Happy Valentine’s Day!

 When my oldest son was 16, he passed his driver’s test and was waiting for his photo. The PennDOT employee who was helping him asked if he wanted to be an organ donor. I’m not sure if he was frazzled from the stress of the exam because he just gaped at her, eyes as big as saucers. So, being the kind and sweet mom/nurse that I was, I patted the counter and told him “Hop right up! What do you want to give today?” He did get an organ donor sticker on his license that day but, alas, did not opt to donate anything while there.

Despite my lighthearted humor at the DMV, a failed organ is no laughing matter. On average, 21 people die in the US every day while waiting for a transplant.

So, this Valentine’s day, I’d encourage you to become an organ donor.

As an ICU nurse, I’ve seen the organ donation process first hand. There is some serious life dedication going on with those organ donation teams. They do an amazing job in an incredibly emotionally charged situation. I do, however, think that there is always room for improvement. And just in case I find a genie in a bottle, I’ve prepared my 3 wishes in advance.

Wish #1.              That the organ donation system would be an opt-in or opt-out option. That means that only those people who are willing to donate are able to receive.  You make a choice then live with it. This would serve to make the organ donation decision a very serious one.

Wish #2.              To have a registry for those who wish to donate their bodies to a general or specific research cause. For example, because of my struggle with Lyme disease and my family history of dementia, I’d love to see my own body used to further research in those fields.

Wish #3.              For 3D organ use to become commonplace. I know that it’s happening in the research field but I’d like to see it be a resounding success with no negative outcomes. Hey! A gal can dream.  Want to know more?  Check out this TED talk on printing a kidney.

For more information on becoming an organ donor, please visit DonateLifePA.org.  I’ve included links to a clickable map of state organ donor registries. Let your final act on this Earth be an act of love! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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