Friday, February 11, 2011

Take my eyes..

I’ve always carried an organ donor card. I’ve always told my parents my wishes, worried that I’d go to waste.

My father would wince, thinking of what would have to happen for me to give life. My mother would wince, thinking of her daughter’s eyes. 

When I was little I would go with my father to Pelican House and watch proudly, and fascinated, as he gave blood. He couldn’t watch as they put in the needle, nor as it drew blood, but he did it regularly for as long as he could. 

I remember getting ‘the owner is a donor’ pencils and ‘drive carefully, you might need me, I’m a blood donor’ car stickers. Back when I still used pencils every day and couldn’t wait to get a car just to stick up those words.

I remember working out how long it would take me to get to 20, 50, 100 donations if I started on my 18th birthday and gave every 90 days. I was much better at mental arithmetic then.

I've since started to give blood, moved on to platelets, took a break, went back to full blood, took another break and went back again. 

The first break was because I was tired. The second break was because I was stupid. I'm not on target, but I'm nearing 30 donations now, aged 31. 

I was horrified to read this Irish Times article on This Limbo  to learn that there had been a 35% decrease in organ donations last year for no good reason at all. 

Good kidneys, strong hearts, powerful lungs, lost. 

The opportunity to live a better life, a longer life, a life, gone.

A tragedy to bring hope. Two phone calls, one the worst news, the other the best. 

I struggled for years over whether or not to tick the box to donate my eyes, but not now. To give someone sight, I can't find words.

I had the conversation with my parents again this week and said if the worst happens make sure they take everything. My Dad said he'd have my wallet.

His attitude has changed over the years, I hope that the HSE and incoming government follow suit.

4 comments:

  1. Shiny - Thank you so much for drawing attention to the issues that are the basis of all my ranting these days - and for doing so in such a lyrical manner. It really means a lot.

    Fair play too for the blood donations. I don't get why everyone doesn't do it. I used to donate regularly before I got the sickness.

    I hope that organ donor card of yours never comes into use, and I sincerely hope everyone who reads this follows your example xx

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  2. Great piece and a kick up the arse for me. I used to have an organ donor card, one of the old white and red ones and I ticked 'take everything'. My mother signed it and I made them aware of my wishes. However I no longer have that card, I don't know where it went, it's in an old wallet somewhere. I don't have one of the new ones. And I should. And I should get my very-soon-to-be-husband to sign it and make him aware of my wishes. Which I will do now.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. Wonderful post Shiny, very inspiring. I have a donor card and I've talked to Rock God about my wishes. I've gotten lax about giving blood though, I will get back to that, I miss it, it's so lovely there, and the Tayto!! :)

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  4. Thanks girls.

    This Limbo - To me it's simple, if you can give blood, give blood. Enough people can't for whatever reason. As for organ donation, I think it should be opt-out, but in the meantime the more we can do to spread the word...

    beatingmyselfintoadress - glad to provide that kick up the arse :)

    Hestiasheart - tayto and time outs - you can't beat it!

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