Friday, July 10, 2009

The Gift of Life

I don't usually post on serious topics because . . . well . . . many avid readers seem to have an aversion to the real world. (Can dig it.) But this bears mentioning.

An employee of one of my publishers lost her 28-year-old daughter five months ago. (Names are not only unimportant here, they would violate privacy. You have to trust me on this one.) Said employee/mom just found out that her and her daughter's gift of organ and tissue donation has benefited -- get this -- 67 people. SIXTY-FREAKING-SEVEN. That's sixty-seven human beings whose lives have been prolonged and/or improved via one tragic death. That's one humble twenty-eight-year-old woman who's left behind an incomparable legacy.

Instead of rot, revival. I apologize for being so blunt, but that's what it comes down to.

I'm as big a believer in this as I am in adopting shelter animals and providing safe havens for victims of domestic violence and allowing GLBT persons to marry whomever they choose and curbing population growth. And that's BIG. So please, if you haven't already done so, modify your driver's licenses or living wills to allow for organ and tissue donation. What's the alternative, after all? Think about it.

I just hope those precious gifts didn't go to assholes. That's all I hope. Oh, and that I someday get my own penis. (Sorry, sorry. Just a touch of levity.)


MB (Leah) said...

I'm a donor. Although at my age and after years of debauchery living on whiskey, ciggys, coffee and sugar, probably the only thing my organs can be used for is med schools.

But still, after I'm dead, I don't need those bits. And being of Buddhist leanings, the body will be burned anyway, soooo...

Why don't you just go ahead and get a penis? It's possible these days, no? If I really wanted one I'd go for it. :D

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi there, Leah! Hey, have you started blogging again, or are you still on hiatus?

I know exactly what you mean about age and body mistreatment. I don't seem to be good for much, either. But you never know.

Unfortunately, penises can't just be grafted on and suddenly become workable. Otherwise...


Tam said...

I'm not sure in Canada we have organ donor cards. We should but my family knows my wishes are that anything that can be used should be. Its not like I'll need it. I'm shocked that so many people benefited, I think we tend to just think in terms of the large organs, heart, liver, lungs and that's it, 3-4 people but science is a wonderful thing. Hopefully that brought some peace to her family.

Jenre said...

Hub knows that I'm willing to have all my organs donated should the worst happen.

I would find it a great comfort to know that such a tremendously good thing has come out of a family tragedy like that. I hope it wil never happen to my children, but I'm certainly not going to prevent someone else having life-saving organs out of a misplaced sense of violating a body.

I don't know whether it's to do with the whole open-casket thing that you have going on in the US that prevents people from willingly donating. We don't do that in the UK so the state of the body in the coffin isn't an issue.

K. Z. Snow said...

I was surprised too, Tam. But when you figure that skin and parts of the eyes can be harvested (I do believe that's the term), it makes more sense. The skin is the largest organ, after all.

You don't have open-casket funerals in the UK, Jen? Wow. How sane.

All my life I've found it a bizarre practice. Same goes for the whole burial gig. It's appalling how much land is wasted on cemeteries and how much money is wasted on cement crypts and fancy boxes. And embalming fluids leeching into the soil and groundwater have become a serious environmental problem.

Why? For what? I've never understood.

H said...

I'm a registered as a donor. We have it on our DL here, too - but if a relative objects, they don't take anything (which really annoys me - it means that your body is not your own, even in death, if you happen to have close relative who does not like the idea). Very unfair.

Oddly, I can't donate blood here (I lived in the UK during the BSE years and so am deemed "icky"). This is also annoying as I am a vegetarian and because they could test for it. We are constantly short of blood and blood products, yet many of us cannot donate. My son is also ineligible to donate blood here (he was breast-fed).

On a (sort of) related note, a family friend has just (got out of hospital a fortnight ago) donated a kidney to her adult daughter.

I'm so pleased to see that sometimes the intention and the act are the same. My sympathies to your friend and Good Thoughts to the lucky recipients.

K. Z. Snow said...

Hello, H, and welcome.

The notion of friends and/or relatives overriding one's wishes is maddening. Oh, how I would love to haunt such people after I passed! Hard to believe any government would sanction such behavior.

It's equally shameful that you're prohibited from donating blood. As you said, tests can easily detect "tainted" blood.

MB (Leah) said...

Hey, have you started blogging again, or are you still on hiatus?

I'm in a severe reading slump. Nothing appealing to me at all and not in the mood to even read at all. But I'm watching out for when your next installment of Adin and Jackson comes out. :)

K. Z. Snow said...

Phrew, I'm glad to hear that, Leah! No pub date yet, but at least the blurb is up at Liquid Silver's "Coming Soon" forum (, and I'll be posting an excerpt within the week.

Kris said...

That is an amazing story, K Z.

I'm also a donor, but like H - perhaps we are both from Australia?? - the family can put the kibosh on your wishes.

I also think it's ridiculous that this should happen, not only because it is your body and your decision, but it is extremely difficult to make such a decision when you are in the depths of grief. I've been witness to a family getting such a phone call when the death was very, very sudden. It was pretty horrifying.

On the other hand, I've spoken to my family and they are aware of my wishes... and of the fact that despite being gone I will still kick their friggin arses if they even think about disagreeing with me.

K. Z. Snow said...

...Despite being gone I will still kick their friggin arses if they even think about disagreeing with me.

I have no doubt, Kris.