Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
(Editor’s Note: Due to the sensitive and highly personal nature of this article, we’ve set aside our usual requirement that op-ed articles carry the writer’s byline.)
I’m hooked. Truly hooked. Not on drugs, thank goodness, or cigarettes or alcohol. But hooked I most definitely am, and that makes me dependent after a wonderful life of carefree indifference. Fate’s ultimate payback.
So what am I hooked on? What addiction is this?
It’s called peritoneal dialysis and it becomes necessary when kidney function has ceased to exist. That’s what happened to me. And so here I lie confined in movement, curtailed in speech, my eternal optimism challenged as I sense the clock of my existence winding down to a midnight no one can predict.
There are thousands like me. All patiently waiting for a donor to offer a kidney. But most potential donors (i.e., almost every healthy person) resist such a move. Maybe it’s because of the perceived risk and the unpleasant thought of losing an organ despite the ability to live without it. I can understand that. Who am I to judge? I certainly never considered donating.
Now I know better. Now I understand that the risk to a donor is miniscule – like having your appendix out in terms of surgery and recuperation. But no one voluntarily has his appendix or spleen taken out even though he could function perfectly well without either. Only when one comes face to face with an expectant recipient does one identify and recognize the desperate need.
Truthfully, donating an organ just seems like such a hassle. Why bother?
Here’s why: There are approximately 90,000 people waiting for a kidney – usually from someone who’s been in a fatal accident. And every day 17 people, on average, die while awaiting their transplant. True, there is greater awareness about organ donation these days, but most people are still ignorant of the process and of how easily they can give the ultimate gift: life itself.
So what is involved?
A potential donor has to be the same blood type (but not exclusively) as the recipient. Mine is “O.” Then the antigens are tested. The procedure has become so advanced and successful nowadays that even if there are no common antigens, the doctors will still do the operation. All it means is that more rejection medication will be necessary for the recipient.
There are even three-way donations: If I am “O” and have a donor who is “A,” the team will “trade” my donor with someone else’s “O”-type donor who may be incompatible with his intended recipient. Thus two donors get to fulfill a mitzvah and both operations go forward when otherwise neither would have.
Today’s surgery is like a C-section with minimal invasion of the body. The procedure is relatively quick. The donor spends a little time in recovery and then gets on with his life.
As for the recipient, within just a few weeks he embarks on a new life with a functioning kidney.
It takes a sense of kol Yisrael arevim – a brotherly instinct, a sense of belonging – to step up and be counted. Such sacrifices are usually reserved for wartime, but this war is different. It involves you and me. Ordinary people out of uniform.
Not so long ago, poskim (halachic decisors) were not sure how to regard organ transplant. Was it meddling with Heaven’s decree? Did it serve to interfere with the natural order of things? Was it inflicting punishment on one’s body?
But as spiritual leaders became informed about the process and realized the implications of its beneficial impact on the community, they wholeheartedly endorsed it.
The daily routine of a dialysis patient presents a choice – either hemodialysis (through blood recycling) or peritoneal (flushing out creatanine waste from the peritoneal sac). I chose the latter since hemodialysis requires three visits during the week to a center where you are hooked up to a machine four hours at a time. That pretty much seals any hope of a regular work schedule.
Peritoneal, on the other hand, offers the benefit of being hooked to a machine overnight. The downside is that you have to stay that way for nine hours. Add the preparation and you are looking at a procedure one must endure for 10 hours – every single night. The necessary accessories – three large supply bags, drainage bag, cassette, disinfectant, surgical masks, mini caps – provide the best reasons for not leaving home.
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Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.
The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.
Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.
Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.
Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”
Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?
Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.
The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.
Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!
Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.
A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.
Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent
Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.
While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.
Deri is actively trying to rehabilitate his image among the Settlers and National-Religious crowd.
IDF demolition experts are examining a possible improvised explosive device (IED) found on the Alon road, near the town of Kochav HaShachar, in the Binyamin region.
Netanyahau showed FIFA’s president proof of missile launches underneath Hamas soccer fields. FIFA was unimpressed: Let PA soccer players travel freely or FIFA may expel Israel. No goal for Israel.
For any reader who may be confused about the obligation to live in the Land of Israel, this sweeping halachic and Talmudic overview of Rabbi Kahane will surely put all uncertainty to rest. Because of its vital importance to each and every Jew, we will be presenting it in two installments.
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