There’s something to be said about second chances.  Before leaving for ZA, in early December, I went to the Puget Blood Center bank to donate my blood platelets.  For those of you don’t know, the first and only time I did blood platelets, I had possibly the worst experience of my life (I’m only being slightly dramatic).  I hadn’t felt like such a failure in a long time: I had explicitly been ordered to eat food before coming in (I hadn’t) and my blood wasn’t easily pumping out.  They start by giving you about a 90-minute timeframe and mine had been slowed down to probably about 2 hours.  A monitor informs you with heavy beeps when to pump your wrist to let blood flow and then when to open your vein and relax (i.e. not pump or roll the stick) so that the blood can be pumped back into your body.  The sensation is bizarre.  You feel a slight vibration as the blood re-enters your body, stripped of the platelet and the needle becomes more rigid and painful with time.  Of course, I wasn’t paying much attention to the screen as I was writing the novel of my hiking excursion from a few weeks back on scraps of beat-up/recycled paper.  When I left the blood bank, I promised myself I would never do it again.  Low and behold, a week or two later for several weeks, the blood bank called me and told me they needed my platelets.  Not just “they” needed my platelets but New York and New Jersey needed my platelets for all the survivors of Hurricane Sandy and this guilt weighed upon me to the extent that I researched blood banks in Washington DC.  Yesterday, around December 5th, I went back determined to make this work and to help out those who needed me.  For one, I felt like the doctor told me I was the most attractive woman he has ever met when he told me I had great veins.  I’m not sure if it had something to do with the fact that I had just cut off my hair and was in the adjustment period, convinced I looked like a small 12 year old boy and as a result of feeling that I had lost my beautiful locks, I emphasized myself as a 12-year old boy by wearing jeans and striped t-shirts.  The donation ended up being simple as pie…. blood flowed smoothly and quickly (I beat the time).  And I feel I have learned this lesson over and over again in the last few months.  Your initial judgment or notion is not always correct and you need a second chance to feel it out.