Celebrate your milestones, whatever they are

3 Light the Night walkers with their Survivor t-shirts

We leave on our big vacation in 12 sleeps. When we were first planning this vacation, J. told me her rush of fall weddings would end immediately following Thanksgiving. We could be on the plane already, except I didn’t want to miss the annual leukemia walk. Which would you choose, a trip to Israel or a leukemia walk? Don’t answer that.

This decision to delay the vacation may not make sense to you; I’m a little bewildered by it myself. Going on this annual walk, hanging out with my fellow leukemics, wearing my guest-of-honour SURVIVOR t-shirt, has become a significant event in my year. I’ll try to explain.

My definition of a milestone has changed over my five years with leukemia. After I became so sick, I was proud of being able to walk unassisted and to tie my shoes without falling over. I vividly recall my first post-diagnosis yoga class, which I survived despite falling over a few times. I remember cooking my first real dinner post diagnosis, and seeing my first client. Being alert enough to drive again was another milestone.

As time passes, the goals have shifted. There’s the annual Cancer Centre’s Christmas gift-basket draw, which means I’m alive to lose my money again for a good cause. I don’t hate my birthday anymore, and the importance of cancerversaries is self-explanatory. For whatever reason, this leukemia walk has taken on an odd significance in my annual calendar. It’s my prize for getting leukemia and not dying from it.

This year’s will be all the more special because I will finally receive my 5-year pin. Now you know the real reason I delayed my vacation: I wanted a silly little commemorative pin. Frankly, I could have lied about how many years I’d had the illness and received this pin anytime–no one asks for a doctor’s letter–but I’m too honest for such deception.

This coveted pin is nothing to speak of. It’s the shape and colour of a drop of blood with a 5 on it. The blood-drop symbol is almost identical to that used by Canadian Blood Services. When I wear my pin proudly, people may well assume I am a blood donor (I selfishly only take blood), and not a leukemia survivor.

Does it matter that the pin will have meaning only to me? Of course not. If anyone asks, I can always set them straight. (Ha ha. “Gay person sets unknowing one straight.” And they say we’re out [no pun intended, truly] to convert people!)

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I never envisioned reaching goals like these. Now, planning for my next milestone keeps me hopeful that leukemia is not going to take my life. No wonder cancer-related goals, however insignificant, have become so important to me.

Then, two days later, J. and I will leave for Israel. Who ever thought I’d get any doctor’s blessing to travel so far? Yet another cause for celebration. That and anticipation of the best hummus and falafel anywhere. I can almost taste it….

A plate of hummus with falafel balls in the middle

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Volunteering by proxy

Calgary Stampede midway crowded with people

That’s me in the top right corner.

I must apologize for not writing yesterday, especially since I know how you hang on my every word. I spent the day carousing at the Stampede grounds. Just kidding. I’d rather sleep than watch adults young and old embarrassing themselves in public.

Stampede is a time for reckless alcohol overconsumption. With that comes an increase in philandering, and of course, STIs and unwanted pregnancies, despite the local campaign to “put a condom on your cowboy.” Not surprisingly, divorces spike following the week-long party. Stampeding sounds too risky to me, so I hunker down at home instead.

J., on the other hand, plans two visits to the grounds with our good friend, Triple D. They will be there from supper time until midnight both nights, but they won’t have time for drinking or philandering; they’ll be selling lottery tickets for fancy cars. They are volunteering for this task in support of PALS. J. noticed that PALS was seeking people for this fundraising event, and not only did she volunteer for two long shifts, she signed up Triple D, who is known for always making time for a good deed.

When I became a PAL, I learned that, in addition to our regularly scheduled visits, I’d be expected to support the organization in other ways. This included, for example, interviewing new recruits, helping out on the multi-station dog-assessment day, or attending fundraising events with or without my little pal in tow.

Most of these activities involve longer hours than I have the stamina for, so I pass. I do my part by volunteering for one-time visits–last week’s parade is a recent example, although that day felt more like a gift than an obligation–on top of our regularly scheduled visits with the old folks.

The same is true for Calgary Blood Services. I can’t donate blood, so I feed soup and cookies to those who can, and try to encourage healthy others to donate in my stead. I’m grateful to J. for persisting in giving despite her fainting after her second blood donation, and to my dear friend known affectionately as Spongebob (for reasons that will remain a mystery to you) who donated for the first time last month with no ill effects. Anticipating the milkshake he’d be buying on his way home probably helped him through the itty bitty pin prick.

