Wednesday, August 23, 2006

this wasn't on the SAT

Ever wonder who harvests donated organs from cadavers? If you have the misfortune of becoming a donor in Sioux Falls, SD, the answer is one of my high school science teachers.

All together now: WTF?

On her return to the wild, wild west, Mom stopped in Sioux Falls to have lunch with her friend M, M's daughter and the daughter's kids, including the one just adopted from Africa. Also joining the party were two other hometown ex-pats, Mr. F and his wife. Mom asked what they were doing these days, and Mr. F replied with that organ business.

It's not a full-time gig. Mr. F's day job is in a hospital ER, talking with family members accompanying just-admitted patients. But a few times a month, he'll be called upon to harvest an organ.

Mr. F is not a doctor. He was, however, at one time (the mid-80s) an award-winning teacher of high school biology in western South Dakota. He taught my senior advanced bio class and coached numerous science fair winners. And now he consoles the families of the desperately injured and helps the newly departed give their final gift.

And how does a person get this job? Mr. F was talking with the guy who changes his oil, he said, and that guy knew somebody, and one thing led to another, and there you go.

Don't get me wrong, I think organ donation is super cool. My Dad did it. I'll do it when my turn comes. But to know the guy who . . . you know. Well, it's just weird.


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