Opinion Piece: Organ Donation

First, let me just say that if you don’t read xkcd webcomic, then you are missing something. The comic is funny, geeky, and just plain smart. But every once in a while the comic is also deep. Friday was one of those days.

I think when I got my driver’s permit in Alaska I wasn’t an organ donor. But I was 14 and wasn’t very aware. The first thing I did when I got my permit in Kentucky was have the lady at the DMV and my mom sign as witnesses that I wanted to be an organ donor. My Kentucky license and Minnesota license say the same thing. I am a proud organ donor.
If you want to be an organ donor and your driver’s license doesn’t indicate such, go to www.organdonor.gov to learn more about how to let officials know that you’re a donor. If you don’t know if you want to be an organ donor, think about it and talk to friends and family about it.
There are other ways to help too. I try to give blood when I’m able (and when they’ll take me… I need more iron in my diet most of the time) and I’m also on the Be the Match Registry for the National Marrow Donor Program. They need more people in their database as potential bone marrow donors and while it is definitely a commitment far above and beyond blood donation it is much less than organ donation. And all three can be done together.
So that’s my call to action for you today. You don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, but if you were planning to get around to being in the Be The Match Registry or becoming an organ donor, you should do it today. And if you (like me) have been meaning to go to the blood bank and donate blood, go do it! I now have an appointment to donate blood scheduled for Monday.

7 Responses to Opinion Piece: Organ Donation

  1. tatgeer says:

    1. do you want to try to donate blood together next time? I did it a few weeks ago, so I'm not eligible now. I've donated 6 times now, and I think they don't like seeing me because I've got small/hidden veins, but I really like doing it. For a long time I was really scared of passing out/having a seizure, but I've only passed out once, and it wasn't really a big deal.

    2. do you use a cast-iron pan? I only got turned down once for low iron, but I was close a few times. Since using a cast iron pan, I'm always several points above the minimum.

  2. Simon says:

    I would definitely donate my organs (uh, if the opportunity arose), but I have this problem with giving blood because the one time I did it, it really hurt. Between that, having extremely low blood pressure, and being incredibly squeamish, I have a really hard time signing up to do it again. It is seriously a constant source of shame. I have all this blood, can't they take it out of me by… magic? Why needles?

  3. Katie says:

    tatgeer – It feels funny using your username, but for consistency that's what I've been doing. Except for my mom.

    1. Sure. That sounds like a good plan and I often know when it's on your plate cause it comes up on LJ. My schedule might get crazy come late Jan cause I'm co-teaching next semester, but I think it would be goot to plan to do together. I have small and hidden veins too, but I like to do it too.

    2. No. I don't. I have one, but I never use it. I'm always afraid things will stick. I usually use a stainless steel pan. (Not non-stick.) Maybe I'll try that this weekend, to add a little oomph. Last time I was about .5 below their allowed level, so it was really close. I figure I'll also eat lots of high iron foods too.

    Simon – Not giving blood is ok. I know lots of people who are squeamish and that's ok. If you weren't doing it cause you hadn't thought about it, that would be one thing, but you have. I didn't mean to shame you 🙂 But on the organ donation, have you signed your driver's license? If not and if you are definitely ok with donating your organs if the (generally unfortunate) opportunity arose, you should sign a document saying that and make sure that your parents know that. Going back to the squeamish thing I seem to get more squeamish every time I go. Trying to block that out now…

  4. tatgeer says:

    a sticky cast iron pan is god's way of telling you to make some bacon. 🙂

  5. Katie says:

    That's making me think of that one Wait Wait Don't Tell Me from right before the Steven's Canyon Trip 🙂

    Dang it. I was at the Wedge tonight and meant to buy bacon for the second time this week 🙁 I guess I should be using the pancetta in the freezer anyways. Dad is making a new 12 lb batch, so I don't have to hoard this anymore. I also could probably use the mugs of bacon fat I have stored in my fridge…

  6. Simon says:

    Indeed I have signed my driver's license. I think I've also mentioned it to my family, but I supposed I should make sure. Although it's not the happiest subject to bring up at a family dinner… "Could you pass the potatoes, oh, and please donate my organs if anything terrible should happen."

  7. Katie says:

    Maybe you could make an organ cake? Like a kidney cake. And then bring it to a family event and say, oh, by the way, I don't ever want my kidney hacked into like this. I want it carefully removed and placed into someone else's body.

    Although come to think of it, that might be even weirder.

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