Maybe I shouldn’t say that I pass on the volunteer duties I can’t fulfill since the truth is that I pass them on to gracious and willing others wherever I can. I wish I could volunteer myself, but I know my limits. A 6-hour sales shift ending at midnight–assuming I did not sleep through the chaos like Jelly did at that parade–would knock me out for days. I also know that the screening interviewers at Canadian Blood Services would laugh at me if I tried to donate blood despite my leukemia. I know what my limits are, and that there are some things I can’t do, however much I wish I could.

Kudos to those folks, J. et al., who donate their time or their gift of life (blood, that is) in my stead. Their generosity makes my heart sing, and I’m not the heart-singing type.

Increasing my blog’s readership, one visitor at a time

It was a record week with two real live clients. For whatever reason, my second client found the session helpful and decided to rebook. At this rate, I may actually have a bit of income to declare at year end. Do you think her rebooking had anything to do with the despairing look on my face as the session neared its end? Or my begging? I thought so too.

I commended this client for making contact since we hadn’t seen each other for some time. I can’t imagine calling my therapist not knowing if she’d died since we’d last met. Kudos to her for taking the risk. I believe she could see, once she arrived, that my death is not imminent, or at least doesn’t seem to be so.

On a much triter note, I’d love my writing to find a larger audience. All writers would, wouldn’t they? Sometimes my narcissistic side wonders why my blog hasn’t garnered more attention over time. Is it my abrasively opinionated stance? My biting humour? How about my many random syntax errors? You’re probably wondering whether I’ll ever learn to stop my participles from dangling.

Despite my ongoing efforts to keep you entertained–“Enough already,” you say, “I wouldn’t have committed to this blog if I knew we’d be forging a long-term relationship”–I haven’t yet garnered any publishing contracts, I’ve had no requests for guest articles in esteemed newspapers, no talk-show appearances, not even any invitations to relocate to L.A. Perhaps my fame will follow my death, just like that of Bach or van Gogh.

It would probably help if I used social media to broaden my reading audience, but, because I don’t live with a teenager, I’m at a loss. I’ve taken a more primitive approach to expanding readership instead: I awkwardly tell people about the blog and ask them to take a look.

Sadness doll

Can you see the resemblance?

Take, for example, Mr. Platelet at the Calgary Blood Services clinic, the regular platelet donor who likened me to Little Miss Sunshine a few weeks back rather than my soulmate, Sadness, from Inside Out. You know Sadness, who’s forever trying to bring Joy down. (As a side note, notwithstanding the pale blue facial tone, I bear a striking resemblance to Sadness, even when I’m happy. The higher-than-average BMI, the frumpy sweater, the glasses, and the eyes that are always wide open. Hey, maybe that’s why Sadness is always sad. She’s tired all the time!)

I caught up with Mr. Platelet–would “Little Mr. Sunshine” be a better moniker?–this past Monday when I was volunteering and, while he was quietly eating his soup, I told him how touched I was by his kind words last time he was in. And then I clumsily directed him to the recent blog post where he’d played a starring role. In yet another act of kindness, he gamely read the post while consuming his soup. And just like that, I increased my readership that day. Poor fellow probably didn’t know what hit him. Even my clients would say I’ve never been known for my delicate touch.

No wonder my blog readership is increasing at a snail’s pace. Should I reconsider the social media approach? It’s less intrusive. Now I just need a teenager….

Social media icons (twitter, Pinterest, youtube

In certain circles, I’m known as Little Miss Sunshine

Stuffed toy of Little Miss Sunshine

If you think Sadness and Fear are my constant companions, I beg to differ. Sure, I’ve been a little off kilter lately due to my gouty complications, my unrelenting fatigue, and my difficulty handling doctor change, but the rest of the time, Joy prevails.

If you know me only by what I write, you may envision my holding back tears all the time. You may even wonder how I ever managed to become a psychologist. Before you write my provincial regulatory body to rescind my license lest I harm the public, I beg you to hear me out.

Despite your negative preconceptions, under the right conditions I am an unimaginable bundle of joy. I bring light and life to those around me. People can’t help but smile when I enter a room, and not only because my fly is undone.

