Friday, November 15, 2013

Taking a break for a couple of weeks.

At least until I heal up some. 

Around the 2005 time frame there was a Bone Marrow recruitment drive on the base where I work, so my friend and I decided to go down and register.  I have to admit that I had some selfish desires for registering.  Back then the only way to register was via a blood sample and my friend had an aversion to needles.  So there was probably a little friendly schadenfreude happening there, but all for a good cause.

Fast forward about eight or so years later and I get an interesting email from the C.W.Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program.  I was completely shocked when I was told that I was a possible match among several other donors for an international recipient that had Acute myeloid leukemia (AML).  They had asked if I still wanted to participate and if I did, there would be some more blood tests required in order to perform further HLA (human leukocyte antigen) typing.  I did more blood tests and yet even more blood tests and it was determined that I was the best possible match and should donate.

Here are a few interesting statistics from Be the Match.

Donation statistics
·         1 in 40 registry members will be called for additional testing. Additional testing can be used to narrow the list of potential donors and determine the best possible match for a patient.
·         1 in 300 will be selected as the best possible donor for a patient. These potential donors will have an information session with their donor center representative to learn more about the donation process. Due to changes in the patient's condition, not all donors who are selected as the best match will donate.
·         1 in 540 members will actually donate.

 During the process I was assigned a Donation Coordinator.  She was the one that did all the work in the back ground to make this happen. She set up all the tests, scheduled the travel, answered all my questions, and acted as liaison with the hospital.

Several weeks before the actual donation, I was asked to provide an autologous blood donation.  Basically I was asked to donate blood to myself so that it could be used to replace the blood volume lost during the procedure.  I was told that this would also lead to a quicker recovery.  The blood donation was what was called a double red. In this type of donation, your blood is separated and you take out two units of red blood cells, while the plasma and platelets are returned to your blood stream.  This was done on an apheresis machine and only took about 40 minutes.

It was around this time that you are asked to confirm your desire to be a donor. The reason being that if you agree, the recipient will begin to receive high dosages of chemotherapy in order to prepare their body for the transplant.  If you were to back out after this point, it would mean that the recipient could possibly pass away.

Depending on needs of the recipient, there is the possibility that they will need either bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC).  The amount required is also determined by the patients needs.  I got the request for a marrow donation of what I was told was 1.5L. I don't like to think about that too much since all I can envision is a mostly full two liter bottle of soda. 

Since I am no longer active duty military, they had me go to Scripps Green Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant Center in La Jolla to donate.  The procedure only took a few hours and had I been with a travel companion I would have been able to go back to the hotel the same day.  However I was travelling alone so as a precaution, I was kept overnight which turned out well since I needed additional medication for nausea that was caused by the anesthesia.   I cannot thank all the doctors and nurses and staff involved in my donation enough.  They were attentive and caring.  They made me feel very welcome. 

There are no costs to the donor involved in any part the process at all. As I understand it, it is all paid by the recipients insurance.  Due to my unique location, there wasn't a direct flight to San Diego.  Only one that had a layover in Phoenix, or LAX.  Considering I live within 150 miles of San Diego that seemed a bit much. I asked my donation Coordinator if there were alternatives to the flight and she said that there is a contracted driving service that they used.  I was very fortunate that the driving service was used, and the driver, Bruce was an excellent travel companion.   For my stay I was placed in the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines for four days due to its location next to the hospital.  The Bell Desk provides a courtesy shuttle service to the front door of the hospital and back. 

If you want to join the registry and are a Depart of Defense employee or military, please contact the DoD Marrow Donor Program.  As a civil service employee you are entitled to paid leave when either donating bone marrow or an organ.  My leave was recorded as Administrative Leave along with the documentation from the program stating that I was selected to be a donor along with the dates of donation.

Here are the leave references.  

5 U.S.C CHAPTER 63, SECTION 6327: ABSENCE IN CONNECTION WITH SERVING AS A BONEMARROW OR ORGAN DONOR(a) An employee in or under an Executive agency is entitled to leave without loss of or reduction in pay, leave to which otherwise entitled, credit for time or service, or performance or efficiency rating, for the time necessary to permit such employee to serve as a bone-marrow or organ donor. (b) An employee may, in any calendar year, use - (1) not to exceed 7 days of leave under this section to serve as a bone-marrow donor; and (2) not to exceed 30 days of leave under this section to serve as an organ donor. (c) The Office of Personnel Management may prescribe regulations for the administration of this section.

DoD Financial Management Regulation Volume 8, Chapter 5September 2008CHAPTER 5, BONE MARROW OR ORGAN DONOR LEAVE (paragraph 0506)0506 BONE MARROW OR ORGAN DONOR LEAVE. Title 5, U.S.C., section 6327 provides up to 7 days of paid excused leave in a calendar year (in addition to sick or annual leave) to serve as a bone marrow donor or up to 30 days of excused leave in a calendar year to serve as an organ donor.

If you are not military or employed by the DoD, simply go to Be the Match to register.

