The Hell Butterfly

Up For Donation – Collection Only

Enclosed: complete set of internal organs (21 years old, v. mild wear and tear); blood (clean and in constant supply); eggs (unused, mint condition); eyes (two, medium blue, slightly damaged – glasses not provided).

I have always been on the side of science. Superstition never really bothered me. Especially when it came to bodily donations. Some people say that they won’t donate their eyes in case it leaves them blind in heaven. Others say they want to keep their heart so they can keep loving in the afterlife. But me, I’m a different story. In my mind, if it works, they can take it. Someone out there in need of a heart transplant can have my heart; someone with a failing kidney can take it, I have two; someone in need of a blood transfusion can have as much as I can give – not like I’ll run out so long as I’m alive. In my book, so long as it’s in good working order and compatible with someone in need, I don’t see why it should go to waste.

A couple years ago I joined the organ donor list. I told them they could take anything and everything when I die. Not like I’m going to need it where I’m gong, so why deny healthy organs to someone who needs them? I’d like to think that, should I myself be in need of a life-saving organ transplant, someone out there would be willing to help me out. I refuse to deny someone access to something so essential to life just because my own has ended. If it came down to it, I suppose I’d give a kidney while alive, but I expect the medical community to take whatever they can get their hands on when I kick it.

I know there are certain moral/religious conflicts that argue against this, but I don’t have these questions and doubts in my mind. I don’t believe in God or the afterlife, and if I did I would expect my soul to cross the River Styx in the same condition as when I dropped. If I die with everything in working order, that is the final state that my soul should be left in. No further development. Death is the separation of the soul and the body, so cutting the eyes and organs from my body shouldn’t have any effect on my soul. As it is, I don’t think about that much. I just think about the fact that my organs work fine, so why deny a healthy organ to someone who needs it?

Perhaps because it seems less real, I have less qualms about donating my organs after death than I do about donating blood today. I once considered doing it, but for completely stupid reasons I chose not to go (I didn’t want to go alone). I reconsidered donating blood today, seeing the link for blood donations come up on my Facebook News Feed. Again, I thought about it, and wondered why I was so reluctant. Now I think it’s less doing it alone: even this one year has helped my confidence, if only a small amount. No, the thing that is stopping me right now is the psychological echo left behind by my last injection. It was secondary school, probably around 2008-ish. The cervical cancer jab all the girls were getting. I felt like a badass after injection one, as I was one of few girls who didn’t feel like crap right after. My arm was a tad heavy but I had the lady balls to suck it up. Injection two was worse. My entire arm was heavy and tingly, and the muscle nearest the stab point ached. The third was just as bad, and this time I had the unpleasant memory of injection two to make it worse. Now, every time I think of an injection my arm throbs to remind me just how uncomfortable it was.

But you see, blood donation injections are different. They don’t just jab you in the arm wherever is most convenient. They wrap a cuff around your arm, ask you to tense your muscles and then they find a suitable vein in which to insert the needle. My arm is aching just typing this. I look at it, imagine them poking a needle into my skin, having to aim with such precision to get the vein. I suppose if I didn’t look, I could do it okay. But it’s such an off-putting sensation that I’m reluctant to try. Taking into account my views on organ donation in that “if it works they can have it”, then giving blood – which I have a steady supply of – should be no big. It’s a mental game. Get over the squeamishness and it’s simple enough. But there are other complications for me personally. Most importantly, I’m not registered to a doctor. Haven’t been for 2 years. I started to sign up for one in my first year of university but never finished because I needed my family’s medical history. I don’t know if I need to be registered to a doctor to give blood, but even if I don’t, I still don’t know my medical history by heart to accurately fill out the form.

I do hope to be able to give blood one day. Like my organs, I’d like to give it to someone who needs it. Someone needs a blood transfusion, I’ll gladly give some of my blood to make that happen. And to be honest, blood donation is a more immediate donation that I can give. I can’t give my organs until I croak, but with all this liquid life-force pumping through my veins, I am denying the use of it for somebody who needs it right now. Perhaps this is what I’ll spend my summer doing: register to the doctors, fill in my medical forms and get and give some blood.

But it isn’t just eyes, lungs and blood that I can give. As a member of the female species, I have something a little more gender specific that I can contribute: eggs. Now, personally, I’m against the idea of children. If others want to have kids, that’s fine, but I’ve never enjoyed the idea of having my own. Well, not the pregnancy and baby stages. I’ve occasionally pictured my ideal family set-up: twin boys (River and Reed) and then a girl (Harriet). But I’m terrified of pregnancy, and equally as scared of babies and small children themselves. My smile makes babies cry. So the idea of mini-Me’s running around the planet seems like a bad bad plan. Yet I can’t ignore the similarities between blood, organ and egg donation: no matter what I’m giving, it’s still helping someone who can’t help themselves.

If I’m willing to give up my heart, my eyes, my blood, then why should I be hesitant about donating eggs to a woman who can’t have children of her own? A woman who desperately wants children but can’t produce her own eggs could be living next door to me, who has everything in (supposedly) working order and yet has no plans to make use of them. So it gets me thinking, should I also be donating eggs? It’s a bit different though. Because sure, an organ or some blood once belonged to me, was once in my body, my system .. but eggs are me. It’s my DNA. My genes. If I donate them, I’m giving away something directly connected to me. It’s not like a kidney that does a job within a system and can function in the exact same way in any body. My eggs are my children. They would be fertilised by a man I’ve likely never seen and probably won’t ever meet, and raised by a woman who would have no connection to me. But it’s still technically, scientifically, and biologically my DNA. That’s a little more personal than a dram of AB Positive.

So I’m totally okay with the medical universe removing organs, and mostly okay with a medical professional taking a syringe or two of blood here and there, but I have some serious barriers up over egg donation. I don’t know how invasive a procedure it is to remove eggs, but I imagine it’ll make the act of sticking a needle into my vein seem like child’s play.

So, how about you? Have you ever given blood? Would you consider it? What about organ donation? Any moral issues over this?

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