Friday, May 12, 2006

i hereby donate

the back of my driver's license reads:
"i hereby donate [ ] any organ
[ ] specific organ ______________
upon my death"

and so does yours.
on that line, i ticked "[ ] specific organ" and scribbled "corneas".
i have another card from the eye bank foundation that says "eye donor".
for many years now i have kept those in my wallet, not really thinking twice that i would like to donate my corneas in case i become brain dead.
but what about my other organs which could also be transplanted? why didn't i write them down?
the plight of my med school classmate made me think about organ donation seriously. she has been on hemodialysis for end-stage renal disease for almost ten years now. a successful kidney transplant is the definitive management for her illness. in the meantime, without a suitable donor, she has to spend an arm and a leg for her regular hemodialysis to tide her over.
one would think that among her relatives, there would be one willing to be a donor. the best source of any organ to be transplanted would be a relative because the risk of tissue rejection is lowest. apparently her brother intially agreed to give one of his kidneys but later on back out. for what reason, i don't know. it seems selfish of him not to help his sister at this time of desperate need. she is my age, with the same hopes and dreams of a bright future ahead. but then again, truth is, being a living organ donor is quite frightening... going under a knife even if one is perfectly well, waking up after the surgery with one organ less, and thoughts of being less healthy because of it. there are real risks involved and subjecting one's self through these for another person is really quite a sacrifice.
admittedly, it is when one is still alive and well with hopes of still being strong and healthy in the future, when it is difficult to give up something anatomically. i guess when i am about to die, it will really not matter that i give my organs other than my corneas. put in that perspective, yes, i can now actually tick "[ ] any organ" at the back of my driver's license.
but being a living organ donor is another story. i hope to god i do not even have to think twice about being one for any of my loved ones in case any of them needs one. i imagine myself in that situation and i want to be able to say that i will be willing to make that sacrifice. i know the force which will drive me is loving that person enough to not want to lose him or her. and i know the force which will strengthen me is remembering that this sacrifice is miniscule, almost nothing, compared to that of laying down one's life to save humanity.


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