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I'm currently reading the book Irreplaceable by Stephen
Lovely
. The description of the book can be found by clicking on the
link. However, for this entry to make sense, I'll put part of the
description here too.

"Lovely's debut novel, a touching journey of the heart, tracks what
happens to two Midwestern families after a death and a gift of life.
Archeologist Alex Voormann and his plant biologist wife, Isabel, had a
pleasant enough life in Iowa until Isabel was struck and killed while
riding her bicycle. Alex reluctantly complies with her wish to be an
organ donor, which saves the life of Janet Corcoran, a 34-year-old
Chicago art teacher and mother of two. Lovely thoughtfully weaves the
tales of these two families together, tracing the realities of love and
loss of all kinds as Alex attempts to move on, the man who was driving
the truck that killed Isabel begins popping up in unexpected places, and
Janet seeks out Alex and Isabel's mother to thank them and express her
guilt and empathy."

I picked this one up pretty much on a whim, and I've found it to be a
very good read. Since the central idea of the novel focuses on organ
donation, I've found the issues and the things that each person deals
with and goes through to be absolutely fascinating, and it's really made
me think about things.

Growing up, I never really thought about whether I wanted to be an organ
donor or not. As kids, we talked about it, but, at least for me, I
really didn't know truly what it meant. I may have said that I'd donate
myself to science, but I was pretty much just repeating what I heard
others say, and I didn't understand what I was saying.

Then, fifteen years ago I started getting a pain in my right eye. I went
to my doctor and was told that I had an eye infection and was told to
keep it covered and use eye drops. When it wasn't better a couple of
weeks later, I went back to the doctor who took another look and sent me
the same day to an eye doctor. I was then diagnosed with severe
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] keratoconus</a>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

I'm currently reading the book <a href="
http://www.amazon.com/Irreplaceable-Stephen-Lovely/dp/1401341217/ref=sr_
1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284123241&sr=1-1">Irreplaceable by Stephen
Lovely</a>. The description of the book can be found by clicking on the
link. However, for this entry to make sense, I'll put part of the
description here too.

"Lovely's debut novel, a touching journey of the heart, tracks what
happens to two Midwestern families after a death and a gift of life.
Archeologist Alex Voormann and his plant biologist wife, Isabel, had a
pleasant enough life in Iowa until Isabel was struck and killed while
riding her bicycle. Alex reluctantly complies with her wish to be an
organ donor, which saves the life of Janet Corcoran, a 34-year-old
Chicago art teacher and mother of two. Lovely thoughtfully weaves the
tales of these two families together, tracing the realities of love and
loss of all kinds as Alex attempts to move on, the man who was driving
the truck that killed Isabel begins popping up in unexpected places, and
Janet seeks out Alex and Isabel's mother to thank them and express her
guilt and empathy."

I picked this one up pretty much on a whim, and I've found it to be a
very good read. Since the central idea of the novel focuses on organ
donation, I've found the issues and the things that each person deals
with and goes through to be absolutely fascinating, and it's really made
me think about things.

Growing up, I never really thought about whether I wanted to be an organ
donor or not. As kids, we talked about it, but, at least for me, I
really didn't know truly what it meant. I may have said that I'd donate
myself to science, but I was pretty much just repeating what I heard
others say, and I didn't understand what I was saying.

Then, fifteen years ago I started getting a pain in my right eye. I went
to my doctor and was told that I had an eye infection and was told to
keep it covered and use eye drops. When it wasn't better a couple of
weeks later, I went back to the doctor who took another look and sent me
the same day to an eye doctor. I was then diagnosed with severe <a
href=" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratoconus"Keratoconus</a>.
Basically, my cornea had gone into a cone shape rather than being flat
like it's supposed to be. By the time it was caught, I was extremely
light-sensitive, and it was very painful. I was put on the transplant
list, and eventually received a corneal graft, replacing the damaged
part of my cornea with a good part. This was not so much a procedure
done to restore any vision since my right eye is pretty much useless
anyway, but to keep my eye, period. My eye doctor told me that if the
transplant was not done, I had a very high likelihood of losing my
entire eye.

After the transplant happened, I wondered if I'd done the right thing.
The pain immediately after surgery was like nothing I'd experienced
before. I'd watched videos where people talked about how simple cornea
transplants actually were, and how there was almost no pain associated
with it. When I woke up in the hospital in the middle of that first
night, I wanted to hurt anyone I could get my hands on who'd ever been
in one of those videos.

The next several months were difficult ones. Chances of tissue rejection
from a cornea transplant are supposed to be almost nonexistent, but
because it was me, I started to reject the tissue. A bundle of blood
vessels started growing through the center of the graft. I had probably
the most amazing doctor at this point, and he did absolutely everything
he could to stop the rejection. I was given different ointments and
steroid drops, and I spent months wearing this really weird metal eye
shield, sometimes with a patch and sometimes without, because my
sensitivity to light made my eye start tearing the minute I opened my
eye. But, his persistence eventually paid off, and the growth of the
blood vessel bundle stopped. The last of my stitches were removed almost
two years after the initial surgery, and actually had to be done under a
mild anesthetic because they needed to clamp my eye open. The worst part
of the stitch removal came when they took a needle and pushed it into my
eye just behind the bone right under my eye. I never want to go through
that again if I can help it.

But, there really is a point to this story. If it hadn't been for that
person who signed their donor card, I don't know when I would have
gotten a replacement, or if it would have come in time. A cornea is such
a minor thing when you consider all the other things that get donated;
heart, kidneys, even lungs. But, to me, that little piece of tissue was
eventually worth it. It was that little piece of tissue that made me
decide, knowing exactly what I was doing this time, that I wanted to
become an organ donor. In Wisconsin, my state ID displayed the organ
donor sticker, and now my state ID still shows that I want to donate
whatever's needed when the time comes. My situation wasn't a matter of
true life or death, especially since losing my eye wouldn't have killed
me. But, it was enough to make me realize how important something like
organ donation truly is. It was at that point that it stopped being a
joke to me and took on reality. I don't think I'd ever known anyone who
received any kind of donation, so I had no way of really understanding
the impact that it can have on a person.

Unlike the recipient of the heart in the book, I've had no desire to
know who my donor was. I'm just content knowing that it became available
to me and I'm grateful that the person responsible, or the family of
that person, gave permission for the donation to happen. Fifteen years
later, almost to the day even, my right eye is still doing just fine.

The book has really made me think though. I don't want to give anything
away, and I'm still reading it anyway so I don't even know how it's
going to end. But, if this kind of thing is something that interests
you, or if you want to read something that truly is thought-provoking
concerning organ donation, I truly do recommend reading this book. And,
for those of you who are able to use this service, I got it from NLS
BARD.

Finally, if you want to, feel free to tell me. Are you, or have you ever
thought about the idea of being an organ donor? Why or why not?