Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Day Five

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  • Lilith __,

    something to ground me and I thought Tai chi would be perfect

    Tai chi makes a big thing about feeling connected to the earth, lowering the body's centre of gravity, and relaxing the body to feel the strength of the ground firm beneath you.

    To all of which on Saturday I was thinking "HAH!"

    My relationship with the ground has become less trusting and more coldly formal!

    But doing the tai chi made me feel better anyhow. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3466 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Or it's been good for mine, anyhow. Also helpful has been distracting myself with DVDs, books, short walks, tai chi on the lawn, anything that changes the focus, even for a little while.

    Yes, folks, be aware that different people deal with shock in different ways, and if someone isn't talking about it, sometimes that's the way they want it. I haven't been through an earthquake but did endure 3 weeks of trauma when my first child was born, and I found that one of the things that really comforted me was "getting back to normality", living in a hospital (and I guess a busted up home with things not working with every routine in your life disrupted) can make you go nuts.

    So I'd try to do things that I would do any normal day, and try to do them in the normal way. Actually doing work is a very good idea, and Emma and David are wise to write, because that is what they do. Socialize with people, and if you don't want to, don't talk about the quakes, talk about sport or politics or whatever it is you talk about. Play your sport, read your books, browse the net. At least some of the time - reality will assert itself anyway when it's time to step up for the next round of crisis coping.

    The shock processing could take quite a while, months or even years. I don't think I really allowed myself to grieve for about a year, because during that year there was just too much to do.

    I'm not saying don't talk if you want to talk. Just that respecting how other people cope is important. For some people, everyone calling constantly to find out how you are is really nice. For me it was not, and I took the advice of the hospital social worker and delegated the job of keeping everyone informed to my mother-in-law, so that I wouldn't have to go over the same thing afresh 15 times every day, just once to her, and then to anyone I chose. Some of the people were a little bit gutted about that, because they really wanted to talk to me. But that was what they wanted, not what I wanted. And being a bit selfish about your own (and your closest loved ones) mental health is sometimes quite justified.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I get dragged in as soon as the three months is up from the last time, and they're always desperate for new donors, particularly people who will consider platelet donation at the moment.

    Interesting - I've never been asked to come in if I leave it longer than three months, even though I do donate quite regularly. Mind you, I do have the third-least-useful blood type - obviously there's enough of us donating it was never worth the trouble of hitting me up for some more!

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    They won't let me donate in NZ on account of the fact that I have a very bening heart murmur, whereas in Italy it was never an issue. I'm just waiting for them to lower their standards basically... The next disaster could do it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Interesting - I've never been asked to come in if I leave it longer than three months, even though I do donate quite regularly.

    I'm O-, so it's practically like clockwork.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6201 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I like donating blood (well, not so much like as think it is a good thing to do) but remain stymied as we were living in the UK in the 1980s, and it is feared our blood might turn everyone into mad cows. Surely this is being over-cautious!?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2316 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I like donating blood (well, not so much like as think it is a good thing to do) but remain stymied as we were living in the UK in the 1980s, and it is feared our blood might turn everyone into mad cows. Surely this is being over-cautious!?

    One suddenly wonders: what do they do about the vegetarians who lived in Britain then?

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    NZ blood service seems to be remarkably over cautious about who they allow to donate blood. I recently discovered they have a blanket that they have a blanket restriction on breastfeeding mothers which makes perfect sense in the weeks post-partum but is a bit of a nonsense when they are turning away healthy women who are nursing a toddler once or twice a day.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I've never been allowed to donate blood - and I wonder how they get on, really, with this silly rule. Because so many of us were in the UK in the 80's. And I have never met anyone who has mad cow disease. Well, not the medical sort anyway.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Lucy: some vegetarians still ate things with animal products (eg gelatine). Just been rung for our blood. Unfortunately, Oscar (O+) and me (A-) are both fainters after blood donation.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2095 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    we were living in the UK in the 1980s, and it is feared our blood might turn everyone into mad cows.

    Or Grey Teddy Bears apparently.
    ;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4869 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Well, you know, a tall , lanky sort of teddybear, anyway.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I think the NZ blood service guarantees the good quality of its blood by two things (spot the person who's had to read the pamphlet about 15 times) - extensive testing of blood, and strict conditions about higher risk groups. Not everything can be tested for, and some people have conditions which only become apparent after the blood would have been used. They reduce the risk of taking 'bad' blood by excluding a bunch of people.

    Some things in don't make sense to me at a glance - different standards for males and females having anal sex for example - but maybe that's backed up by risk percentages.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6201 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Some things in don't make sense to me at a glance - different standards for males and females having anal sex for example - but maybe that's backed up by risk percentages.