As far as pain goes, honestly I have ended up causing myself physical pain much worse by accident that what I have experienced so far as a donor.  I have not needed any narcotic pain meds, only over the counter Tylenol.

Mostly, just walking around stiff and sore, I would equate it to having fell hard on your butt several times attempting to ice skate.  Just an achy lower back or hip sort of pain.  Again these are my feelings, your results may vary.

I sincerely wish the recipient of my marrow a quick recovery and that they may soon be spending quality time with family and friends.  Please know that you are in my thoughts.

So now a little about my feelings on why I did it.

At its most basic level, it is simply the right thing to do, and whatever pain I have during this process, it pales in comparison to the loss of a loved one that could have been saved by the donation. 

If the tables were turned, I would certainly hope that if it were a member of my family in need, someone would have the intestinal fortitude to come forward and donate and be a part of something much bigger than themselves.

Here are a few links to check out.

Be The Match: lots of good info here on the process for both donors and recipients.

C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program: all the info you will need if you are in the military or a civilian employee.

US Dept of Health and Human Services: Good info here as well.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Got a few more parts

I realized that the motor mounts and more specifically the cross member I purchased initially would not work since I have slightly notched the frame to sit the Jaguar front cross-member a tad (one inch) lower and it would have hit the cross member.  It also created a few other issues as well.  The rear sump oil pan I had planned on using now had interference issues with the rack and pinion (Jaguar cross members use a rear mount rack and pinion).  So I got a front sump oil pan and new motor mounts.

The mounts I chose to use were the Speedway Motors Weld-In units.  They fit very well with one small exception.  On the 89' 5.0L block I have, the drivers side mount needed a small notch to clear a water jacket drain plug.  (I'll post some pics later).

Here are a pic of the mounts.
Once I get everything welded in, I'll take some more pics.  The mounts are built very well out of 1/4" steel with very good welds. I am very happy with the purchase.  I had considered building my own, but after getting the steel and the urethane, it just made more sense to buy some.  It appears that these use a Mustang II lower control arm bushing as the isolator.  I guess I'll figure that detail out when they need to be replaced. 

Here is the oil pan, pick-up, and bolts I used.  I chose the chrome oil pan because the plain steel was almost as much and I would have had to paint it.

The next purchases I need are somewhat more expensive.  I need a good compressor that has the capacity to do some blasting as well as run a paint gun in the future.  It looks like most of the ones I have been looking at are in the $1000 area.

I also need to get a Argon/CO2 bottle since I am tired of the cleanup involved in flux-cored welding.  I think I will most likely end up buying a bottle that way I can just do an exchange when I need a fill.  Right now, I am torn between a 80 cuft bottle and a 125 cuft bottle.  Time (and money) will tell.

I end up buying a lot of stuff from Amazon.  If you do as well, you might want to consider getting a prime membership.  It has quite a few benefits.  The one I enjoy the most, is two day free shipping on the majority of things I purchase.  Fell free to give it a shot.  What do you have to loose with a 30 day free trial?

Have a good one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jaguar XJS Front Brake & Suspension parts

Here is a list of parts that I found on Amazon for the 1985 Jaguar XJS front end that I am using on my truck. I have an Amazon Prime membership (you can try it free for 30 days) which means that most items ship to my door within two days.  Plus you can create a virtual garage at Amazon which allows you to verify that the parts you find there fit one of the vehicles in your garage. I have numerous vehicles in my garage because of the Frankenstein aspect of my project.

Although I will not be using the Jag IRS in my project, I may add a list of parts for the same model year rear end. Check back or submit a comment to have items added to the list.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Little Steps (Flipping a ford 9")

Well got a little bit more done today.  Since I didn't have a space to roll the engine hoist out without blocking all access to my driveway, I got a small extension poured on the driveway.  It has finally cured enough to put the truck on it and I thought I would christen it with some dirt and work.  My plan was to pull the bed off the truck, and flip the rear axle.  So that is what I did.

The flip kit I used was from Performance Online (POL).  The kit was specified for 53-56 F-100's as well as some GM trucks with a 2 1/4" spring width.  I went and researched the measurements of spring width for my 60' and decided it would fit and it does.  It is currently only mocked in, meaning I haven't welded the spring perches in, or measured to center the axle up exactly.  Luckily I was able to reuse my axle center pin.  I just put clamps on either side of the pin to keep the spring pack from coming apart and unbolted and removed them. Since they weren't damaged, I just flipped them over and inserted them from the top of the spring pack and tightened the nut down.  Once I get around to pulling the bed to rebuild the rear suspension, I'll take care of welding the perches in.  I also noticed that I have a broken leaf on the drivers side, so I will most likely end up getting new springs for it.

Right now the engine and transmission are still out because I need to fabricate the brackets to attach the Jaguar front end. I did adjust the the front end to center the front wheel in the wheel well.  Right now I have some tall tires on the rear end (255/65/16) and some small front tires (185/75/14) on it.  Eventually I will need to have the axles drilled for a different bolt pattern which leads to the thought of which brakes do I use on the rear end.  Do I convert to rear disc's, have the stock drums re-drilled (and every time I need to replace a drum), or get a newer drum brake kit that has drums with multiple bolt patterns?  Not sure yet...

