by Meg Ulrich
So death is something people shy away from talking about. I have news; it’s going to get you eventually, though I hope it is far off for you and me both. Organ donation, a large majority of the time, involves death. As you may know, or possibly guessed, I don’t so much shy away from talking about anything and usually find a way to laugh at or make light of just about any situation. It’s how I was raised and who I am; I come from people that have gotten through some bad times with laughter. Humor will carry you through. And you really haven’t lived until you’ve been to a wake with my family. (Lived! I can make a pun like nobody’s business!)
Anyway, here’s the thing; there are over 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list and 22 people die every single day waiting for a transplant. Every 10 minutes or so, someone is added to that waiting list; that’s a lot of people waiting for a lot of organs.
Statistics show that 95 percent of adults in the United States support organ donation, but only 48 percent are registered as donors. I get it; it’s not something you really think about on the daily or put on your to do list. Plus, even with the number of generous people that have signed up to donate, only three in a thousand will die in a way that allows for organ donation. And, did you know, that one donor can potentially save eight lives? EIGHT! That’s kinda amazing!
I long ago decided that I would donate my organs. First of all, I’m totally getting cremated when I die. I fear that those left behind will think it’s hilarious to put funny make-up on me and coif my hair in a strange fashion if they’re allowed to lay me out. Plus, I do not like the idea of people looking at me when I’m dead and I’m not super fond of the way they hold a dead person together, quite frankly. I suppose I won’t really care either way, what with being dead and all. I also won’t really need all those organs and, if someone can recycle those suckers and get some more miles out of them, then so be it. Use what you can, folks; you are welcome to any and all of the things I have no further use for. Give the rest to the scientists and see what they can do with it.
Also, my aunt received the gift of organ donation. She was very ill some years ago and after a lengthy wait, received a liver and has been fantastic ever since. Mind you, there are things you do to make your body want to keep the organ and live a healthy lifestyle and all that jazz. She was pretty darn healthy beforehand, except for the bum liver thing. But I can’t imagine my life without her and, because of someone’s generosity, I don’t have to. Nor do her children and grandchild or all the people she does so many good and positive things for. So, yup, I have a personal reason for being a donor, too.
I’m pretty sure that you get credit at the pearly gates for leaving some positive stuff behind, whether it’s a good deed or a pancreas. No penalty for incomplete anatomy; they’re only worried about your spirit there. Plus, it’s not like you lost your parts in a poker game. “I see your liver and raise you a lung!”
And if you’re worried about being cut up, seriously don’t. I can promise that you don’t need the extra baggage and you won’t feel a thing. They, those surgeon people and mortician people, have the magic to make you look top of the line should you want to be laid out for your people. I’d advise you to not do any light reading about the “strangest stories shared by morticians,” though and don’t say I didn’t warn you about the makeup thing, though.
If you are part of the 52 percent of adult folks that aren’t signed up, you should consider going to organdonor.gov and doing so. It only takes a couple of minutes and it’s easy as pie. It’s kind of like a will that leaves the most amazing thing behind; LIFE. Now go, quick like a bunny, and become a donor. Also, if you’re feeling it, head over to bethematch.org and take a little read about bone marrow donation. Our bodies are amazing machines; check out what yours can potentially do.