Family-life

What You Need To Know About Organ Donation

Did you know that regardless of your registration status, each family of a potential organ or tissue donor must consent to the donation? Plus, not every donor gets to donate. There are exceptionally strict conditions which must be met to harvest organs. It’s marginally less for human tissue.

In 2013, only 1 per cent of  potential candidates who died in hospital actually met the criteria. This left  Australia with a mere 391 suitable organ donors for our entire population. With approximately 1500 Aussies queuing for an organ transplant at any given time, these figures indicate we desperately need more donors to save lives. Registration is reported to be rising at around 75 per cent of the population happy to donate, but we still need to do more.

The Australian Government Organ and Tissue Donation Authority, reported that only 69 per cent of registered donors have told their families of their potential donation. We really need that figure to rise. When potential donors became available in 2013, only 51 per cent of their family members knew what loved ones wants. Of these, the vast majority (94 per cent) of the families agreed to the donation. When the decision was left to family without knowing, the figure dropped substantially to 60 per cent.

Enough with the stats right? It’s enough to make your head spin. What these figures indicate is that it’s imperative for families to talk about organ donation. We often talk about a whole heap of other crap, like what Aunty Joan did at the last family party, but important stuff like this often gets avoided. In reality, if your family doesn’t know what you want, there is a significant chance they will decline the donation and your opportunity to save up to 10 lives will be sadly lost.

Lucky for us, Australia is a world leader in successful transplants. It’s not just about recruiting donors either. National, state and territory government’s have initiated ‘A World’s Best Practice Approach to Organ and Tissue Donation for Transplantation’ reform. The aim is to increase community engagement, awareness and registration rates, plus improve transplant success through stringent selection criteria and vital funding for medical professionals, post-donor care and facilities.

The federal government has allocated additional funds to secure dedicated specialists, like surgeons, nurses, hospital based transplant specialists and support service for both recipients and donor families. Donor families receive support regardless of their decision to donate or not. It will be a particularly difficult time and significant research has gone into providing the best outcome for both the donor family and individual organ recipients.

After a transplant, recipients receive assistance while they undergo 3 or more months of intensive recovery. For this time, recipients need consistent support as a mass of medications are introduced, including poisonous anti-rejection drugs. Recipients may experience potentially life-threatening side effects from medications and therefore potential recipients without 24/7 support for this period are ineligible for a transplant.

This may seem harsh, but the success of the transplant depends on the recovery period. With such a low availability of donors, specialists want to ensure only individuals with the best chance of survival receive these valuable organs. They are aware they may not be able to save everyone’s life so they must base their decision on these types of variables. It’s the ultimate gift of life and no-one wants it wasted.

Lastly, if you do decide to donate, be aware that your organs will be harvested with the utmost care and professionalism and your family will be thoroughly supported. If you’d like to know more about recipients of organ donors, we have an upcoming article, A day in the life of an organ transplant recipient. I’m blessed to have a family member who has recently an organ transplant and fully  comprehend the precious gift which has been received.

It is a decision which changes far more than an individuals life and impacts everyone they associate with, including the wider community. Who knows, one day it might be you on the waiting list and someone’s donation just might save your life. Surely that’s worthy of a 5 minute family conversation?

If you want more information on organ donation, head to http://www.donatelife.gov.au/

Image via lawprofessors.typepad.com

December 9, 2014

Weekend Wit: The Modern Day Woman

To get 5 minutes to herself, the modern day woman gets up at 5.30am. She just wants to sip that first cup of coffee, before the rest of the household wakes up. At 5.35, bubs starts crying, so yep; 5 minutes of peace is literally 5 minutes of peace.

She does the whole 5.30am mum routine; feeding, changing and expressing for the rest of the day. Heaven forbid, she could have her baby on formula to make life easier. By then, an hour has passed and it’s time to wake the rest of the family.

After entering each bedroom, at least a dozen times, it’s around 7.30. In the meantime, she’s managed to prepare lunches and has breakfast under-way. Hubby strolls in, yawning and looking for his freshly made coffee. The kids are yelling and arguing in the hallway and finally make it to the table. At least they’ve managed to get half dressed for school. Now, it’s mum’s turn for a shower and get ready for “work”. Mind you, what the heck has she been doing since 5.30. It doesn’t sound like play, so it must be… Work! Not that anyone actually notices.

