Diving for beaters.

There are times I truly miss being a G.A. — that’s old-fart-journo-speak for “general assignment reporter.” You never know what’s going to turn up. I had plans to spend yesterday relaxing with my kid, maybe cleaning the house. The phone rang at 8 a.m. with news the Detroit Police dive team was going to spend the next two days fishing cars out of the river. Plans changed.

A little background: In May, this same team was doing a training dive at the point where Lake St. Clair joins the Detroit River, preparing to recover a car, when the team leader discovered what seemed to be a hand, reaching up from the bottom. It turned out to be a bronze sculpture that had been stolen several years earlier from a local institution, part of a rash of outdoor-art thefts in the area. At the time, we told the team leader to call us the next time they went looking for a car, thinking a tick-tock on how they work would be a nice feature for my journalism students.

Of course they had to call only hours ahead, too little time to scramble a team of overscheduled college students. But I was able to go, and I don’t know about you, but to me, the great thing about journalism is the permission you get to watch other people work at interesting jobs. I could have watched these guys all day, and in fact, that’s pretty much what I did. The 60-ton heavy-duty tow truck alone was a marvel; it looked like you needed a master’s in engineering just to run the thing.

The divers were trying to clear at least 14 and as many as 16 (sonar was unclear) drowned cars from what must have been a popular dumping spot, once upon a time. A patch of riverfront land that had been the site of your standard-issue 20th-century poison factory — metal plating with casual environmental standards, shudder — stood empty for years, and if you took the time to drive or push a car through the weeds to the riverbank, you found a nice open area with no seawall and 15-20 feet of water ready to swallow the evidence of your insurance fraud, no questions asked.

The divers went down in teams and strapped up the axles or frames, and the truck operator ran the winch. The wrecks came up groaning and dropping vast cauldrons of mud and crawfish. As soon as they cleared the water, the gearheads started calling out models and years. Several fell to pieces as they came free; a Ford EXP, second cousin to a Mercury Capri I once owned, lost its roof and necessitated a second dive to retrieve the rest.

And once they were on dry land, photo ops galore:

grill

What interested me the most: Even in that stew of heavy-metal waste and pollution, nature is always trying:

mudpuppies

Those are salamander eggs — mudpuppies. Ah, well — based on what crawled out of those wrecks, there’s no shortage down there.

Note the zebra mussels, an invasive species that first entered the Great Lakes in the ballast water of oceangoing freighters. They have played havoc on treatment-plant intakes and other underwater structures, but have had an undeniably positive effect on water clarity; I’ve heard many long-time Great Lakes anglers say the water’s never been cleaner.

So that was yesterday. Today I’m giving blood. In consideration, I’ve gone off all my over-the-counter analgesics for the last 72 hours. Man, do I feel old.

Bloggage:

My TV now has to stay off for two reasons: The still-unplanted corpse of Michael Jackson, and the governor of South Carolina, who has now raised humiliation of his wife to a high art. I’m with Josh Marshall — just go be with her, already.

As for Miguel Jacko, the NYT lead says it all:

Nearly a week after he died, Michael Jackson still has not been buried, new complications have arisen over settling his vast estate, and his will has given up tantalizing details, including his choice of Diana Ross as a guardian of his children if his mother were unable to care for them.

I think his family is dragging their feet because they like the publicity. I fully expect him to be stuffed and mounted by the time this is over.

To the gym and to the exsanguination table after that. Back in a bit.

Posted at 9:59 am in Current events, Detroit life |
 

63 responses to “Diving for beaters.”

  1. Colleen said on July 2, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I always thought one of the cool things about being an interviewer was getting to ask nosy questions that you couldn’t get away with in normal conversation.

    Exsanguinate is one of my favorite words.

  2. C.Rader said on July 2, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Just wanted to say, I’ve been following you on RSS for a long time and you are my number one read in the morning. I was a librarian in Fort Wayne back in the early part of the decade and may have met you once or twice, and now I’m across the state in Niles. Thanks for the writing, makes my day that much better.

  3. alex said on July 2, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Looks like a late-’70s Toyota Celica in that top photo. Am I right?

  4. Dorothy said on July 2, 2009 at 10:43 am

    You could re-write one sentence: “…stuffed and mounted … and then brought back to life via his hyperbaric oxygen chamber.” Would we even notice the difference between before and after?

