Carol, a friend to me since we were 19 years old, died 3 years ago. She had been diagnosed at age 21 with Chrohn’s Disease, a chronic illness exected to reoccur during lifetime and which did so in her case with disappointing regularity. After a recurrence 12 years ago she had surgery to remove a section of bowel; during surgery she recieved several transfusions of blood. From the transfusion she recieved a continuation of life as well as infection with Hepatitis C. Six years ago her liver began to fail and she was placed on a Transplant Waiting List. While she waited for a liver from a deceased stranger she endured the wait with great patience, understanding, hope and thankfulness. She learned about, and thought about things which she never before had to think of or become knowledgeable about. In spite of the best medical care and technology, and other necessary conditions that are required for a transplant to prove successful, she suddenly died two weeks after her transplant surgery from which she had rebounded with new-found vigour and optimism.
There were many questions asked by her friends and family as to why her transplant may have so suddenly failed. There were no definitive and certain reasons given but only some possible causes listed. No sure answer!
When a gardener transplants a number of seedlings, giving them the correct soil, light, heat and moisture conditions and the best, most careful attention to the requirements of the growing process, still some seedlings will fail to thrive and die. And no one can say for sure why this happens.
There are many examples of transplant failure – of species introduced to new environments, of people displaced from places of origin to a new locale, of ideas, beliefs, policies and practices which are either imported or exported from one culture to another . Sometimes, despite the best intentions and reasons, transplantation failure occurs. And we people spend inordinate amounts of effort and energy to arrive at answers for ensuring successful transplantation. I think it is okay to accept transplant failure – it just happens. Denial, inventing alternative and persuasive scenarios, or forcefully claiming to know the right causes do not change the fact that sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to.
I miss my friend Carol for who she was and am grateful for what I have learned from our association.