Weddings at Yosemite National Park are gorgeous. I’ve seen splendidly dressed couples and their entourages process up the Mist Trail to Bridalveil Fall, a most spectacular backdrop for a solemn exchange of vows. Trekkers who happen upon the ceremony respectfully hang back, as they, too experience the solemnity and grandness of this most awesome place. Guests later celebrating at the Ahwahnee Hotel will toast the bride and groom, and photographs will show Half Dome, Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls in the background. It’s too bad that the government shutdown has closed the park.
Then there are the vistas from the spectacular Cliff House, perched high atop the basalt cliffs on the western side of San Francisco. For decades, brides and grooms have chosen the Cliff House for their receptions. The views are stunning. Guests dine and watch the waves crash against Seal Rocks, spraying white foam and mist into the air. They can see the famous ruins of Sutro Bath, and follow large ocean vessels passing in the distance. This weekend a bride and groom had booked this facility to celebrate their cherished day with loved ones, but as the Cliff House is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service, this couple now has to scramble to find another venue. It’s closed.
This bride and groom, their families and friends will find this experience challenging at the very least. There may be sleepless nights and worry and hassles, but it should not create a life-threatening situation. That is not the case for others, however. A blood drive that was scheduled for yesterday, October 2, 2013 at the NASA Ames Research Facility in Mountain View, California was cancelled because 1,000-plus Ames employees have been furloughed. According to a Stanford School of Medicine release, the Stanford Blood Center has an urgent need for O-negative blood.* The same document also states that the federal government’s shutdown is affecting the center’s ability to meet that demand. They expected to collect 75 units of whole blood yesterday.
This morning I received an email from a friend of mine. She is worried that because of the shortage, there may not be blood for her at Stanford when she needs her next transfusion. And it’s not only my friend who is caught up in this; the Stanford Blood Center provides blood products to seven area hospitals in addition to their own hospitals and clinics. People dealing with delicate, precarious and problematic health conditions have many concerns; worrying about the availability of hemoglobin or platelets should not be one of them. My friend is angry. Who can blame her? Our Congress is playing with her life.
October 3, 2013