Friday, July 23, 2010

heart of hearts

"Squeamish." There is a word that describes me. I can't watch television doctor programmes that are too realistic when they show operations and the such. I get all light headed when someone describes an injury, of any kind, in detail. I just somehow 'ick out'. So it was that while sitting on the sidewalk outside YAI where I was to present, I watched a black SUV pull up at the curb just to my left. I was waiting for Joe to park the car and then join me on the trip in and up.

I watched in fascination when two grim faced medical types, one in green one in gray, got out of the vehicle. They opened the back door and pulled out this flat piece of metal that with a kick took the shape of a two tiered trolley. Then they reached in and pulled out these elaborate looking coolers. Each of them was clearly locked and each had a green light shining indicating, I guessed, that they were cooling their contents. Then I saw the word.


Three "organ" coolers were loaded onto the cart and then they were headed up towards me. I realized that I was sitting right at the disabled entrance and of course they would need to use that. As they approached I understood that there were body parts in those coolers. Hearts, eyes, kidneys, were locked up in the cold. I spoke to the woman who did not answer me, she asked in a harsh accented voice, for me to hold the gate open so they could pass by. There was no chit chat here.

I held the gates and the coolers passed within a couple of feet of my nose. My imagination was hideous. I got this horrible creepy feeling and my stomach did a flip flop. But I tried to keep my face passive and within seconds they were by me. I turned my wheelchair slightly and watched them carefully, very very carefully negotiate the passageway along the side of the building that I knew from experience would twist and turn until they were in the lobby.

Just as they turned I caught a glimpse of one of the coolers. I saw it's green eye. Instantaneously my heart opened. Someone had died. Someone had gifted from their life to another. Somewhere in the great USA someone else would live. The hugeness of the gift, which I had only understood with cardboard sentiment, struck me.

And I bowed my head and prayed for the soul of the person who's heart had passed me by. I thanked them for their gift. I thanked them for the generosity of spirit that had them think about others. I prayed for those who lost and those who would gain. I prayed to remember, myself, that every heart is a gift.

Those given once.

Those given twice.


ivanova said...

Way to go, organ donors. Giving the gift of life.

Belinda said...

Hooo. What a moving post. I hope this encourages more people to share their "spare parts" when no longer needed. I hope that one day, part of me can help someone else live life unattached to a machine, or walk without fatigue.

Thank you.

And now that I know how queasy you are I am sorry for going into such gory detail upon about an operation I underwent. But thank you for sounding interested! Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

I love it when you write from the heart.....

Belinda said...

Ha! Anonymous. Very funny. :)

Andrea S. said...

I am exactly the same way, Dave: I get squeamish when other people describe surgeries or injuries in too much gory detail. Yet, when it's me who is hurt, I don't get as squeamish ... as long as no one tries to describe to me in too much detail exactly what and how things went wrong!

Shan said...

As the wife of a transplant recipient, I can only say FOR GOD'S SAKE REGISTER.

Sunshine and Shadows said...

Amen. I need a box of tissues handy to read your blog. You are such a good writer.