To demonstrate my point, I’d like to share a story from earlier this week, before I became unduly distracted–and distressed, I might add, in case you didn’t pick that up–by the Trauma of the Changing of the Doctors. My moment of unbridled happiness took place on Monday afternoon while I was volunteering at Canadian Blood Services.

I’ve been on the Monday shift since I started volunteering at the clinic last September. It turns out that donors often set their appointments on the same day of the week, and that over the months I’ve become familiar with many Monday donors. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can anticipate their soup preferences or cookie choices, but I do see them on a fairly regular basis.

Earlier in the shift, I was feeling somewhat verklempt because I had met a donor who was profoundly hearing impaired. I did not realize her impairment until I noticed her reading my lips and heard an unusual lilt in her voice. Her hearing was impaired, but her blood was not, so in she came to give. The range of people who attend the clinic never ceases to amaze me.

Then Mr. Platelet entered. Mr. Platelet is a lovely fellow who donates frequently. Platelet and plasma donors often attend the clinic more often because they can, and thus we get to know them better. For the first time, Mr. Platelet called me by my name, which is on my little red volunteer vest. We had never chatted before but we spoke briefly as he was leaving. During this conversation, he told me he liked donating during my shifts because I am “all smiles and sunshine”. Not wanting to disabuse him of that notion, I thanked him warmly and told him he was very sweet.

And in truth, I am Little Miss Sunshine at the clinic. I look out upon the donors slurping their soup each week and imagine, “Are you the one who saved my life when I needed blood (or platelets or plasma)?” Thanks for that.

After Mr. Platelet left, I broke the volunteer code of conduct: I neglected the donors while pulling out my phone to text J. I wrote, simply, “I am all smiles and sunshine.” She promptly responded, “I know.” And so, too, should you, dear readers, in case you sometimes forget. I’d forget too if I were you.

Am I heartless to the homeless?

Hand with ladle putting soup in bowl two hands are holding

I went into volunteering with my eyes wide open, yet I hadn’t considered the ethical quandaries I might face in my positions. On Monday at Canadian Blood Services, I was tested. As I share this story, I expect some of you may disagree with my thought process or my actions. If so, I trust you will tell me.

I’d been hoping that my International Happiness Day would not include Sadness, and it didn’t until I was almost finished my Canadian Blood Services shift. Then, a homeless person wandered in the clinic back door, by our little free restaurant. (I assumed homelessness based on her dishevelled appearance and soiled clothing.) She walked toward the nursing station and was greeted by the head nurse.

Then she returned to the restaurant with snacks the nurse had given her, stopping to request a bowl of soup. She sat down only briefly before asking me to put the remainder in a cup to go. I refused. Because the soup is hot, no one leaves the clinic with it.

The woman was angry with me for saying no, and after trying to coerce me into changing my mind, she returned to her table to finish eating. I trust she was genuinely hungry, and I knew she had cookies and juice for the road as well. I had to leave while she was still eating, so I don’t know how the story ended.

You may wonder, based on this incident, whether I care about homeless people and I can assure you I do. I know that mental illness and addiction plague the homeless community, and that those who do not suffer these ills are on the streets because of other unfortunate circumstances such as unemployment or relationship breakdown. Homelessness is a serious problem in Calgary as in any major metropolis.

I treat homeless people respectfully because they are human beings in unfortunate situations. But if I see a person begging on the street, I do not give money because I don’t think my buck or two helps. I also know there are social-service agencies offering food and lodging to people in need. I believe that donating to these agencies addresses homelessness more effectively than giving randomly to individuals.

I normally lavish praise and food on everyone who comes to the clinic. Some have been deemed unable to donate while others are there in support of a friend or loved one. This woman did not come in to donate, and the resources are not designated for her. It’s as simple as that, but it’s never simple. It’s just a bowl of soup, but it’s not.

What if she returns regularly in search of a free meal? Say she brings a group of her friends with her next time. What then? By meeting her immediate needs that day, am I potentially creating a problem down the road?

Thankfully, the head nurse witnessed our interchange and came over to lend a hand. She kindly supported me for how I had handled myself. She also provided some guidelines were I to run into a similar situation again.