  5. Deborah said on July 2, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Maybe the answer to this question is obvious – why were they pulling these cars out of their resting place? Were they an environmental problem? Were they looking for evidence of insurance fraud? Bodies? Why would they go to all that trouble and expense when there are so many other highly visible problems in Detroit?

  6. Danny said on July 2, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Dorothy, I’m partial to this word: Reanimated. I think I heard it in “Young Frankenstein” (No, it’s Franken-STIEN!!!).

    Loved this line at the end of the Sanford article:

    But it does seem like there are two guys here. One saying he wants to serve out his responsibility to his state and reconcile with his wife and another using the press to broadcast a free form love poem to the girlfriend in Argentina.

  7. James said on July 2, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I finally got my Mark Sanford cartoon done, not an easy task since the subject has been such a moving target…

  8. brian stouder said on July 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    James – funny stuff! Two questions: Do you really look like Clark Kent?

    And don’t you think the naked hiking governor would be flattered by that frame showing him holding his rod?

  9. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I put it at a mid seventies Toyota Corolla, but I easily could be wrong. It looks like a car I had once, but I swear I didn’t sink it in Detroit.
    I try to give blood every time there’s an employee blood drive here, but lately I’ve been too anemic. Hearing that always makes my day weird and I suddenly feel anemic, even if I didn’t feel bad earlier. They give me my blood drive t-shirt and coupon for a pint of Baskin Robbins anyway because I try.

  10. alex said on July 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Here she be, La Mary:

    http://www.adclassix.com/images/75toyotacelicagt.jpg

    I got the model right. You got the year.

  11. velvet goldmine said on July 2, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Did they look in the trunks while you were there? Underwater car graveyards always makes me think of that Neil Gaiman book in which it turned out that there was a murdered child’s corpse in each of the dozens of cars taken out of the lake.

  12. James said on July 2, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Brian:

    I flatter myself. This strip dealt with the disparity between how I draw myself and how I actually look.

  13. brian stouder said on July 2, 2009 at 11:55 am

    James – actually, you DO look like Clark Kent! – at least a fair-haired version. Very cool stuff, in any case

    Mary – giving blood always made me feel unwell, so I do the platelet thing, wherein they give me my red cells back (plus saline – which ends up making me cold!)

    The only thing is, the process (including questions* and so on) takes more than 2 hours – but then again, that’s mostly reclined on a chair with a blanket watching TV…which I’m good at!

    *btw Nance, do they now ask you if you were born female?

  14. MichaelG said on July 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Great cartoon, James. I’ve been thinking that same thing about Sanford, Nance. He’s gonna end up losing his job anyway. He may as well just do all of us (including himself and his tango honey) a favor and split for B. A.

    Not only is Jackson not buried yet, they still have no idea what to do with him other than that it was made very clear that his mortal remains were most emphatically not welcome in Santa Barbara County. Shudder. Now there are vague plans for some kind of memorial event at Staples Arena on Tues which I’m sure is just wonderful news for LAX and anybody who wants to get in or out of there. I’m scheduled to fly down that way on Tues AM but I’m going to Burbank so things should be OK. What bizarre people they are and what a bizarre story. The coroner or the funeral home or whomever is going to start charging demurrage.

  15. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Brian, they don’t even take my blood. They do a crit and I register as the walking dead and they send me away. I don’t look anemic, trust me. Taking iron does bad things to my digestive system and I can’t bear the taste of liver. Too many forced liver meals in my early childhood. As I said, they still give me the blood donor t shirt. The most recent one had a little cartoon of a stick figure. It said, “This is Pete. See Pete drive. See Pete crash. Give blood for Pete’s sake.” I gave the shirt to my son Pete which may or may not have been a good idea, but I knew I wasn’t going to wear it.

  16. nancy said on July 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Deborah — They use these opportunities as training. Even in our action-packed city with a watery graveyard running alongside, the dive team is a part-time detail with lots of time between assignments. So they do these interim exercises to keep the skills sharp.

    Beats patrol duty, you gotta figure.

    The sergeant and I had a chat about how they work on real cases, how they draw search grids, etc. Interesting guy.

    Brian — they didn’t ask if I was born female, but they did say, “We have you down as a female donor,” like it was a policy statement. I said, “Is there some question in your mind?” She said, “No, no, just taking note.” Ohhhh-kay.

    The big difference between giving blood then and now is the interview process, which used to be perfunctory and is now more like a deposition. So many banned pharmaceuticals. So many crazy diseases. Ugh.

    Oh, and Alex: Yes, a Toyota Celica. Don’t know what year.