    I remember how furious I was that I couldn't give blood for a year because I'd slept with a boy who'd slept with a boy. Even though we always used condoms. I wonder how many people who don't know the sexual histories of their partners and who haven't always been careful are allowed to donate blood.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Crowley,

    I have to say that getting out there and contributing to the cleanup does make you feel better and takes your mind off worrying about the next aftershock. My job has me helping isolate the power and repairing the underground cables to get buildings up and running whilst isolating those in danger of falling down. Everybody that is contributing in such a way is doing a terrific job and the genuine words of appreciation from the public are extremely rewarding.
    I have to say I was extremely impressed by the skill of the 23 Tonne excavator operator that plucked both a painting and a crystal chandellier out of the 2nd floor of one muntered building on Victoria St today. To return to the owner.

    Otautahi • Since Nov 2008 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Brief video of skillful demolition on Riccarton Road.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16740 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I remember how furious I was that I couldn't give blood for a year because I'd slept with a boy who'd slept with a boy. Even though we always used condoms. I wonder how many people who don't know the sexual histories of their partners and who haven't always been careful are allowed to donate blood.

    Well, it's not so much a matter of 'allowed'; you sign a declaration that you meet all the standards and you're sure your blood's OK, and they have to go by that - so yes, those people probably do get through (though they do, obviously, test it as well.) I think they rely mostly on the sort of people who donate blood being the sort of people who take the restrictions and risks seriously and will call off, or call afterwards, if they remember a reason their blood shouldn't be used. Which would screen out *most* of the people they deem high-risk.

    It's certainly not a perfect system, in terms of fairness - but 'fair' isn't really what they're worried about.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Well, it's not so much a matter of 'allowed'; you sign a declaration that you meet all the standards and you're sure your blood's OK

    Admittedly it was a good nine years ago or so, but I'm pretty certain that I definitely wasn't allowed. Of course, once I was finally 'clean' and not actually sick the day a blood collection unit was nearby, I ended up being as weak as a kitten for three days after donating and I can't spare that much sick leave again so I'm unsure if I can donate in the future.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Admittedly it was a good nine years ago or so, but I'm pretty certain that I definitely wasn't allowed.

    Internet Language Deficiency; no, you're not allowed, but they have no way to definitively tell whether you're telling the truth or not (or, as you say, whether you accurately know your partners' sexual histories.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I appear to be disbarred on four or five grounds.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    I remember how furious I was that I couldn't give blood for a year because I'd slept with a boy who'd slept with a boy.

    I was pretty irate when the Red Cross guy at a school blood drive wouldn't let me give blood because "people from Europe aren't eligible because of Mad Cow".

    Would not believe that New Zealand isn't in Europe. Would not call the office for verification. My O- blood and I went back to the office undepleted.

    A stern letter was written. Oh, yes, a very stern letter indeed.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    I appear to be disbarred on four or five grounds.

    It's like a public-health-sponsored Purity Test.

    Would not believe that New Zealand isn't in Europe.

    "It's near Iceland, right?" (Actual quote from actual Ivy League undergrad).

    Could be worse; a friend of mine was repeatedly asked for her TOEFL results. Took multiple conversations between the relevant NZ and US university authorities to clear it up. All in English, of course.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Wifey works for an American based company. She is forever getting calls at 3am. They just don't get it. Seem to have no idea the world is round and the sun never sets.

    Just like when you have to register on a site and click the dropdown for "where do you live" and there is nothing but USA States on the list.

    HELLO! YOO HOO! WE LIVE HERE TOO YOU KNOW!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    What drives me bonkers is 'will not ship overseas' US companies (and they are LEGION). What, filling out a customs label is too much for you? I'll even pay a bit extra for that! But no. I have a feeling they all think it's Far Too Terribly Complicated, when it obviously isn't.

    (Related sub-peeve: the companies who will ship overseas, but charge mind-numbingly high prices for it. No, actually, I know how long it takes to fill out a customs label AND I know how much it costs to send something from there to here using normal post, so, in essence: bite me.)

    Could be worse; a friend of mine was repeatedly asked for her TOEFL results.

    I just clicked. A *New Zealand* friend. Oh dear.

    I have been told that NZ was 'near Norway', and 'in Europe'; asked what language we usually speak at home; and was irritatedly asked why I was 'putting on an accent'. My mother was asked if we wore grass skirts around the house; an English friend was asked if they had *electricity* in England and (by the same people) told that they would love to visit England but 'couldn't live without peanut butter'.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Wifey works for an American based company. She is forever getting calls at 3am. They just don't get it. Seem to have no idea the world is round and the sun never sets.

    I have one client in the States and they used to do that constantly. So I changed my number and simply refused to give them the new one - it was the only way. Note that this is an agency that works with translators all over the world, so you'd think they would have worked out the concept of time zones. But no.

    (Incidentally, the 3am phone call when you have family overseas is not a pleasant thing.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

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