Monday, December 31, 2007
. . . And Beginnings
Today I happened to run into the staff chaplain I wrote about in my previous post. She indeed spent many hours ministering to the family of the comatose patient, and thanked me for telling her about them instead of simply leaving at the end of my shift.
And she had some good news: when the patient died, the family readily agreed to donate the patient's organs. That patient's untimely end has now made new beginnings possible for other people.
Organ donation has been on my mind, because my friend Katharine DeBoer's brother received a new kidney on December 5th. David had gone into kidney failure from diabetes complications, and he'd been on dialysis for eighteen months. His new kidney was donated by a coworker he met only four months before the surgery, who's now lobbying for paid leave time for state employees who donate organs. Their local TV station did a three-part story, fittingly called The Gift of Life, on David and the donor, Janet. Be sure to scroll down to Part 1 so you can watch the story in order.
The evening after the surgery, I went to Katharine's house for our weekly Knitnight. (She wasn't able to fly to Vermont for the surgery, because she was still teaching, but she's there now.) As soon as she opened the door, I asked how the operation had gone. "The new kidney's working," she said, with tears in her eyes. "He's producing urine."
Watching the news documentary, I wondered if I'd be brave enough to donate a kidney to a stranger if I were a match. I'm not at all sure that I would, but I'm immensely grateful that there are people in the world who are.
To learn more about organ donation, you can visit the U.S. Government page about the issue, or go to Donate Life America.