Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Transplant Awareness Week and Updates

Right, this week is transplant awareness week so if you go to your nearest hospital outpatients you'll probably find a group of lovely people raising awareness of transplantation. It would mean the absolute world to me if just one of you signs up to the organ donor register. If you're in the UK you can simply click on the link on the right side of this blog. If you're not, head to google. All you have to do is fill out a form. If your uncomfortable with a particular organ being taken, I know eyes are a bit of a weird one if you believe in an afterlife, you can just uncheck that box and you can just give away what you want to. Then they'll send you a card that you can just pop in your wallet and then you can start telling everyone else to do the same!

The circumstances in which you need to die for your organs to be able to be donated are so particular that the amount of organs available to people like me is really low. You have to be proclaimed brain dead but be technically alive on a heart and lung monitor. There is no activity in the brain but blood is still being bumped around the body. This is how it needs to be for your organs to be donated to somebody. What is really important is for you to TELL YOUR FAMILY that you are joining the organ donor list. Putting it on Facebook or something is a great way to raise awareness and also let's your friends and family know. Talk about it properly with your next of kin because a great number of donors on the donor register never have their organs leave their body because, quite understandably, their families aren't comfortable with it. It's a very upsetting time and they're not thinking about people like me, they're thinking about their son, brother or friend and who can blame them for wanting their loved one's body to remain in tact. But given the chance to talk about it with you, know that that's what you want, they're going to be a lot more willing to give the transplant the go ahead. 

At a visit to the hospital yesterday I met a boy, a little older than one, that had recently had a heart transplant. He now looks like any other boy his age. The only clue to his ordeal is the top of his scar just visible above his shirt. He'll be extremely lucky to make it into adulthood but he's been given a healthy, happy childhood that he wouldn't have had otherwise. He spent the time leading up to the transplant on a heart and lung monitor waiting for a matching organ. Time is short and more donors are needed. So signing up and getting your friends and family to do the same will make a huge difference. If you're not suitable to donate perhaps consider looking at donating them to medical research. Obviously I respect your right to decide what happens to your organs when you die and if donating your organs is not for you you're free to make that choice but if you're happy to donate, please sign up! 

As I've said I'm being considered for a double lung and heart transplant. For this the heart and lungs have to come from the same person so it's just a little bit harder to get a healthy heart and lungs from the same person. They do very few heart and lung transplants and they're usually done on people with congenital heart and lung diseases, which are rare. There are currently around 16 people on the active list and they tend to do around 4 a year. And still people are dying on the list. So donors are still needed quite desperately. 

On to updates, Sorry I've not posted this week. I've been having a little holiday in Swansea, enjoying the lovely sun we've been having here in England. Which was made even more enjoyable by the fact that my chest pain has got so much better. Unfortunately I had a bit of a sickness bug as well but you can't win them all! I was feeling quite happy and had a bit more energy than normal, which always makes a massive difference to my life. I'm having a good week, I think. I just hope this heat isn't going to kill me this week because my lungs don't tend to cope very well and I tend to need quite a lot of sleep and it's too hot to sleep in at the moment.

I've also been busy moving out of university and am now officially home for the summer. It's going to be nice seeing everyone a bit more now I've got time on my hands. Best of all I can now write on my own terms without being pressured to whip things out for assessments. I've got a few things once go and it's really nice to have some relaxing writing time without looking at the word count every few minutes. 

I'll be finishing part two of my life in operations this week, so keep a look out for that. 
Now go and join the organ donor register!
Thanks for reading. 

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