Was I really thinking I could park my ethics at the volunteer door? Not possible. But some of these situations are harder to handle than others. What would you have done?

Happy Rebirthday to you, Fred

I may rush in last minute when we meet for coffee, but I’m always early for my volunteering shifts. That’s how I was first volunteer to arrive at my scheduled Blood Services shift last Monday, only to be met by a FRiendly Donor (Fred seems the obvious moniker here) awaiting his appointment. Fred seemed in good spirits and, as the only two people there, we chatted while I warmed the soup.

Within a few minutes, I’d learned that Fred was donating blood that day, his 37th birthday. After offering him unlimited cookies (sadly I had no cake), he added, “I celebrated another birthday yesterday.” I looked confused, so he explained.

The day before his 33rd birthday, Fred underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumour. He said the doctors had found the growth by chance. The surgery was successful, and after it was over, Fred experienced two major changes: the migraines he’d endured for years stopped and he was no longer depressed. He wasn’t aware that the tumour was causing these problems and was pleasantly surprised when they vanished. No wonder Fred celebrates that day. He considers his surgery-related birthday more important than his real birthday because of how his life has changed for the better since.

Hanging whole blood unitsWhat does this have to do with blood donation? Before the surgery, Fred noticed ten units of blood hanging nearby in case they were needed during his operation. Thankfully he did not need any of that blood, but the experience motivated him to become a regular donor.

I became unexpectedly emotional as Fred shared his story. When I was at my sickest, I received 22 transfusions–whole blood, platelets, and plasma–and I’ve required the odd top up since. Thank goodness Fred didn’t need all that blood during his surgery; he left more in reserve for cancerous people like me. And now, with his donations, he’s bolstering these life-saving supplies on a regular basis.

Fred had shared so much that I did something I don’t often do when I’m volunteering there: I told Fred I had leukemia, which deepens my gratitude for donors like him. Although I always feel this gratitude, I rarely tell donors how much their giving means to me personally. Could Fred’s blood have helped me at some point? I’ll never know, but I think he’d have good blood. He seemed like a decent person.

I’m not one to hijack a conversation, yet my sharing felt appropriate in that moment. Fred had disclosed a lot to me, and I wanted to let him know in the only way I knew how why his story had moved me as deeply as it did. The psychologist in me wondered whether Fred was as touched by my disclosure as I was by his. He asked me how I was doing with appropriate caring and concern and without a touch of pity, thank God.

As is my nature, I returned the focus to Fred within a minute or two, but I was glad I trusted him in that moment. Donors can only benefit from the chance to meet a recipient who is alive because of donations like theirs. I can be that grateful recipient, even while I’m warming soup.

Hopefully Fred and I will cross paths again so I can ask him his real name.

Introducing the Booger Rule

I’ve been finding my three-hour Blood Services shifts exhausting, since they’re closer to four hours by the time I drive to and from the site. I love the work, but I’m comatose by the end of my shift and it takes me a full day to recover. Last week, I asked the volunteer coordinator if I might shorten my shift to a manageable two hours. Thank goodness she was responsive and accommodating, as is her way.

For my first two-hour shift yesterday, the driving was atrocious (heavy snowfall + deep freeze = icy road conditions), so I asked J. to chauffeur me. Some days I’m just not up to driving, and the thought of taking transit in such inclement weather was grossly unappealing. J. dropped me off early and retrieved me a few hours later. On a good note, with my shorter shift, I didn’t resort to keeping myself awake by eating the high-sodium vegetable soup.

I climbed into J.’s warm car (the person who invented heated seats should win a Nobel Prize for Coziness), only to have her say, “Is that a booger on the end of your nose?” My first reaction, after my abject horror of course, was to say, “That’s highly possible.” Then I cried, “Why didn’t you notice this problem on the way to the clinic rather than on the drive home?”

I admit I’m not one to look in the mirror before I leave the house. That’s why so often my fly is undone, I have lunch on my shirt, I have food between my teeth and, it turns out, I sometimes have boogers on the end of my nose. Even if I did inspect myself in the mirror, my near vision is so poor that I’d need reading glasses to notice anything untoward.

Now let’s remember here that I’d just spend the previous two hours serving food to the generous donors, who’d trekked to the clinic through cold and deep snow. Thankfully our eye (or nose) contact was fleeting. I didn’t stand over people’s tables watching them consume their treats; I delivered the wares and went back behind the counter with all the other volunteers. (Alas! Did the volunteers notice too?) Now I’m wondering how many of the donors were thinking, “I don’t want the booger woman serving me my food.”