  17. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    The questions on the bloodbank form are things like, “have you had sex for money?” “Have you had sex with anyone from Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe…” “Are you taking Accutane or Avodart?” “Have you eaten beef products originating in UK?”

    My life is so quiet, I never get to say yes.

  18. nancy said on July 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    LAM, I always think the same thing! “Well, I *thought* I’d led a fun life so far…” Obviously not.

  19. brian stouder said on July 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    What gets me is when they change or add a question. The process used to be saying “no….no…no….no….no”; and then they throw a question in there like “Do you feel well today”, and it became “no…no….no…errrr – yes….no….no” etc

    and btw – aside from all those questions about sex with jaundiced African hemophiliacs for money – do you realize that the American Red Cross would have no problem at all taking your blood or platelets if you were a big ol’ coke-head – so long as you never used a needle?

  20. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Thing is, I have had a pretty fun life and even being anemic, I can drop my fifteen year old. We have this game that’s been going on since he started approaching my height. I’m five ten. He’s passed me up now, but for the past year or so whenever he mentions being taller than I, I remind him I can still “take him.” Which I can since he always approaches me straight on and I always do a Judo foot sweep and land him on his ass. So, if at age 56 I can leave a healthy fifteen year old sputtering on the floor, and I can look back on some memories that I think my fortyish coworkers would think were rather wild, why I do I show as such a boring wimp at the blood bank? I mean really.

  21. Danny said on July 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    {note to self: do not approach Mary straight on.}

  22. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Danny, the foot sweep is the only move I remember from college judo class. You’re safe.

  23. Catherine said on July 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    MichaelG, the MJ funeral traffic madness may very well spread into the Valley, and industry types who don’t have their own jet love to fly into BBK. Might want to reschedule.

  24. paddyo' said on July 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Great post, Nance — but one more thing about those zebra mussels: They do, indeed, clean the water … but only too well. Probably great for the urban rivers of the Midwest, but they’re such voracious processors of lake water as they strain it for microscopic nutrients and such, they gradually rob bodies of water of the food that other critters (fish, mostly) need.
    This is particularly a problem here in the West, where the big Colorado River reservoirs (lakes Mead and Powell, and others downstream) are fighting a losing battle to keep the mussels out. Actually, Lake Mead lost that battle several years ago and is now infested in some places. Powell is trying to hold on but will lose, too. Ditto a bunch of other lakes/reservoirs from Colorado to California.

    Ahh, nature …

  25. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    MichaelG, fly in early and go have a Cuban coffee and a guava pastry at Portos in Burbank.

  26. brian stouder said on July 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    My question is – when all the folks are in Staples Center, will they sell beer/brats/tee shirts/posters/glittery gloves?

  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    In my neck of the woods, exsanguination now is possible after just 30 days if you were pierced or tattooed by a state licensed operator; more informally done piercings & skin art get you a one year deferral. My only “yes” is military service, and when they hear i merely defended Virginia from invasion by Maryland (succesfully, i might add), they move on.

    Two more, and i get my 12 gallon pin! I’m O- and read a pitch when i was 18 by Robert Heinlein for the Rare Blood Club, and have been a regular ever since.

  28. coozledad said on July 2, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    LA Mary: I’m slightly anemic, but O negative, so they’re always happy to take my blood. I used to give blood fairly consistently, and that’s when our physician suggested I needed to take iron.
    Since my cholesterol is pretty high (290s) I wonder if getting blood from me would be like eating a side of beef, or a wheel of Brie.

  29. moe99 said on July 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Guess the Washington Post is more of a ho than we ever even guessed:

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/07/dont_look_good.php?ref=fpblg

  30. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    A wheel of Brie? You could market your blood as gourmet as well as universally donatable. Maybe I could consider mine “lite” blood.

  31. Jolene said on July 2, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Moe, the WaPo salons appear to have been a very embarrassing mistake. They’re not going to happen. One less sign of the decline of almost everything.

  32. Julie Robinson said on July 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    If you are O negative and also haven’t had a common virus then they really love you and call you up to remind you that you have “that special blood we give to babies”. That’s a hard one to resist.

    We had a good laugh when our daughter said rather seriously that she didn’t think she could give blood since she had gone to Thailand last year. But have you ever given blood, I asked? Nope, but now she has a good excuse.

  33. alex said on July 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Well, I’m not allowed to give blood, never mind that I’m HIV-negative and in perfect health. Meanwhile any promiscuous hetero is welcome to exsanguinate all over the damn place.

