they are one of my favorites.

◉ The lily is a flowering plant that belongs to the family known as Liliaceae.

◉ Lily is a perennial plant, which means it can live for three or more growing seasons.

The oil extracted from lilies is said to have skin healing and softening properties.

◉ The oil has been known to work well for cracked and dry skin.

◉ Bulbs of lily contain a lot of starch and they are used as root vegetables.

◉ Humans, some insects, squirrels, and deer sometimes eat wild lilies.

◉ The Chinese believe they can bring good luck.

◉Lilies often come in beautiful vibrant colors.

They are highly toxic to your cats!

Bright orange lily flowers sprinkled with rain drops
Image credit: Pene Hodge

Do you agree,

That …

Rainy day showers make beautiful flowers.

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Why I Love The Sky

I can often be found with my head in the clouds.

I remember one day I was playing outside, I was about 8 years old. Suddenly I saw what I thought was a large white bird in the sky.

As I looked at it quickly went into the clouds and was gone.

I am unsure of what it was. I would like to think I saw an angel that day. Looking back it was too large to be a bird and birds do not go up into the clouds.

Since that day, I live with an air of expectancy.

I find myself constantly looking up at the sky. You could say I keep my head in the clouds.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

I admire the colors, textures, shapes, and movement. I wonder at the supreme being that inhabits the space above. I marvel at his created wonders.

The hues of clouds on clear days and on cloudy days just fill me with such awe.

The world, life, flowers, everything makes me acutely aware of the beauty and I am continuously awestruck at this space we share.

I try to see the beauty in all things and most days I find it.

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At My Grandmother’s Table

An assortment of baking ingredients

The hands of a female rolling dough with a rolling pin
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When I think of the word food, it evokes liquid memories of love.

Memories of wonderful days with my sister and my cousins at grandma’s house.

Food represented love.

Each Saturday my grandmother would prepare to bake fresh bread, pastries, and other treats.

I, along with my sister and cousins would gather at our grandmother’s table. We knew there would be laughter, food, and fun.

Golden rays of sunlight streaming in through the muslin fabric added magic to the dance of grandmother’s hands as she wrestled with the dough. Next, she patted and covered it on a large wooden tray to rest and rise.

The heady fragrance set our taste buds alight with the promise of joy.

Our shiny sun-kissed faces marveled with the wonder of youth as the doughy mixture seemed to come alive before our very eyes.

Photo by Theme Photos on Unsplash

Later, grandma would set the dough into rolls and loaves. We would get small pieces of the raw dough to play with as an artful form of learning.

We would try to make each tiny bread look like my grandmother’s, but ours never seemed to come out quite right.

Next came preparing the oven for baking.

The oven is located in the yard and is a structure made of mud, cow patties (dried cow poop), and water mixed together in a manner reminiscent of an adobe-like structure.

The oven is located in the yard and is a structure made of mud, cow patties (dried cow poop), and water mixed together in a manner reminiscent of an adobe-like square structure.
Image credit: Stabroek News Guyana Newspaper

My grandma would artfully light the oven using the bits and pieces we had collected until they formed red hot bits of coal.

The dough is then placed in the oven and the real magic begins. The intoxicating scent of fermented yeast explodes as heat invigorates the fungi causing its energy to dissipate overpowering the palate of the waiting children.

We eagerly await the opening of the oven door, a signal for the salivary glands to let it all hang out — literally.

The golden goodness is freed from the ovens bowels and presented to the salivating kids.

A female’s hand holding a pan of fresh golden bread rolls. #Food, #Memories
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The heat emanating from the too-hot rolls causes us to change hands constantly, like a clown juggling way too many balls in the air.

We love it warm from the oven as the heat causes the fresh cheese or salty butter to dribble down our fingers as we enjoy this yeasty goodness with some freshly made lime drinks.

Afterward, we would rest in the shade of the veranda, now replete.

The older kids would tell us scary stories until one by one we doze off dreaming of playing hide and seek in the coming moonlight.

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What We Leave Behind

When sorrow finds us

Recently I lost a very dear family member. A man who loved everyone with all his heart.

A man generous of spirit, one who gave his all to mankind.

A truly evolved soul.

I know I am not the only one who has lost loved ones.

If this current time has taught us anything, the headline should read — “how to survive when you lose big!”.

Many have lost so much, some have lost all they had, while each of us has lost something.

We have lost our innocence in the world around us, our freedom, our sense of security, and familiarity in the way we once lived.

It is safe to say that life will never be the same again

One day, hopefully, a long time from now, we will vacate the house we reside in. The essence of who we are will return to its creator. What we have left behind are just memories.

What will they say about you?

I recently spent some time pondering what remains when we leave this space.

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What we leave behind

1. Good deeds

2. How we made others feel

3. Were you helpful and kind

4. How did you spend your time

5. What Motivated you

6. How you used the gifts you were given

7. Did you love your family and friends

Takeaways

We all hope we will be remembered in the most favorable light. We may think that we are doing all things that are good and right. Others may beg to differ.

Take time out to review your life with honesty. Give someone you trust and respect the freedom to give you an honest life review.

What will you be remembered for?

Keep in mind what legacy you want to leave behind. You are the author, there is still time to change the trajectory of the narrative.

You can make the decision of how you want to tell your story. No one else has lived your life, so today, while there is still life, spend some time and rewrite the end.

What will your legacy be?

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The Importance of Trying New Things

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I was told not to eat mushrooms

I remember gazing upon these soft umbrella like plants nestled upon a rotting log in the front corner of our yard. They boasted differing colors, shapes and sizes.

They seemed to appear on damp days, after a night of heavy rains this strange plant would appear.