There is an obvious solution to this problem: I could start looking in the mirror before I leave the house. Who am I kidding? I haven’t been concerned with my appearance for over 53 years; do you think I’m suddenly going to start checking myself before I go out? I don’t want to see how large the black circles are under my eyes, or how bloodshot my eyes are from chronic fatigue, or even how much I look like I have leukemia.

I have a better solution, assuming you’re willing to help. From now on, please invoke the Booger Rule, i.e., alert me if I have boogers on my nose (or greenies between my teeth, or lunch on my shirt, or an open fly). Maybe you wouldn’t want to know, but, trust me, I would. My fleeting embarrassment is surely preferable to my sporting visible boogers all day, don’t you think?

Quote: I'm making eyes at you, hoping you'll see. For my lips cannot form the words. and all I want to say is that which must remain unspoken between us. (also, you have a bit of spinach in your teeth.)

The problem with paying to procure plasma

Arm outstretched of someone who has just donated blood with quote: If you really want to lend a hand, lend an arm.

Until recently, I didn’t realize that we had a shortage of plasma in Canada. You may not have either, unless you too are obsessed with the health news. Someone’s gotta be.

Last year, a private plasma donation clinic opened in Saskatoon. The clinic pays every donor with a $25 gift card. By allowing this clinic to open, the Saskatchewan government has reduced donations to the non-paying Canadian Blood Services clinic in the region. If you could be paid for your plasma donation or do it out of the goodness of your heart, what would you do? Turns out a lot of people like to be paid for their efforts.

Although in the U.S., blood donors are paid, in Canada they are not. We Canadians have historically relied on the good will of donors, and, according to Canadian Blood Services, we will continue to do so.

Maybe this wouldn’t be a problem if the donations procured at the paying clinic were adding to Canada’s plasma supply, but there’s no assurance they are. This company is selling the plasma to the highest bidder, wherever that bidder is. The clinic is a for-profit venture; its first concern isn’t Canada’s plasma supply.

As it stands, Canada doesn’t have enough plasma to meet patients’ needs, so we buy plasma from the U.S. to make up the shortfall. But what if we continue to rely on foreign blood products and that supply dries up? I can envision American plasma being stopped at the border in the near future, under the new America First policies. That crazy new president south of the border rules with an iron fist, as he has proven too many times over the past few weeks.

Plasma donations are needed both for infusions–I’ve needed a few over the course of my illness–but also to make drugs for very sick people with rare diseases. We need to ensure we have enough of these drugs to keep these people alive, or at least to improve their quality of life.

So, Canadians, consider donating your plasma for free. It’s one needle prick*, except it takes a little longer than donating whole blood. The special machine will take your plasma only and kindly return all your other blood products to you. Easy peasy. And you’ll get all the benefits that whole-blood donors get and more.

What benefits, you ask? First off, after you donate, you can pop by the donor cafe, where a bevy of volunteers will eagerly meet your every need. Remember the soup and cookies? We also stock fruit cups and sesame snaps for the gluten free among you. There’s coffee and tea and pop and juice (go for the mango). Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

And don’t forget the coveted pins. When you reach certain donor milestones, you receive a commemorative pin. You plasma donors will reach those milestones all the faster because you can donate plasma much more frequently than whole blood if you choose.

And what about the good feeling that goes along with knowing you’re helping someone? That’s worth a lot more than a $25 gift card, I think.

 

*If a needle phobia is holding you back, come see me. I can help you with that.

Thank goodness somebody remembered GivingTuesday

Picture of GivingTuesday, with heart with Maple Leaf inside, November 29, 2016.

It has been a very busy week, and we haven’t even gotten to J.’s retirement festivities, which begin later today with a party at work. I believe there may be cake, but if there is, I imagine I will pass. My sugar moderation is still in full swing, to my amazement. My whole identity is in question.

In case you missed it, yesterday was GivingTuesday, a day highlighting the importance of donating money or time. It’s no coincidence that GivingTuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I volunteered at Canadian Blood Services on Monday but I don’t know if people are allowed to bank their weekly donated hours toward the Tuesday.