  34. MichaelG said on July 2, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Yeah, the swells like to fly into Santa Monica and Van Nuys too. I’m not going to sweat it.

    I see there’s also a Porto’s in Glendale. Is one better than the other?

    I had malaria twice when I was in the service. That used to raise some big red flags with the blood people.

  35. LAMary said on July 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    They are both great. Try the potato balls as well. Now I’m getting hungry.

  36. MichaelG said on July 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Here’s a story about the cars in the river complete with video.

    http://jalopnik.com/5306306/fifteen-mysterious-cars-pulled-from-detroit-river

    Nance, were you wearing a blue tank top and white shorts? Check the woman at about 1:14 — 1:12.

  37. MichaelG said on July 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Oh shit. I just read the funeral is going to be at Forest Lawn at 10:00 AM with the Staples Center memorial to follow. I gotta be in Hollywood at 10:00.

  38. Dorothy said on July 2, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    That sure looked like our Nance.

  39. nancy said on July 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Yep, c’est moi.

  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Alex, that one really does baffle me; i assume they HIV test all blood anyhow. I wonder what they do when they have a unit zip thru the pre-test, give it to a recipient, and then find in the later test there’s an HIV involvement? Because the only rationale i can think of is that if the donor got HIV fairly recently, there’s not enough antibody built up in the blood to ring the bell . . . but surely that’s happened with a hetero-exsanguinator.

  41. alex said on July 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Maybe they should do Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    I remember one time at a former place of employment we were all being browbeaten to donate blood. I demurred but found it awkward because I didn’t want to out myself. What shocked me, however, was that a gay employee—in HR, no less—did go and give blood anyway. Probably thought it was good for his image. No doubt there are a lot of closeted people out there, exactly the sort who knuckle under to conformity, subverting this rule and tainting the blood supply with their fairy dust.

  42. Rana said on July 2, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    O-neg here, and I used to get calls from the donation center all the time when I was in college. They had an uncanny knack for calling during finals and midterms weeks with plaintive stories about the peds wards.

    I feel an obligation to donate, since as an O-neg person I’m in the group most dependent on typed donations, but it’s just not possible anymore. These days a blood draw for a cholesterol test (a few ccs at most) makes me faint enough that I have to lie on the couch drinking milk and orange juice for about 20 minutes before I can be trusted to stand up. Donating a full pint is out of the question; I’d be flat for days.

    The guilt persists, however. I’m very grateful that those who can, do.

  43. nancy said on July 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Rana, after what you said about food yesterday, I aspire to your bird-like constitution. I fear I was spawned from one of those bloodlines that is more closely related to oxen. Today the woman in the canteen ordered me to eat a second snack, so I could stay the full 10 minutes, and ARMS ON THE TABLE WHERE I CAN SEE THAT BAND-AID, PLEASE. I finally begged off at 10 minutes and a few seconds and rode my bike home. Haven’t felt a bit funny all day.

  44. MichaelG said on July 2, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    In the army they used to get guys to give blood in the AM and then give everybody the rest of the day off. They would all run down to the club and get drunk for cheap. Very drunk and very cheap. I say “they” since they wouldn’t let me donate because of the Malaria history.

  45. Colleen said on July 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I got woozy once, and man, they had me ass over teakettle in no time….i was just concentrating on not barfing all over the Red Cross. Last time I went, it was a no-go…all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t stick me. And after about the third time of “stick. wiggle wiggle wiggle”, I was ready to go….

    But I need to go back again soon. I’m nothing special, A+, but still, every bit helps.

  46. Rana said on July 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    The downside of the birdlike constitution, Nancy, is the getting stupid/cranky/unable to focus part. I have to graze all day if I’m to ingest enough calories to avoid that. (It sounds amusing, until you’ve spent the last hour trying to maintain focus in order to fix a meal and repeatedly failing.) (Like right now, in fact. Self! Go eat!)

    I have plenty of good ol’ peasant stock in my family – we’ve a tendency to start out thin and then sturdy-up as we age. I expect that this will happen about the first time I get pregnant, and then there’ll be no looking back!

    On the blood-giving stories – it’s a toss-up as to which was more memorable: The time this huge rugby player just rolled up his eyes and crumpled; the time the nurse kept taking repeated goes at what she described as my “small, rolling veins” (I still have a divot-shaped scar in my elbow); the time I lowered my arm too soon and bled onto the rug before I realized that something felt off and looked down.

