Last fall, I read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - in short, it's about a girl who was conceived to provide a donor match for her older sister who had leukemia. The book was an excellent, compelling read and provided for a good, thought-provoking book club discussion. It's always easy to roll abstract ideas in your brain isn't it? Even when the questions AND the answers are in varied shades of grey, it doesn't matter, because it's still just theoretical, right? Bring on more wine! Let's discuss! Until a collegemate's son is diagnosed with a rare - wait - make that a very, very rare blood disorder and needs a bone marrow transplant, that is.
My collegemate's sister told me about a week ago what was going on. This boy is 20 months old and has a disorder that renders his immune system fairly useless. After the age of 7, his rates of survival start going down, down, DOWN if he doesn't get a bone marrow transplant. Also, this collegemate is Indian, so her son's chances of a match are even further reduced. Last Saturday, they held a Donor Drive at the Indian temple and we went to it so that X could sign up for the testing. But we didn't do the swabs for Arun. For X, the decision was simple - absolutely not. For me, it was a little trickier because obviously, I have a loose connection to the boy's mother (we weren't good friends as such while in college, but had classes together and saw each other socially). However. I am also a mother and when confronted with the question "What if Arun was a match?". My immediate, heartfelt internal response was "No one's sticking needles in my baby for a bone marrow harvest. No one." I am still oddly ashamed of my initial, gut reaction because of course, my Higher Brain Function started to take over and ponder the selfishness of my reaction - a little boy's life is at stake here, after all. I've even hesitated to post about it, even though it's been weighing on my mind for well over a week now. I guess if Arun were older, say at least 8 or so, and I could actually talk to him about what was going on, maybe it would be a different story. Damn. I wish I were some grandiose writer that could make heads or tails of this and could finish off with a Wham!Bam! Conclusion.
Unfortunately, I can't.