A Sidekick's Blog

Next Stage of Life, Perhaps | November 3, 2012

Turning a corner, like it or not. Until recently my life was all about my family. Now the “nest is empty,” so to speak, and I’m feeling like the unfortunate folks in the Left Behind novels, just waiting to see what happens next, and in search of what to do with myself other than work to stay alive – but what is life about now?

Career news: After training and supervised procedures, I finally just got signed off on “Alyx,” which is a form of pheresis (automated) donation. Using Alyx, blood donors are able to donate only the needed components (let’s say Red Cells – the “bread and butter” of blood banking) and get back the other components. 85% of transfused blood is what they call “packed red cells.” Alyx allows me to process whole blood into packed red cells and return the plasma and platelets to the donor. Advantages for recipients and donors:

When their donation leaves our center, it is “lab ready.” As soon as the donor’s blood is tested for communicable diseases and passes, those red cells are already processed and ready for the recipient(s), so Alyx gets it where it’s needed faster. Also, if a patient needs more than one unit of red cells, it’s far better to receive two from the same donor because it reduces the chance of reaction to antibodies and such. Alyx donors can donate two units of red cells because they get their plasma and platelets back, and leave the center “fluid balanced.” Much better for them than being a pint low and dealing with light headedness or whatever.

So, not even a year into my career there, I’m advancing to pheresis and making myself more valuable to the company. Hopefully my progress will also result in higher pay before too long. I hope so, because I’m still at starting pay.

Family News: My daughter and her husband flew out to Arizona last week to be evaluated as to their readiness and aptitude for a spot on the mission field with New Tribes Mission. Currently my son-in-law is a flight instructor at a local flight school, but since before they married they had their hearts set on missions. My daughter is teaching special students at the Reading Clinic here in town, and on the mission field she would be teaching the children of missionaries at a base compound while her husband would fly missionaries and supplies into and out of remote tribal areas from that compound. It looks like NTM is trying to “fast track” them to Papua, New Guinea where the need is especially urgent. PNG is where he grew up – the son of missionaries. For him it will be like a home going, but for my daughter, a step into a whole ‘nother world. So it’s especially good that he already knows that world and can help her adapt to it. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be in training right after the school year ends, and out to PNG about late October of next year.

Friday morning my son will graduate from Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. We are driving up on Thursday to join him. He’ll have 36 hours of liberty before returning to the base for Cavalry school. Out again near Christmastime, graduating from “Cav school” with a big ol’ Stetson hat and spurs, an Army tradition dating back to the Continental days. From there, we still don’t know yet. But during that brief respite from the Army a wedding is in the works. My son’s fiancee is a sweet girl who is completely naive and ill prepared for Army life. I think it will be especially tough for her to adapt. She’s smart though, and both are fully committed to God and to each other, and that is the the main thing of course.

So all the cool stuff is happening to my kids and suddenly my own life is just boring. Work is all I have anymore, and church is well, distant to me. Maybe that’ll get better after I adjust to this “empty nest” life, but for now there’s a great, striking emptiness, with only work and more work to fill the void. When I get through with my stupid pity party, maybe I’ll finally get to writing that book I’ve been meaning to get done, taken from the archives of the old ExCharisma ministry.

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