    Oh, wait. I’m supposed to be encouraging people to give blood!
    Well, the cookies and the glow of satisfaction are good.

    MichaelG – great video. I hadn’t realized that those cars would be so… floppy. Loved the mud puppy, too.

    Oh, yeah. I was trying to make something to eat, wasn’t I?

  47. Dexter said on July 2, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    MichaelG…I was just getting ready to ask you about the blood thing. After I was out of the army my old buddy’s mom came around to sign people up for the blood drive the next week at her church, so I signed up. When the Red Cross worker had me fill out a screening form and then she read it, I was told to go away and not bother to ever try to donate my tainted Viet Nam polluted blood, even though the malaria pills worked and I never got malaria. I wonder if the standards are still like that…I mean, for tourists? If you visit Viet Nam for a cycling tour does that put you on the same shit list I am on? I get a complete physical exam every year and I am not anemic nor do I have any blood disorders.

  48. Deborah said on July 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    A negative here. When my daughter was born O positive I had to have a shot of something called Rho-gam (or whatever) because of the Rh factor, complications that could occur with a succeeding pregnancy, but I only had one child so I guess I really didn’t need it. I remember it hurt like hell, and shots usually never bother me.
    I used to give blood a lot but I don’t do it anymore as I’ve gotten older, I figure I need all I’ve got now.

  49. Jolene said on July 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Alex, my last few donations were at company-sponsored blood drives conducted by the Red Cross, and they had a procedure designed to let people appear to donate blood but still signal the blood bank people that the blood should not be used. Essentially, you would go through the process having told all the lies that would make you eligible to donate, but, at the end, you would be asked to paste a sealed statement saying “do not use this blood” on the blood itself.

    The last time I went, I told them I’d had melanoma (only a small spot, detected early, removed, no recurrence so far), and they said I wouldn’t be eligible to donate for five years. They sent me away w/ a one-page form specifying when I could return. Made me laugh, as the likelihood that someone w/ my organizational skills would remember where that form was in five years seemed pretty low.

  50. basset said on July 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I’m A-positive with, they tell me, unusually high iron levels – and I actually like liver. Never had Chagas’ disease, babesiosis, or a dura-matter transplant, either… couple more donations and I get my nine-gallon pin, those are just the ones we’ve kept track of in the last few years.

    On the other hand, I’m too fat for the giveaway T-shirts. It all evens out.

  51. 4dbirds said on July 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I lived in Europe in the 80s and 90s. For some reason that now makes me unclean. Mad cow? I appreciate those who give. My daughter used up lot of pints when she was being treated for leukemia.

  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 2, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    When i ran blood drives in seminary, all kinds of people who had been in malaria zones before were told “you’ll never be able to give again.”

    That was 1988 — the rules for what gets you a deferral have changed dramatically, so people who had been told specifically never to give are well advised to check if they feel fairly healthy. But right now, the big “whoops” is Europe, mainly England, since prion diseases (aka Mad Cow) are really hard to test for, and that’s where the main occurrence has been.

    I’m assuming that on the England/parts of Africa/homosexual blanket deferrals that they’ve done a cost/benefit calculation that doing the most thorough and speedy test on the blood products would cost enough that it’s worth it to just try to exclude the general population affected, even though it will lose them many units unnecessarily to avoid the handful they’re trying to avoid. I understand cost/benefit analysis, but i wonder if they’re taking a broad enough view of “cost” in the case of excluding any donor with same sex activity in their history.

  53. Catherine said on July 3, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Deborah, I’m O and my 2nd daughter is A. After she was born, the doctor & nurses scared the daylights out of me with the whole A-O incompatibility thing. Apparently, I could have killed her with my blood type, which I guess is the opposite of your experience. I had heard about Rh factor incompatibilty, and knew it was unlikely given my husband’s and my types, but the A-O thing was completely news. Both my kids developed jaundice as newborns, which is an early sign of hemolytic disease in newborns that are type A when mom is O. Long story short, she is now nearly 9 and the healthiest person I know…

  54. Dexter said on July 3, 2009 at 12:53 am

    ha! Those comments at jalopnik were hilarious!

  55. Dexter said on July 3, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I am bored with this sanford thing, but here’s his chick:

    http://www.inmodelsagency.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Maria_Bel%C3%A9n_Mu%C3%B1oz2.223155642_std.jpg

    I ain’t bored no more!