I tried to think of a way to give on Tuesday, but was at a loss. I had too much on the go that day. Then I received a call from a new client (Hallelujah!), who was clearly in distress. She wanted to set an initial appointment for later this week when her insurance coverage would kick in. I gave her a pep talk to tide her over, booked her for Friday at her request, and hung up.

I certainly could have handled that better. In fact, I was utterly selfish for no reason at all. I didn’t stop to consider the best needs of this client, who was in crisis and needed to see someone ASAP. Sitting around and stewing about her distress for a few more days would not have helped her in any way. And I had the time to squeeze her into my unusually frantic day. Why didn’t I think of that when I had her on the phone?

So I called this dear young woman back and told her if she could get to my office promptly, before my day moved into full gear, I was available to see her that morning without payment. Of course that offer made her cry even more, but hopefully those were happy tears. She needed some help so, after completely blowing it, I decided to step up.

I am not the hero of this story. A hero wouldn’t have hung up the phone first before realizing her mistake; a hero would have booked the client in immediately. This wasn’t a day to quibble about money but a day to help someone in acute distress get back on her feet. I needed to show this woman I was committed to helping her get well. Do you think I care about one measly unpaid session? Payment has always been the icing on my counselling cake, but I honestly prefer the cake, despite the Great Sugar Revolution.

This new client, my first in months, arrived right on time. We had a great first session, at least from my perspective. She is every psychologist’s dream client–motivated, open, insightful, and hard working. And unlike me, she must have remembered the charitable holiday because she left me with a tremendous gift, whether she knew it or not: she reminded me that I may have something to offer someone in need. Who could ask for anything more?

The unexpected benefits of volunteering

Hand pouring water from can into canned soup in pot

I decided to volunteer for selfish reasons: I thought it might be good for me. I was excited about the potential for social interaction and for helping others, as well as the structure a new activity or two might add to my long and sometimes lonely days. I crave structure. So far, volunteering is all of those things and more.

What I hadn’t considered was all the swag that would come with the assignments, If we make it into PALS–wish us luck at our interview tomorrow–Jelly will receive a blue bandana to wear on shift and, maybe someday, a yellow vest. Canadian Blood Services provides an endless supply of snacks that I can eat if I get hungry during a shift. Cookies, juice, pop, a carboholic’s dream. So far I’ve avoided the Campbell’s soup, for obvious sodium-laden reasons.

(By the way, did you know that one cup of prepared Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup has 890 mg sodium? I retained fluid after reading the label.)

And then there’s my little red CBS vest. We volunteers need to be easily identifiable, and our blood-red vests set us apart from the crowd. I’ve never looked good in red, which now only accentuates my pasty white (anemic) complexion. But for my shift, I swallow my pride, knowing that the others look almost as bad as I do. No one looks good in red.

I bring my vest home every week and hang it in my closet. I hadn’t yet found any alternate uses for it off shift until last week I had a spontaneous nosebleed. In the olden days of my illness, I had frequent nosebleeds because of my blood thinners. Now I’m getting them because my platelets, those sticky things that make me clot, are low.

The other day, I was sitting at home reading a book and all of the sudden there was blood everywhere. I happened to be outside on the deck, so I leaned forward just in time to spare my clothing. A few hours later, the bleeding finally stopped.

I discussed this problem with Dr. Blood when I last saw her. She consulted the pharmacist who prescribed an ointment that constricts the blood vessels in the nostrils, thereby reducing the chance of recurring bleeds. Yesterday I drove across town to a special compounding pharmacy–who knew there was such a thing?–to have the prescription filled. The kind pharmacist asked me whether I’d like to wait. How long would it take? “About an hour,” she said. Waiting is not my forté, so I declined.

This morning, God punished me for my decision to leave the pharmacy. My nose started bleeding early, soaking my white t-shirt and necessitating an emergency laundry load. The red stuff has been flowing on and off since, from not just one but both nostrils. Don’t drop by. It looks like a slaughterhouse in here.

I am hoping that soon I will be able to leave the house. I’ve made several attempts, only to have them thwarted by a resurgence. What to do, what to do? Perhaps I’ll have to don my little red vest when I depart, just in case. If I’ve refrained from eating in the new car for this long, you can bet I’m not going to bleed on the upholstery.