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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Here's a modest ethical dilemma: you can be an organ donor, or you can donate your body to a medical school, but you can't do both. (You can donate your corneas and still give your body to a medical school, but that's it.) My inclination is that organ donation is the way to go, and if I keel over after I post this that's what will happen: they will check my wallet and strip me for parts, and that's fine. However, if I donate the works to UB's medical school, they take care of disposal.There's a lot to be said for that. Organ donors' families get the hull back, so they still have to deal with all the funeral industry bullshit. It seems to me that organ donation offers the potential for doing the greatest amount of good overall, but I like the idea of finishing up on a slab on campus, and the simplicity of it is appealing. 

| Comments:
I am all for organ donating. I even have a friend who is walking around wit someone else's corneas, even as we speak. Even more interesting is a close friend whose husband and various of his kin are in various stages of total kidney failure awaiting transplants, on dialysis, or, in one instance (just relayed to me last Saturday), the recipient of his fourth kidney transplant. Interestingly, one is only eligible for such a transplant if one can line up another kidney for transplant at the same time. It need not be the one matched to you but you must have someone volunteer to donate to someone, either yourself if you are a match, or to someone else. Also interesting;y, in this fourth time recipient, it turns out the real problem is where to put the new kidney. It seems they can't remove the old ones, just squeeze in the new one and this guy is running out of room to put it.

Anyway, we don't have a nearby teaching hospital or they could have all they want of me and keep the change. Probably they will have to toast me and leave you all with the problem of what to do with the ashes. Throw them away in an environmentally respectful way would be fine. I do, however, want a proper, prayerful Mass of Remembrance at some convenient time after I'm gone. I thought Fred did a splendid job arranging a full-on funeral for my Sis but I'd rather just a Mass and a nice party afterward where you can all be together and say nice things about me. Dad, I believe, would rather have a bit more of a "do".
 
Landfill works for me, if there are leftovers.
 
Well, once we get into the question of what kind of rager we want pitched we are on to a whole 'nuther subject. I want a lot of things. Bagpipes and a riderless horse; Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Highland Park; lots of myrrh....
 
My grandmother donated her body to a medical school, and my father and his sister really appreciated the complete lack of messing around with disposal details when she died. After she passed, Dad said there was all of fifteen minutes of signing stuff and being briefed and that was that. A month later the medical school in question had a memorial service for all the people who had donated their bodies in that time period.

Sadly, my uncle tried doing the same thing a few years later, but they wouldn't accept his body because he had died of a pretty high-speed and ravaging cancer that apparently rendered his body not suitable for whatever it is they do with such bodies. So my aunt, who thought she wouldn't have to deal with all that crap afterwards as my uncle went through his final downward spiral, ended up on the hook for it all anyway.
 

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