  56. Jolene said on July 3, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I don’t think so, Dexter, unless this picture was taken a long time ago. The woman, Maria Belen Chapur, is 42 years old and has had two kids. Here she is, broadcasting from NY on 9/11. Also very beautiful, though.

  57. Lex said on July 3, 2009 at 9:54 am

    [[Today the woman in the canteen ordered me to eat a second snack, so I could stay the full 10 minutes, and ARMS ON THE TABLE WHERE I CAN SEE THAT BAND-AID, PLEASE.]]

    When I exsanguinated on Wednesday, I wasn’t going to stay long, but then underneath all the granola bars and boxes of raisins, I found HONEY BUNS!! So I deigned to remain a few extra minutes. As is well known, calories consumed during exsanguination don’t count.

    This did not, however, prevent the clot from popping out of the puncture site a few hours later while I was in the grocery store. First time in 30+ years of donating (and various other blood-test-type puncturing) that I’d ever had that happen. I had blood down my left arm all the way to my fingers and had begun getting strange looks from cashiers & other shoppers before I noticed. The Bloodmobile was right there in the parking lot, though, so at least no one thought I was lying about the cause.

    I’m also very unhappy with the Red Cross. As I say, I’ve been giving blood a long time, but somehow all my records disappeared, so according to them, I’ve only given twice in my life. I think someone put me in the Witness Protection Program when I wasn’t paying attention.

    Happy Fourth, all.

  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 3, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Lex — Red Cross doesn’t maintain a national database, which strikes me and everyone i’ve ever asked as quite peculiar, but has long been the case. So my near 12 gallons total is a number only i have, since i’ve given in West Lafayette, IN; Indianapolis; Quantico, VA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; central Ohio (multiple locations, but all one “chapter”); Pittsburgh, PA; and Fairmont, WV. None of those “count” the others, and if you give to a non-ARC blood bank, that’s a different registry as well, but they all are usually happy to tally whatever you tell them and hand over the pin . . . where i live now, i got sent in the mail a 3 gallon pin and an invitation to a “regular donor dinner” that i went to, thinking (correctly) i could get a column out of it.

    Next to me, a fellow who had given since Pearl Harbor, was quite annoyed that they were recognizing him for 11 gallons donated because he knew darn good and well he’d given 46; the conversation when the ARC director came by our table was rather amusing, but instructive.

    And if you don’t give in any one area for a couple of years, they scrub you off the database.

  59. Deborah said on July 3, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Catherine, the way it was explained to me is that it is a positive negative incompatibility not an A/O problem. If the mother has negative anything and the child has positive anything (or vice versa I think?) there is a risk for the next pregnancy after that one. But this was explained 34 years ago when my daughter was born so I may not be remembering it correctly.

  60. James said on July 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Jolene and Dexter:

    I think you’re both right. It looks like the same woman (same hair part, face shape and bone structure, anyway). Maybe it’s her daughter…

  61. Jolene said on July 3, 2009 at 10:43 am

    No, both Chapur’s children are boys, ages 15 and 19. And she’s only 42. Unlikely, she’d have a daughter in her mid-20s, which is what the younger woman appears to be. Also, the two women’s eyes are different in ways unrelated to age or cosmetics.

    Will be interested to see what Dexter has to say about where he found the photo he linked to.

    Also, a correction re when the video was made: An article I just looked at said she was reporting from NYC “in the aftermath” of 9/11, and another said it was the one-month anniversary of 9/11.

  62. Rana said on July 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Deborah – you have it basically correct. If a negative mother has a positive embryo/fetus, her body gets sensitized by it and develops antibodies against the positive blood markers. Any subsequent positive embryo/fetus would be attacked by those antibodies. So the first positive pregnancy’s okay; it’s subsequent ones that are at risk, unless they give the mother Rhogam to counter-act the antibody formation. (I don’t know where miscarriages fit into all this; I would assume that those pregnancies would count as well, if the embryo were positive.) It wouldn’t run the other way (neg fetus, pos mother), in that the fetus isn’t being sensitized by the mother in the same way. (I don’t believe, anyway – I’m not a doctor, just an Rh-neg woman who has an interest in this.)

  63. Catherine said on July 3, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Yes to both Rana and Deborah, the Rh factor is independent of the blood type, and the danger is to subsequent pregnancies. The A-O incompatibility is different, and affects an A baby with an O mother. Jes’ bringing it up as another wierd mother-baby blood thing.