The Ramblings of a Somewhat Unstable Mind

It is surely a gift of life, to give someone else, a complete stranger 99% of the time, the healthy organs, bone marrow, bones, joints, eyes and even skin tissue of people who’ve been cut down too early in life. Accidents happen, that’s sort of why their called accidents. When someone who is healthy, lives well, doesn’t smoke or over-indulge in alcohol or drugs, then they can save 3 or 4 lives, give accident or crime victims the gift of eyesight, a scar-less face (or any part of their body) or a new leg bone, hip or elbow, shoulder, well, you get the idea; if doctors can use it, they will harvest it. To donate organs, bone and tissue upon your demise is not only giving the gift of life, it is one of the more selfless acts that there are.

Getting To Know You…

There are organizations that you can hire which will find out who your loved one’s organs or other donated body parts were donated to, where they live and what they do for a living. Anything, everything. Many people even strike up friendships with the people whose lives their dearly departed either saved or improved the quality of. In Canada, if both the donor’s family and the recipient (or their executor) sign the proper paperwork, they can then get to know each other. Scary, sort of like that movie “7 Pounds” with Will Smith, but he was dying of a disease and wanted to get to know his recipients before donating to them. He picked who would get which parts of himself, and worked the system so that they would.

But true life rarely mimics Hollywood (or, is that supposed to be the other way around?). Even if both parties agree to getting to know one another, there is still a creep factor involved. No matter how sensitive you may appear to be about it, when talking to a young woman who now loves with your departed wife’s heart, the young man who dreams through your dead son’s eyes or the elderly guy who no longer needs to pee in a bag all day long thanks to your loves one’s donations, you will, in some part of your mind, heart or psyche, be thinking if your loved one is still in there, somewhere. When the recipient realizes this, just how creepy would that be? It would be extremely uncomfortable, and yet they might even feel a responsibility to allow you to continue being friendly with them.

When Right Becomes Wrong.

Organ donation is supposed to be about giving. Stop making it about keeping people who’ve died alive. It’s just wrong and goes against the meaning of the word charity. It is good to receive a letter letting you know that your dearly departed’s donations had saved a 17-year old soccer playing girl, a 21-year old waitress and a 32-year old poet, but it really should end there. This isn’t about keeping the dead alive, it’s about keeping the living alive and improving people’s qualities of life.

Comments on: "Should Organ Donation Recipients Be Known?" (11)

  1. Much to my family’s chagrin, I have made arrangements to be donated upon my demise. Anything unharvestable is to be donated to a cadaver program for medical students. I have a prohibition against recipients knowing from whence the parts came.

    I was not creepy in life. I do not want to be in death, either.

    • Marc, An important message being shared here. We can continue to help others even following our end of life through organ donation. Well written.

      • Thanks for the visit CB, always a pleasure! This started for me when i was young, in school – a friend died on a ski slope, went over a jump and impaled himself on a tree branch. We later found out that his organs saved 3 lives that day. I have been a promoter of organ donations since then, but unfortunately I will not be able to help in that regard, too much damage through cancer and drugs (the legitimate kind).

        • I appreciate your sharing personal details Marc. I have had two types of cancer and understand the toll on the body. You can take pride in the fact that you are educating others about organ donations and your positive role in the subject.

    • Thanks for the visit, Red! Always a pleasure!
      Are you trying to tell me that you’re not creepy? Come on over to the creepy side, it’s more fun on this side of the societal fence…

  2. Thanks for that, Red!

    I am in full agreement – I have a living will and fully documented organ/tissue donation protocols, but because I went through cancer a couple of times, and am living with the side effects, there may not be much good to donate by the time they become available. But to think that a family member would strike up a friendship with a recipient in order to extend my visit here in reality would just creep me out. I’m all in for full cremation, no funeral, take whatever is good and burn the rest. But that is a charitable donation, no tax deductions forthcoming, unless of course there turns out to be a Heaven and they have money, and taxes, there too.

  3. Thanks for dropping by, CB…

    Yeah, I’ve had 2 cancer scares myself, once on the face (bad, doctors let it grow for over 30 months) and then in the spine (why I “work from home” now)… but I got off good – 50 years ago, I would have died 3 times from medical problems I’ve had in the past 20 years. My brother died of ALS (11 yrs) my mother from small cell cancer and my father from COPD and small cell cancer. Not too many organ donations going on in my family… but, always promote it, it saves lives and increases others quality of life with something you’re not using anymore.

    • Yes an organ donor can continue to help others even after no longer alive. What a sensational concept!
      I wish you all the best Marc with your health. I am happy that going into 2012 our friendship continues to strengthen.

  4. Awww, shucks, m’am!

    I also hope that you gain whatever it is that you wish for in this, our final year on the planet (according to some idjuts, (no typo) anyways)…

    Cancer weakens the body yet strengthens the soul (me, just now)

    Can we see some of your blog-savvy writing now?

    • Illness certainly helps put what is important, I mean realllly important, into better focus. Now as for the blog posts, why yes I wrote one likely at the exact moment you were writing your comment 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  5. You need to take part in a contest for among the best blogs on the web. I will suggest this site!

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