Saturday, June 24, 2017


The other day putting out the trash I was breaking a branch when it scratched me. It was more of a stab than a scratch and I started to bleed from the puncture. The blood didn’t gush but it flowed until I went into the house to put on a band-aid.
A band-aid is a wonderful thing. A band-aid is a little swab of cotton on an adhesive strip wrapped in paper. If there isn’t a nurse available the paper must be ripped off while blood trickles down your hand. A quick wash off and dab dry and wrapping around the band-aid either stops the blood flow and ease the pain or shows it is time to call 911.
The reason I even bring up this gross subject is I remember as a youth of not worrying about bleeding. Everyone got a scrap or a cut or a boo-boo and you just licked it, and moved on.

Coagulation (also known as clotting) is the process by which blood changes from a liquid to a gel, forming a blood clot. It potentially results in hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a damaged vessel, followed by repair. The mechanism of coagulation involves activation, adhesion, and aggregation of platelets along with deposition and maturation of fibrin. Disorders of coagulation are disease states that can result in bleeding (hemorrhage or bruising) or obstructive clotting (thrombosis).
Coagulation is highly conserved throughout biology; in all mammals, coagulation involves both a cellular (platelet) and a protein (coagulation factor) component. The system in humans has been the most extensively researched and is the best understood.
Coagulation begins almost instantly after an injury to the blood vessel has damaged the endothelium lining the vessel. Leaking of blood through the endothelium initiates two processes the exposure of subendothilial tissue factor to, which ultimately leads to fibrin formation. Platelets immediately form a plug at the site of injury; this is called primary hemostasis. Secondary hemostasis occurs simultaneously in a complex cascade to form fibrin strands, which strengthen the platelet plug.

I used to give blood and always finished quickly but if I got a scratch I’d get a scab and a few days later everything would be the same or a minor scare. I had a few bloody crises but don’t remember getting a transfusion.
I certainly don’t understand blood loss as the ladies do so I have to relate this puncture as a guy. I just noticed this change in my bumping around, as I grow older. Bruises take longer to go away and this thin blood flow is different.

From what I read about blood clots in the arteries and my wife’s stents after a heart attack I think thin blood might be good for me. There is still a history of eating red meat, lack of exercise, and no medical exams so I don’t kid myself about walking into this minefield. I’ll just stock up on band-aids.

Sort of like what happens to people in your life. We grow apart and far away and lose contact with each other. We may be in the same town or on the same street but have different friends and religions and hobbies and tend not to associate with one another until we clot. We may gather for the most ridiculous reasons but soon want to shelter back to our protective lifestyle.

In previous wars, weapons were invented to hack and chop and bore through the flesh of ‘the enemy’ in hopes that if enough of them were incapacitated then we would win. Before Medevac and M*A*S*H units close to the fighting tried to repair the carnage to fight another day the dying would just lay on the field to cry out until the cries went silent.

Like many of the aches and pains of old age I come to the realization that if I get seriously injured, I’ll probably bleed out.

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