Saturday, 27 March 2010

Organ Donor Awareness Week 27 March - 3 April 2010

Last year 90 families, who were forced to say a final farewell to their loved ones, made the ultimate act of extraordinary compassion by agreeing to organ donation. These 90 grieving families' decisions saved the lives of 243 people in 2009.

Spread around the country there are now 172 people with new kidneys, who no longer have their lives on hold because of their dependence on dialysis. They are currently busy planning holidays, returning to work or study, maybe even running after grandchildren: activities which would have been unthinkable for them in 2008. There are a further 64 people who received the gift of a new liver; 11 were given new hearts and 5 more are breathing easily for the first time with new lungs; 8 others have thrown away their insulin supplies because of the magical arrival of a new pancreas.

Our friends in the amazing transplant team Beaumont hospital, with a level of productivity possibly unique in the Irish healthcare system, have raised their number of kidney transplants from 146 in 2008 to a new annual record of 176 in 2009. The HSE in its wisdom, has penalised this success by not increasing the budget to meet consequent strain on existing resources. As a result, the team were forced to export two donated kidneys and a pancreas to the UK transplant system because there were no available beds for the prospective recipients in Beaumont.

To quote the late Frank Deasy: Organ donation contains a possibility almost unique in modern life. We, the general public, can make a difference. It's not like the economy, the climate or Afghanistan. ...Your consent is the missing element in the equation of saving lives. That's pretty extraordinary.

Just in case you need further encouragement; this is what a successful kidney transplant looks like:
Donor Cards are available from your local pharmacy or simply free text the word DONOR to 50050. When you get your card, please remember to discuss the issue of organ donation with your family and make them aware of your wishes.



Monday, 15 March 2010

The loss of a Healing Heart

We lost a good friend this weekend. A hopeless romantic, whose heart balanced proudly on his (always well groomed) sleeve. That heart worked overtime for 46 magical years: loving, laughing, comforting until it finally wore out from sheer excess of love and kindness. This loss will leave an open wound in the heart of his family but also in a global community of friends.

Farewell - safe journey to wherever it is you're going. If we could beg one more favour of your healing heart, it would be to ask you to help those left behind to learn to live without you.

Although the world is so much darker for your passing, it is all the brighter because you have lived.


Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Rogue's Progress

It's been a funny few days, both of the Ha Ha and the peculiar variety. Boy wonder has settled down again in school after some post Christmas glitches. He is now regularly allowing me to brush his teeth with toothpaste. At school he is wolfing pots of Petit Filou yogurt and drinking water from a cup, however his lips remain sealed to food at home. This 'some places I'll eat and some places I won't' development has led me to my latest ground breaking clinical analysis of my nutritionally challenged son: it's a sure case of he's a pup and I'm an eejititis. A very common condition apparently, among six year old son's and their mothers. The only known cure is large doses of common sense and intravenous patience, in some cases it can lead to carer transplant, at it's most chronic, clinicians have been know to call in Supernanny!

Life being too short to obsess and our health being good, I prefer just to be grateful for the progress we have made; it seems like another life time when I wrote this post. Since this time last year, boy wonder and his mad mother have changed so much that we can hardly imagine how we used to cope back then, when life was so challenging. Although our support services have been moved from the Tallaght-Hospital-type basket case that is Enable Ireland - we have yet to see anyone from our new service provider. After the initial meetings in December we were told we would be seen by February 2010. February came and went, March is halfway out and still we wait. That wait no longer keeps me awake at night; I consider that to be the most amazing progress of all. I no longer feel like my son's development is being compromised by bloody minded bureaucrats. We have taken back control and we are moving forward. A sense of control is the alchemy we lacked for the last six long years. We can now transform obstacle to advantage despite the best efforts of the HSE to bludgeon us into silent submission.

We are the lucky ones, 58,000 patients who attended Tallaght Hospital for X-rays may not be so fortunate.

I am also very happy to announce that my ramblings have been shortlisted, in some very auspicious company, for an Irish Blog Award in the Best Specialist Blog Category. I am humbled by the nomination and amazed that people other than my nearest and dearest take the time to read this blog. Although I have said this many times, I will say it again - your companionship has lightened our load, and for that, we thank you.