In full light of confession, I never concern myself with belief. Novelist E.M. Forster summed it up best with his famous quip, “I don’t believe in belief.” And what that means to me is this: I don’t think fate, or destiny, belief, wishful thinking or any mental exercise of hoping or praying will cause anything to happen on its own.
Only human action sets circumstances into motion, or inaction allows things already in motion to continue to conclusion.
That’s my long-winded way of saying, something will not happen simply because I wish for it to happen.
Which begs this troublesome question: Should I wish for a transplant knowing that some young person must die first for it to happen?
It’s Shakespearean in its implications: To wish or not to wish, that is the question. My cure by necessity can occur only at the expense of someone else’s untimely demise.
With days counting down toward dialysis, as the result of progressive kidney disease, I must scold myself, without sound reason or logic, for yearning for the transplant to occur. I know my hopes alone won’t harm anyone. I also know it’s human nature to hope for something personally beneficial to occur.
That said, I need a new kidney to remedy kidney disease and avoid dialysis. I need a pancreas to cure type 1 diabetes that I’ve had for 44 years. Doctors think a new pancreas offers my best hope against potentially fatal hypoglycemia. Such bouts of low blood sugar already have threatened my existence on several dramatic occasions.
Just last weeks, dear wife Suellen thought I was taking my final breaths in the middle of the night. Too much insulin with too few calories equals big trouble. I was convulsing and gasping for air.
She’d been prepared to call 911 but didn’t think I’d last long enough for the ambulance to arrive.
But she brought me out of it, at long last, by rubbing pancake syrup on my gums, despite advisories against putting anything in the person’s mouth due to the risk of choking. Eventually barely coherent Dave was able to drink grape juice and emerge from the nightmarish fog to learn what almost had happened to him. We’re now renewing our prescription for injectable dose of glucose. The kit at home had long ago expired.
She saved my life for the umpteenth time.
To keep my brittle form of diabetes at bay, I must test my blood sugar 15-20 times a day. And yet, it still doesn’t guarantee against the occasional bout of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. I’m now convinced, as were the doctors when they strongly advised me to consider seeking a pancreas transplant, that it was necessare for my continued survival.
So I will welcome the transplant gleefully.
But hoping for it to occur causes me full discomfort.
Someone very young -- in his or her teens or early 20s — must meet an untimely demise to provide the organs, especially a pristine pancreas, necessary to cure my diabetes.
While wishing won’t make it happen, maintaining my mental health and sense of ethics and self worth requires me not to hope that it happens. Out of respect for fellow humanity I think it is necessary to refrain from hoping for someone else’s death to benefit my life.
For that reason, I’m resolved to waiting patiently for human actions to unfold. Tragedies will continue to occur. If and when organs do become available, I will accept them humbly and gratefully. I also will understand the sacrifice of the donor and his or her family and friends.
I refuse to hope. But I will be ready to react when tragedy does occur.
Until that notable moment, I can only go through my daily routines and await the moment.