Monday, May 15, 2006

Izzy and Denny and organ donation

OK, if you're not a fan of Grey's Anatomy this post probably won't interest you, but it might, since it has to do with organ donation, which is, after all, the whole point of this blog. So here we go. And if you haven't seen last night's episode you may want to skip this and come back.

For those of you not in the loop: Izzy, one of the surgical interns (Katherine Heigel) has fallen for a heart transplant patient named Denny. He's a bit older than her, but they are a sweet couple. He's already had one call for a heart that didn't work out. Well last night he gets another call that they may have a heart for him. Izzy breaks the news, but as she's doing so she noticed DNR papers that Denny is going to sign. He tells Izzy that if he doesn't get this heart, he doesn't want to wait around for another. He can't go home, he's hooked up to all sorts of machines, including a pump that does the work of his heart and is basically keeping it going (I got a lung tx, not a heart tx, so forgive me if the details are sketchy or whatever). He signs it, which makes Izzy angry.

Things get worse when Burke (the transplant surgeon) goes to harvest and finds out that the heart for Denny is bad because the patient's heart gave out. Fortunately, there's another heart there that would work, but it's been claimed. The only way for Denny to get it is for his numbers to get worse. But they won't...unless Izzy does something. So she tries to disconnect the pump inserted into Denny's abdomen (I think, or soemthing like that. It involves his abdomen) The episode ended with Izzy cutting the cord.

So why am I blogging about this? Well, even if the scenario is a) a bit far-fetched b) totally outside transplant ethics guidelines (which Izzy and Denny both know and acknowledge), it's a great way to raise awareness of organ donation. If you watch this show, you care about Izzy and Denny. You've seen his gradual decline over two seasons, and you can see what a toll the waiting has taken on him. Last night, he tells Izzy, "I believe in Heaven. And it's got to be better than this."

I'll write more about this later when I get to my own tx story, but I can tell you that Denny has a point. There comes a point when you just get sick of waiting. You get frustrated and tired and I didn't even wait that long. But it is scary, especially when you feel that you're getting worse and you start to worry that the call might not come in time (and for a lot of people, it doesn't). That's not a happy feeling. And the only way to get rid of that feeling is to increase the number of donors in the U.S., so that instead of about 18 people dying everyday, waiting, we can get that number to 0.

It's totally do-able. And you can do it right now by clicking the "Lifeline of Ohio" link on the right side of this page. Become an organ donor--it's not hard, you're not going to be using them (OK, a little dark humor there, but it's true!). And you can save someone else's life simply by signing your name to a piece of paper or clicking your mouse to send in a form. So many people can benefit from your decision, including people like me and Denny (well, OK, he's fictional, but you get my point).

And if you want to see what happens to Denny? Watch ABC @ 9:00 tonight for the finale. :)

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