Friday, June 20, 2008

Life Support

I've been thinking (and talking) a lot about death recently. My favorite uncle passed away last week which I'm super sad about. But even before his passing last Wednesday, I'd been pondering my own mortality a lot since Memorial Day weekend when Patty's son got a kidney transplant. I'm a full body organ donor. If I can't die of old age in my sleep like Uncle Ed, and I instead die horribly in some accident, I hope it's near a teaching hospital or some place that can part me out to the largest number of people. Being an organ donor helps me personally insure that people continue to believe in miracles. I know that Patty believes in them because some stranger gave her kid the gift of life.

Patty has inspired me to be more vocal about insisting that people sign on to be organ donors or at least donate their body to science. It's like the ultimate in recycling. I guess I'm not squeamish about this subject in part because my father is a doctor and I was raised to believe that donating yourself to save others is a good thing. But I'm also not that afraid of death. I think there's an afterlife and in that space or plane of existence I believe I will be okay. My living will expresses my wish to donate as much of my body as possible to help others, and it also expresses my wish to die without fanfare if I'm ever pronounced brain dead. I don't want to be hooked up on a machine, draining the emotional and financial reservoirs of my family and friends.

Today, Patty emailed me some thoughts about her living will that she's in the process of drafting:

"Last night my sister and I were sitting in the den and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all, If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

She's such a bitch."

Patty's awesome.

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