Monday, April 05, 2010

tough topic

A worthy note and preface;

This blog post has been sitting in my draft box for several months now, since December actually, as I've never been strong or brave enough to post it, until now. This is what we are facing with a visit to the surgeon up ahead and a topic which fills our hearts with trepidation, always. Sharing with you, that's all.

I'm thankful for moments like this when my hubby and I escape our home to venture out for a what turns out to be a very emotional discussion when forms like this enter our lives.

The "JOY" of Starbucks when one requires a hot cuppa and a heartfelt chat.

This type of "Organ & Tissue Donor" form revisits us from time to time, during driver's license and medical card renewals especially, both are due for me this month, thus the unintended revisit in the first place.

Organ and tissue donation is a very personal and often crippling emotional topic for most people, but for our family it's a vital and all too real topic worthy of lengthy discussion in the event of accidental death and also because it is a topic alive in our extended family with two of my brother's two (foster) children's lives, both blood siblings, both saved due to liver transplantation as newborn infants.

Admittedly for our family, it's a real heart stopper topic at best, especially since all of the abuse of organ transplantation has been exposed in the media over the past few years.

One of the worst infractors are accomplished doctors who cross the line with moral ethics when considering possibilities for their patient candidates. For instance, on top of other such debates, why in the world would anyone desire an organ from someone in their nineties when they themselves are only a teenager? It's a fine line in the sand and careful attention to proper procedures should be respected in all matter and form.

As a couple, we have our power of attorney forms prepared and yet even though we're prepared with our preferences in writing, still, the topic visits all anew sending pangs right through the very core of our hearts.

When considering the entire topic at large and how it will visit our home in the future, we continue to pray about it, seek continual counsel from our priests, several to date in our various geographical locations. All recommend their thoughts, viewpoints and suggestions for revisiting the following quote;
"We encourage donation as an act of charity. It is something good that can result from tragedy and a way for families to find comfort by helping others." Pope John Paul II has stated, "The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a 'challenge to their generosity and fraternal love' so long as ethical principles are followed."
As in most moral ethics, there is always so much more to the initial story.

As power of attorney to one another, we state our desires loud and clear within our family, encouraging each other to keep away from the "gray matter" which in an extreme case, hospital staff might tug on heartstrings during emergent matters to wreak emotional and moral havoc for swaying our original decisions.

So, we write our preferences down in the presence of a lawyer, using dark ink so there are no mistakes or misleading actions performed when under severe duress. We also encourage our older children to do the same. And they have.

My husband's prognosis for his degenerative lung disease has only one sole medical solution offering for wellness - lung transplantation, and that is where it all gets mighty tough.

We've been hanging around hospital respiratory wards for ten years and seen many patients pre and post transplant. It's a heady issue and one offering zillions of viewpoints, insults included. As I said right in the beginning here, it's a "personal issue", oh so very personal for sure. And tough. Very tough.

My husband teeters on the fence along with other fellow out patients in his respiratory physiotherapy twice weekly classes. The topic always brings horrendous fear and panic sensations to make hearts somersault deep within the cavity of their chest.

It's a horrific topic, a scary topic and one that revisits our home frequently. After witnessing several before and after transplantation this past year, my husband is siding with the possible opting of not proceeding with this lifesaving, lifegiving operation. But then, we all know what the obvious will become if he chooses not to agree with this operation in the end.

Loving folks offer plenty of supportive advice towards my husband and our family at large. I have to say, my mouth has become almost permanently zipped on the topic. I have my views. My husband has his views. That is the end of the discussion for us, that is until yet another darned organ transplant form comes to call once again. Again we review, renew and secure our thoughts; that's what it does to us. And clammy hands just becomes part of the package. Thank goodness for a warm cuppa to grasp on to at the same time.

Our hands always become all clammy and our hearts weak when the topic comes up, so we don't speak about it much these days. All that said, I'm turning off the comments section for this post, and ask if you happen to have an opinion of either yeah or nay, please, not here. Thank you in advance for respecting our wishes.

As a final close...

Lent. It's all about offering up more prayer and sacrifice. This health topic is all about another kind of lent many are not personally familiar with.

Suffering. Agony. Pain. Recovery. Sorrow. Hope.

I wouldn't dare attempt to compare these types of health issues to anything Our Lord endured for us during this liturgical time of year, however I wish to salute all those who have been on their own difficult health journeys, and seemingly presented with this topic of organ transplantation, thrust upon them uninvited.

God Bless you all.