Sunday, February 05, 2006

Donor history

For those that don’t know, I work for a company that processes human tissue for transplant. We get donated hearts, veins, and knees on ice, in boxes, shipped to our very door. With these donated pieces of people, we also get paperwork. Sometimes we get the minimal paperwork, our forms filled out with the information we require. Sometimes we get lots and lots of paperwork, an entire medical history and often, a social history too. Sometimes the people who fill out this paperwork have the need to include a lot of information about the donor that while, isn’t necessary for our job, needs to just be shared. There is a lot of sadness out there, a lot of bad things happening. Most of the time I don’t read all of the extra information because it becomes too much for me, it can overwhelm me and distract me from my job.

Last night I was unpacking a donated vein. I was going through the paperwork looking for the specific times we need for our work. I had to read through all of this stuff to find out what I needed to know. It went like this:

33 year old man died in car crash. Driving in wet conditions and lost control of the car.

At risk behavior? – Donor was sexually abused by father from the age of 5 until he was 15. Sexual penetration confirmed, father did not have sex with any other males, just the donor. Donor had history of drug use – marijuana, cocaine, and meth amphetamine for 20 years. No drug use in past 7 years.

And reading that set the mood for me for the rest of my day at work. Is it really any surprise that this guy had a long history of drug use? I mean, who could possibly grow up normal after their father had sexually abused them for 10 years? But then it seems this guy cleaned up his act, got married (this was deduced from the HIV test he had 3 years ago for a marriage license), and perhaps was headed towards a happier life. And then he crashed his car.

So often things seem so unfair to me. The more I read, the less I understand. The more I that I look for answers, the more questions I find. Why do people do such terrible things to other people? Why are people so cruel to children? How is it possible to take advantage of something so sweet, so innocent?

“The more you see, the less you know. The less you find out as you go.”


At 11:22 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I know exactly how you feel. Ironically I work as a high school counselor at a school that focuses on biotech! and I work with lots of kids who have been through so much more than anyone should have to. It is depressing and distracting often!


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