To a child they were enchanting. Though they evoked the tiniest of fear. They were reminiscent of images we had seen in our story books. usually of a leprechaun or a toad in close proximity to one.

The old folks said the spirits used it to shelter from the rain.

The folk lore told that the jumbies’, ghosts or spirits (words used interchangeably), use the ‘umbrellas’ to hide under during the rain. The reasoning behind why they came out after a night of heavy rains.

Kids will believe anything. The absurdity in retrospect is laughable.

I do not know the names of the mushroom species that grew so abundantly everywhere back then. They were pretty much taboo in our part of the world.

No one I knew ate mushrooms, they were undesirable and the word on the street was that “they ate these things in other parts of the world”. They went on to tell us they were poisonous.

So we would play with them. They were so delicate that it was easy to crush them under our feet.

Years later, I began travelling and was introduced to edible mushrooms. I immediately fell in love with their musty taste and meat-like texture.

Photo by Liza Nychyporuk on Unsplash

Mushrooms according to Wikipedia are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source.

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food rich in nutritional value. Loaded with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they can be an important addition to your diet.

Note, their particular circumstance of growth impacts their nutritional components, for eg., mushrooms grown with exposure to ultraviolet light are a good source of Vitamin DVitamin D is an important component for optimum health.

Mushrooms, according to the FDA, contain, sodium, potassium, fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin C, iron and various trace elements.

  1. Aids weight loss
  2. Lowers blood pressure
  3. Nutritional value and trace elements

Mushrooms, spinach and other foods used for cooking
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

 

The takeaway

Though my first encounter with mushrooms were negative ones. I am glad I kept an open mind when it came to trying new things.

In making a decision to try something new, I found a new low calorie food that I now love.

It is important to take some time and see another perspective, to give new experiences, new places a change, new things a try.

You may find a new joy, a new love, a new friend.

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Are We Being Served? How Technology Has Become Our Puppet Master

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Our preoccupation with technology

There are over two billion smartphone users in the world.

Using a cellular phone while driving is illegal in forty-eight states. In 2001 New York became the first state to ban the use of cellular phones while driving. Technology continues to tighten its grip.

Today, much of our time is spent using technology.

I am by no means exempt. Some days I immediately reach for my phone as soon as my eyelids separate.

I often take no thought to first giving God praise for waking me up. Sometimes I do not take a moment to plan my day before I reach out and touch technology.

Much of the projects I procrastinate on are due to the distractions of social media.

Some days I arise with a post already mentally written, only to become distracted by one ding from my phone. Or, I go to my email for some small detail and remain there for some time. Worse still it leads me to a ‘browsing’ spree.

More valuable time lost. Time I can never replace.

We have become so dependent on technology. Many of us spend more one-to-one time online than with our families.

This was not always so. Being a woman of a certain age, I did not grow up with a cellular phone in one hand.

How did this necessity become such an obsession? From the smallest child to the oldest adult, technology is all the rave.

I really never leave home without it.

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Some time ago a video circulated of an older woman in New York, she was so engrossed in her cell phone she walked into an open manhole suffering severe injuries.

There are reports of persons walking into oncoming traffic and into the arms of death, all as a result of our fascination with social media. Each is trying to one-up the other with the perfect image or post for increased likes or follows.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, approximately 76,000 persons have suffered injuries due to cellular phones use. For each 100,000 cell phone users, at least two injuries are reported.

You can do the math.

The National Library of Medicine posits that cellular phone injuries of the head and neck have drastically increased over the past 20 years, with the majority of injuries among those aged 13 to 29 years.

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Text neck syndrome

Text neck syndrome is a fairly new diagnosis characterized by pain and headache, soreness to the neck, arms, and upper back.

The cervical spine is an amazing and efficient part of our bodies. It is the pathway for nourishment, provides support, protection and allows for 180° movement.

Widespread use of technology, texting, and computers have allowed for a steep increase in injuries of the neck and upper back.

A human head weighs approximately 12 pounds and, in its correct anatomical position, the weight is evenly distributed. But as we extend our necks forward and downward, the weight on the cervical spine increases.

At a 15-degree angle, the weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s about 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.

Imagine toting 40 to 60 pounds hanging on your neck each day!

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Ways to prevent injuries

Technology is here to stay, and I would predict that the time spent on our devices may actually increase. Since prevention is not an option, let’s see how we can cure some of the pitfalls before they start: —

  1. Avoid using your device for greater than 20-minutes at any one time. Take short breaks. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet ahead.
  2. Alternate your fingers to reduce repetitive injury. Keep your wrists as relaxed and straight as possible.
  3. Reduce injury by placing your device on a hard surface, in this way you won’t have to ‘grip’ with the other hand for prolonged periods.
  4. Be mindful of your posture and keep your device at your chest, chin, or eye level, this reduces the bend and strain to your neck and upper back. If you must have your phone below eye level, try to look down using your eyes rather than your neck, (very difficult to remember and do).
  5. Stay hydrated
  6. Blink your eyes often to keep them moisturized.
  7. During breaks, walk away from your phone and perform a few stretches.

Closing thoughts

Without a doubt, the web, cellular phones, and technology have revolutionized our world. It is a thing of beauty. It has made it possible to communicate, share information, and trade goods and services in real-time.

Our world is better for it. But we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and each other so that we can master its use safely.

Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

Irresponsible use of handheld devices is not only an error of the young, the older adults fall prey to its charms as well.

There is an urgent need for consumers to be educated about the dangers of the irresponsible use of technology, and on injury prevention while using these devices.

Remain mindful as you go about your life, practice helpful body mechanics so that you may be able to enjoy browsing the world wide web for a long time to come.