One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

watching the ripples

I have sent off my letter to several places: ABC and a few papers. I've read others' responses to the episode, and it seems that those who were already predisposed to think positively about organ donation didn't find the episode particularly negative. Those who think about donation constantly, like the other transplant parents I know, were shocked at how wrong they got the whole setup. And I do fear that for the many people who are even somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of donation, that this episode left open the door for many of the misconceptions surrounding the process. And then I read this post, and I just cried. Here is a woman who went through so much with her child, and they made the decision to donate his organs. And then here comes this show leaving her feeling awful about her decision. And no wonder. The donor's family was raked over the emotional coals and the doctors were often brusquely dismissive of the donor (not all of them, mind you). I have no idea how any donor family could have watched this episode and felt anything but sadness. This is the terrible dilemma of being the mother of a transplant recipient. You are so grateful to this stranger and so terribly sorry at the same time. I want to reach out to show them what an enormous, meaningful gift they gave and to somehow, someway ease some of that pain. And yet I know that the heartbreaking beauty of the gift was in giving what they had lost. It's hard to know how to say "thank you" for a gift of that magnitude.


Blogger Jay said...

The show really did leave room for all kinds of negative thinking, and I would hope that they could be more responsible than that. They have blatantly misrepresented the process, and the fact is, that may be the only exposure people get about organ donation. We don't talk about it often, we don't see it on TV often, so when we do, it should at least be accurate.

p.s. The woman I mentioned in the previous post was not affiliated with the group. From what I understood she was a hospital volunteer/administrator. She had no real knowledge of the process, except that she should rush me. Luckily I did get the information I needed from a nurse who was willing to stop and listen. No one from the organization ever met with me.

I do think about it a lot; my then-fiance was American, obviously his organs stayed there. I have had some experience volunteering with the Canadian chapter, but I think it's altogether different. I have never heard anything from the hospital or about the organ donation (although I do know that several organs were successfully donated), despite leaving my and my mother in law's contact info. It's hard, it's always hard, but at the end of the day, life is precious and I would do it again no matter what.

4/13/2005 2:28 PM  
Blogger Moreena said...

I am so sorry to hear of your experience. They should never have sent anyone in to talk to you that wasn't willing to take some time to make you feel comfortable, whether they were with the Organ Procurement Organization or not. On the other hand, I do know that time is an issue, since there is always the danger of cardiac arrest, which would null the donation. But still it's more important to make sure the family feels comfortable.

I would write to the OPO that handles that hospital to make sure that your contact information is still available. It may well be that none of the recipients have written letters. I know how hard those letters can be to write. But they might be able to give you minimal information. I do always try to encourage recipients to write, figuring that if the family would rather not be reminded they can just toss the letter without reading it. But I think we do at least owe the donor's family the words "thank you."

So, even though you've never heard it from the actual recipients, I give you my own heartfelt thanks. I truly do feel grateful to every single donor and donor family, because the child they saved could have been mine.

And I am so sorry for your loss. Far from home, losing the one you love, it must have been nearly unbearable.

4/13/2005 9:20 PM  

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