The Greater Life.

The Greater Life.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“My younger brother was .. is.. was.. is..” he broke down. The auditorium held its breath. A colleague upon the stage pacified him.
“My younger brother was killed in an accident. But he is sitting in this room right now. I do not know upon which chair, but I know he is here. I hope he can hear me.” he said, pausing again to suppress sobs.
The transplanted liver of his brother somewhere in the same auditorium was silent, but more alive than most alive. Because it had survived death, living a greater Life now.
“My husband has the heart of a rabbit, he is very good otherwise. It was I who ran the show since our marriage” said this illiterate lady in an old green saree, torn footwear and one green bangle in her hand, to a laughing auditorium; “I have always been the lion-hearted in my family. I am not scared of any situation, not even poverty. I raised my children and even husband to a very happy family. But the day we were suddenly told that both his kidneys had failed, I lost my heart too, and broke down. But in a short while, I decided that I can solve this problem too. So I gave him my kidney. Now he is fine. I just want to tell you that you should not lose hope, God stands by us if we decide to stand up to the situation” she folded her hands at the sky, and wiped her eyes with a corner of her patched saree.
Next. She must be an artist or a guest to entertain. Twenty-something, fair and fragrant, as delicately beautiful as a dewdrop on a petal, dressed in an enviable grace, she walked up to the stage. She smiled like breezes before the monsoon, and softly said “I am an engineering student. My life had come to a halt when I was told that both my kidneys had failed. I received a kidney belonging to someone who passed away in a road accident. He may have lost his life but he lives within me. I cannot even thank him or his family: but I pray every day that they are always well provided for and looked after by the same almighty who saved my life”. She didn’t cry then, but there was something that kept her instantly above everyone, when she smiled. It was difficult to imagine that this young girl had had a kidney transplant!
He beamed when he reached the mike. Another teenager. “Forgive my rural language, but now I have the urban courage, to talk loudly and boldly. I was preparing for my own death two years ago. My village does not even have water or electricity. What’s more, nobody in my village knew what a kidney was! I was all bloated up, preparing mentally to say goodbye to my world any day soon. Then the people in my village collected money for me. My mother went from door to door, begging. The hospital and the social worker worked hard to get me donations from different trusts. And here I am, all cured, back on track to live life fully. I have a job now. Thank you, all doctors! Thank you, Joshi madam” he said.
As the “Organ Donation Day function” ended, almost everyone coming out was tearful and smiling. No amount of money can buy the satisfaction of the soul that comes from the greatness of human heart.
“Sir, my father has suddenly collapsed while returning from his office. We have taken him to the hospital near my home” said my student, his shaky voice making an effort not to give away the panic. They had just bought a new house, father was in his fifties, and the only source of earning for the family of four. Lower middle class, all the money went for basics and educating him and his sister. I worried about their future: with the long illness now, who will earn or pay for them? He was in his last year of physiotherapy.
In three hours, he called back. “Sir it’s a bleed .. they say he has no brainstem functions. We have consented to donate his organs. Sir, he will still be alive then, na? Five people will survive because of him” as his voice started shaking, “Sir today morning when we had our tea, papa had said that I must give back to the society. I guess this decision is right, isn’t it, Sir?” he paused to regain his voice.
To a society in which “Me, Mine and I” are the worst diseases, where children abandon parents for saving money and all corrupts blame all other corrupts, his father had professed him to give back. If not here, where else is the great?
“Where is your mom and sister? Hope they are aware” I asked him. “Yes Sir, I am with them. I know what you are thinking, Sir. I will take care of my family Sir, I know I can. I know you are with me..” he said.
Understandably, death takes away the life even of the survivors for a few moments. No one can think sane and calm. But we do come across some, who, once they know the inevitable, still think of what best can be done even in that situation. Organ donation by the live and now even the brain dead patients (where it is medically ascertained by 4 experts that the brain has no chance of recovery, and the patient’s heart and other organs may still work for a few hours ) has changed the scenario of a definite death penalty for kidney, liver and heart failure patients. Up to five lives can be changed / saved when the family of a brain-dead patient (or the patient during his life) has consented to organ donation.
There are very strict guidelines for organ transplant programs, and these are scrupulously followed and monitored by various agencies. Of course there are those who take advantage of the existing loopholes (as in any evolving system), but that by no means should devalue the great work being carried out by different transplant teams all over India. If a soldier dies on the border, other soldiers cannot waste time in crying and rituals, however they might suffer. That gallantry of soul required to continue to fight is unmatched. However, translated into medical battles, we need far more true valour. There are many allegations, but there is no recognition of the thousands of saved lives all over India, via organ transplants. As if all the sacrifices of those families, and all the hard work of the transplant teams were a waste! So many centres for organ transplants have such beautiful success stories and results, so many doctors have taken forward this huge task at the expense of their own time, effort and precious life.
For those who want to live beyond death, those who have an extraordinary heart, and even those who cannot stop criticising the whole medical profession for not being human and charitable enough, here is your chance to show what you are: please sign up for organ donation and save lives. Thousands die waiting for kidney / liver / heart transplants, while so many thousand kidneys, livers, hearts and other transplantable organs are just destroyed every day, people unaware that they can save lives.
The poor and non-affording still have difficulty arranging funds, the government must start this program in its higher healthcare set ups / medical colleges, so as to provide all the necessary backups and teams. Funding should come forward from charitable / religious establishments. There can be a central fund with ZTCC where people can donate, and a proportion of income from various religious / social / political / charitable etc. establishments collecting donations may be streamlined.
The Zonal transplant coordination centres (ZTCCs) work extremely hard to ensure that everything is legally correctly done. The police have recently provided with excellent backup for fast-transporting the harvested organ towards the recipient. Those who cannot think beyond money and criticism will never grasp the life of this activity.
A new era of humanity has begun, our challenge is to stand up to save lives.
Donate Organs. Please.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
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