The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Monday, July 24, 2006

Today we had a very interesting didactic. It was on brain death and organ donation and was given by this organization I've heard about since working at the hospital. The hospital itself does not make queries to people regarding organ donation (it's seen as a conflict of interest), so there's this outside organization for Southern California that they use - One Legacy. On occasion, I've seen these people around the hospital and have heard about the process of what happens when they ask the family and it sounds like a very wonderful and sensitive event. I have wanted to witness one of these approaches, but haven't been able to do that just yet because I never happen to be around during these times.

I learned today that there are very specific circumstances in which one can be an organ donor. I have long had the pink sticker on my license and just assumed that everyone who dies can donate. In fact, one has to die in a certain way in order to effectively donate organs (mainly through brain death, although there are a few other circumstances). From what I can understand, it seems that everyone who dies, however, can donate tissue, which are thin layers of skin taken from the thighs and back and other things such as corneas (which help blind people see! how amazing is that!!).

Because the circumstances around organ donations are so specific and because some people are unwilling to donate either because it creeps them out or because they believe in a full-bodily resurrection after death, there are few people who donate to the 90,000+ people on the donor list. Today I also learned that those of us in California no longer have to worry about having that sticker on our licenses anymore. Now, we can simply go to DonateLIFECalifornia and then it will keep our "sticker" on file on the computer so that if we are ever in those circumstances when we can give organ donations, then the hospital will be able to find out about it in a database. I went on and signed-up this afternoon. I encourage those of you in California to do the same and those of you in other states to check out your state's way to donate your organs. Some people may worry that in signing up for this that the hospital may not do everything they can in saving them, but that is not the case. The hospital has no interest in sacrificing your life for someone else's, unless your life cannot be saved. There is very specific protocol that is used to determine whether or not you are brain dead and if you show even the slightest sign of brain activity, then you cannot be a donor. So...I guess if you have more questions about this, you can either check on One Legacy's site or maybe the Donate Life site or you can also ask me because now I have information about it. But I ask you - do think about this and seriously consider whether or not you want to donate your organs.

But, not to get off on the organ tangent, I wanted to blog about other stuff that happened this weekend.

The first is that the heat here has been ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Part of me thinks, "Why should the heat be so upsetting - it gets hot here every single summer and it is not uncommon for it to be in the 100s. What's your problem?!" And the other part of me thinks, "Oh my goodness - it is SO hot. I don't ever want to leave my air conditioned house." Part of me wonders - do I feel like Jamaica last summer was hotter or milder than being at home this summer? I remember being constantly hot in Jamaica last summer. I know that technically it is hotter here, but we have less humidity, so I'm trying to compare the two. I am not sure of my conclusion just yet. I think I may say that I prefer this summer...I feel like I am sweating less but walking into an oven more.

The second thing is that on Saturday night I was trying to see if I could get my shredder to work (I think I accidentally broke it a few weeks ago by putting too many papers in at once - I had to get rid of the evidence) and I took the top, shredding part off and realized that in the bottom, collection part, there was this lizard in there hanging out. Of course, I freaked out. That lizard, on his way to my lush paper shreddings, may have walked on my bed, across my face in order to get to his destination. That is simply disgusting. Again, last summer in Jamaica, I saw tons of lizards indoors, but they were little, tiny green ones that always stayed on the walls and were harmless. This lizard was not tiny - it's probably about 9-12 inches long (and has a long tail) and is one of those beige, camouflage lizards. Well, while I was freaking out, Joey and Nathaniel kindly took the lizard outside. But somehow, when I returned home after church to an empty house yesterday (everyone went down to San Diego for some sandcastle competition), I walked in the door and saw that dasterdly lizard again. Somehow it got back into the house and was now hanging out by Joey's bowling ball. I froze, but tried to calmly think of a plan to get the lizard out of the house. I thought that I'd try to catch it in a brown lunch bag and then take it out, but that lizard was way too smart and quick for my plans. So, I just let it be and left the house to get lunch. Came back later on and checked the lizard's hang-out by the bowling ball and the lizard was no longer there. I was a little worried, but then went about my business and then saw the lizard later on by the washing machine. Again, I was unable to catch him. I've resigned that the lizard has now claimed to live at home with us, but secretly worry that the lizard now crawls all over everything, including my face.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was that I went to a practice session for my ordination exams on Saturday morning/afternoon. I was dreading it, but actually ended up having a good time and, from the experience, got some added confidence. This confidence was particularly in the afternoon session, where we had to respond to a question closed-book. The questions on the exam are all case-studies where they give a scenario of something that may happen in the church (the scenario we had on Saturday was what to do with children in the worship service) and then you have to respond theologically. What do we believe to be true about the issue, what does God say about it, etc. The "book" I am referring to when I say open/closed book is the constitution of the Presbyterian church. It's not that we're placing its importance over the Bible, but it sorta houses our theological beliefs of what the Bible is saying and then turns them into practice. So for example, Presbyterians look at certain passages in the Bible and infer that it is good to baptize infants. Then, the constitution will say something about that baptism should also be for infants and then may also say that because infants are baptized then that means that infants are to be considered as members of the congregation. See what I mean? So - when I saw that we had to write about this question closed-book, I was very nervous because I really didn't think I had anything I could even say to this question, but was astonished at the end of the hour that I was able to "magically" think of very specific references within the constitution to make my point and was able to take a pretty respectful and reasonably well written position. So the experience was good on Saturday in that it gave me hope that all is not hopeless and also helped remind me that I really like thinking about these types of questions and how to apply theology to practical situations. So, that was good. Now I just have to discipline myself to be steadfast in continuing to study.

- Jenny, 7/24/2006 05:24:00 PM

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