I also bought some more parts like a C-Notch kit from Classic Performance Parts CPP.  I'll get this put in next time I have have the bed off and it isn't hot enough that tools left in the sun for five minutes to cause second degree burns.  One of these days I will have build a work shop so that I don't have to bake when working on a vehicle.

I am planning to get a 20 or 22 gallon Mustang tank later this month to put under the bed, so I'll add that to the to-do list when the bed is off.

The after pic is crappy because I took it with my iPod which has endured a hard life.  The screen is cracked and has melted spots from welding spatter.



Saturday, May 11, 2013

A few parts that make my Hobart Auto Arc 130 Welder work better...

I have had my welder for a while now and have bought a few items that seem to make it run a little better, or at least make using it easier. Amazon sells the Auto Arc 130 both in a ‘kit’ or by itself.

Some of the items are performance related while others are simply nice to have.  If you plan on running a 10 pound spool of wire, you will need the Handler Hub Kit. Also if you plan on doing much welding with flux cored wire, you should use the correct nozzle.  From what I understand, it will keep the splatter that is associated with flux cored welding from clogging the gas ports on the gun.  The MIG welding gel makes it easier to keep the tip/nozzle clean as well.

It gets very dusty where I live so I thought that a cover would help out and it does.  Since the Auto Arc is made by Hobart, they have a cover that fits it well.  My kit also came with a fixed shade helmet, but it got tiring flipping the mask up and down when beginning to start a weld, so I got an auto-darkening helmet and I love it! it has adjustable shades via a knob on the side as well as a setting for grinding or welding.  That way if you plan on grinding, it doesn’t automatically darken the lens.

My Auto Arc 130 Kit came with a fixed flow regulator and from every thing I had read, it seemed to have a flow rate that was too high for some work and could unnecessarily empty your shielding gas tank too quickly. So I found the Fourney regulator. I included several Victor regulators as well.

Hope this info helps out other Auto Arc owners.  I will try and see if I can find some other items and add them here when possible.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Made a little progress today...

We had a break in the weather in late January, so I headed out to remove some of the suspension mount rivets from the frame.  All was going well.  I actually had on PPE (personal protective equipment) which for those of you that know me know that generally flip flops and shorts are as close to PPE as I get regardless of what or where I am working.

On to the story.  I had used my angle grinder with a cut off wheel to cut an "X" in the head of each of the rivets to speed the removal.  I didn't feel like firing up my compressor to use my air hammer so I had a BFH ( 3-Pound Drilling Hammer) and was making pretty good progress.  I had on thick gloves and was removing the stock front engine mount brackets.  Well the chisel slipped off the rivet head as soon as the hammer touched it and that changed the trajectory of the hammer head so that it attempted to occupy the same space as my thumb.  We all know physics, right?  Big steel hammer, soft squishy thumb....

 This pic was taken within a minute of the hit.  Honestly I thought I had mashed it good because I became oddly aware that the glove felt wet.  I was pretty sure that I had blown the insides of my thumb out!  Must be the old age, because I didn't scream and cuss and throw things, this time! So I was happy when it came out of the glove intact.  Needless to say the nail did come off. Luckily, or not, I spent about a month on jury duty so it had time to heal.

On to the progress I made today.  I got the old straight axle suspension out and got the frame resting on the Jaguar XJS front suspension.  I still need to box the front portion of the frame, build mounts, and adjust the axle centerline.  All in all it is looking better.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best tool purchase I have made in a while.

I got very tired of using a hand drill to make several repetitive holes in a piece of steel, so I began to think about a drill press.  Of course I had dreams of grandeur and wanted a "bigger is better" drill press until I saw what they cost!  So then I went down the rabbit hole of how much drill press can I get for a certain amount of money.  We all know that there is a crossing point where the item stops being a value based on its short comings either in quality for function.  That meant I had to decide what I really needed.  I went and looked at the Ryobi 10 inch bench top drill press at Home Depot, mostly because it was convenient and I got to actually get hands on the device.  It didn't appear too bad, but when I researched the reviews I came to an entirely different conclusion. Quite honestly, it most likely would have worked for everything I was ever going to do with it, but I thought I'd shop around a little bit for a similar product.

 After some online research I found the SKIL 10 inch bench top model and the reviews were pretty good, both at the SKIL tool web site and Amazon.  Like the Ryobi ZRDP102L 10"Drill Press with Laser, this one has the laser guide as well.  I liked what I had read, so I ordered it.  I got it in two days (thank you Amazon Prime)!  It was delivered in the OEM box which was more than sufficient protection.  It took about half an hour to unpack and assemble.  Assembly was easy and no adjustment of the lasers were required, it was dead on out of the box.  All I can say is this is an awesome little drill press, my only complaint is that I wish I had bought it sooner.