What I Learnt From : Becoming An Organ Donor

As I wandered downstairs to get my coffee from the canteen, my eye was caught by biscuits – free biscuits.  And free pens.  Ever intrigued by free stuff, I went to look what I had to do get some.

Turns out it was a stand asking for people to sign up for organ donation.  Not being something I’d really thought of before, I took a leaflet and left, only to be peer pressured in to completing said form.

Completing the form, it’s a little strange.  One of the questions is asking which body parts you’re willing to donate.  My rationale was that if I’m willing to donate one, then why not another?  Saying that you’ll donate even one, though, is odd.  After all, I’m going to be dead and I don’t particularly want to be dead yet.  I effectively signed a form saying that I’m happy to do something that I hope I never have to do.  That feels perverse.

I ended up having lunch with the people running the stand.  They were saying how one guy didn’t want to be a donor, because his organs were his.  Indeed, the hardest part of the form for me was the declaration that I’d discussed it with my family.  I can understand why, because they’re the ones that have to deal with the thought of various bits of me being cut out or off.  In that aspect, it’s not so much someone else having my organs as much as me not.  They are mine, after all, whether or not I have use for them anymore.

Someone else I work with had trouble saying that he’d donate his eyes.  They’re the window to his soul, and those eyes had seen a lot. That, compared to organs belonging to their owner (what an obvious turn of phrase), shows the difference in how people see there body as being just physical, and those who see it as more.

I feel like I’ve done the right thing, but I’m still not entirely comfortable and I think that’s because of it affecting other people knowing that someone else has a bit of me.  That was the thought going through my mind as I handed in my form.  The reason I did hand it over was that one of the people who was working on the stand was a colleague of mine who had lost her brother-in-law earlier in the year.  He needed a new heart, but couldn’t find one.  He left behind a young family.  Thinking of that devastation, the decision seemed easy to hand over something you no longer need, despite others maybe wanting you to keep.

If you’d like to register as an organ donor, you can do it here.

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