McAvoy Layne

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January 15, 2014
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Pine Nuts: Power Red and the fountain of youth

Three months ago I walked into the recreation center and rolled up my sleeve to give blood. At the time I was training for a marathon and felt proud that my blood was well oxygenated and might someday give some poor SOB a boost. Little did I suspect it was going to give this SOB a boost.

The lady practitioner asked me all the obligatory questions, i.e., “Have you kissed a Rhesus monkey in the last six months,” etc., etc., etc.

“No,” I said.

Then she asked me a question I had never heard before: “Would you like to be a hero today?”

What was I going to say? “Sure,” I responded.

“OK, we’re going to hook you up to Power Red. It’ll take a little longer than usual because we’re going to take two units of red blood cells,” she said.

“Yeah, OK,” I shrugged.

During my time on Power Red she would come over periodically and ask, “Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, thanks for asking,” I said. I thought I detected a look in her eye that said “just wait.”

When they finally unhooked me, I realized they had sucked me dry as a life preserver and left me with just enough red blood cells to crawl out of there on my hands and knees.

While attempting to train the next day, I became lightheaded and had to stop running to keep from passing out. The following day was no better. Running a marathon in November was no longer a consideration, and, as I had been instructed not to give blood again until the middle of January, I figured I would not feel normal again at least until then.

Downhearted, I canceled my marathon but took solace in the fact that my body was minting new blood cells each day, if only one at a time. So I kept running and feeling stronger every day until one day a week or so ago I had the best 45-minute run since the day I met Power Red. The following day was better yet. With a newfound spring in my step I felt I could run to the top of Mt. Rose without fatigue.

The following day I had my eyes examined and discovered my vision had improved to 20-20 in one eye and 20-25 in the other. Power Red was working its magic. By manufacturing all those baby blood cells I was growing younger with each passing day. I scheduled an afternoon of skiing with my 7-year-old grandson, Everett.

“So how many languages do you speak now,” I asked while riding in the chair.

“Four,” Everett said.

“Oh, yeah? Which ones,” I asked.

“My first language is Ewok, my second is English, then British and Scottish,” he said.

Obviously, he has no more aversion to hyperbole than his grandfather.

As it happened, after an exhilarating day of tearing up the “School House” slope, I realized I had left Everett’s boots in the truck, but no matter. Upon returning his rental boots I asked Ev to hop onto my back so I could carry him to the truck.

Well, Everett weighs 60 pounds, and Snowshoe Thompson I’m not. But hey, I had brand new blood cells, so I bent over while Ev backed up across the room, got a good running start and leaped onto my back, whereupon I went to the floor like a collapsing lawn chair while the staff and spectators tried unsuccessfully to suppress their laughter.

In gathering myself together I resumed my former biblical age of three score and ten. But thanks to Power Red I had been granted a grace period of being young again, and for that I’d like to say, “Here’s to you, United Blood Services and Power Red.”

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 15, 2014 04:57PM Published Jan 15, 2014 03:10PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.