After her 2-minute shower, in which she washed her hair and entire body, shaved her underarms and legs and brushed her teeth; she takes another 2 minutes to get dressed and ready. Thank goodness, she went for that no-fuss hair do. She piles the kids and their gear into the car, including bubs, who has the latest in confusing car seats.

She drops the kids to school and bubs at daycare. As she turns the corner, there’s that familiar early morning workers traffic, and that’s where she does her makeup. The modern day woman has amazing multitasking skills. After taking half an hour to move 5 blocks, she reaches her workplace.

She works through lunch and opts for an extra cup of coffee instead. By 3pm, her day isn’t anywhere near done and she’s exhausted. She struggles through another couple of hours and knocks off at 5pm; only to hit the workers traffic as she drives back to the daycare. When she gets there, she’s informed bubs has been asleep since after lunch and they didn’t want to wake her. Oh joy. That’s totally worth the $150 a day, she’s paying in childcare fees! She picks up bubs and she opens her eyes like it’s 5.35am and ready for a new day.

Next stop is after-school care, where her other kids are waiting impatiently. Once again, they are the last to be picked up. The staff gives the modern day woman an unpleasant glare and she piles her crew in the car once again. As the kids bicker on the way home, hubby, who is already there, texts the eldest child that there is no milk or bread left. Of course there isn’t, she thinks to herself. So, she makes a detour to the supermarket, with the 2.4 kids she has with her and manages to snag a check out which doesn’t cost her an extra $20 in treats.

When they get home, they pile into the house and the modern day woman is carrying bubs, the shopping, school bags and her oversized handbag. Luckily, she has developed the upper body strength of an Olympic ultra-heavyweight lifter. She spots hubby sitting on the lounge, feet up, watching TV. How nice for him, she thinks to herself sarcastically. He couldn’t have ducked out and bought the milk and bread from the supermarket? She gives him a quick peck on the cheek, whilst hiding her disapproval and puts bubs on his lap, so she can head to the kitchen.

After chopping up 10 different types of veggies, because she needs to keep her family healthy, dinner is made. Luckily, hubby knows how to load the dishwasher and do a half-arsed kitchen clean-up. She runs a bath for bubs, who seems to have gained even more energy and she splashes water over most of the bathroom. The kids are next. They complete bubs work, plus find several bottles of shampoo and conditioner to make bubbles. Great. She makes a mental note to buy more on her imaginary shopping list.

When bedtime comes around, the kids get a story and bubs gives modern day woman grief. She tries the controlled crying thing, which lasts about 2 minutes. That’s when hubby finally steps in. Ahhh, relief! It seems though, that he may have an ulterior motive. As modern day woman finally crawls into bed at 11pm, hubby wants to play. Seriously! She gives him 2 minutes of pleasure and he rolls over and starts snoring.

Finally, she thinks. She shuts her eyes and before she knows it, the alarm is going off and it’s 5.30am the next day. At least bubs slept through the night. She sneaks downstairs for her first cup of coffee and her literal 5 minutes of peace.

Image via cfile29.uf.tistory.com/image/155E274A4E5E9D281C65A9

October 11, 2014

Weekend Wit: Kids Say The Darndest Things!

Kids come out with some classic comments. There’s very little social convention, growing brains are always ticking away and they say whatever comes to mind in raw honesty. Here’s a tiny snippet of what some kids have had to say.

Muddy proposal

A young family was on holiday, trekking across the countryside. The mother was heavily pregnant and it was a staggering 40 degrees outside the car and not much cooler within it. Nearing closer to the Murray River, the mother stated, “When we get to the river, I’m going in.” The small voice from the back seat was shocked at the mother’s proposal, “You can’t go in that yucky muddy river, mummy. What if the baby gets borned and can’t find its way to the top?” Apparently, she was very concerned the baby would somehow slip out of her mother whilst in the muddy water and be unable to swim their way to the surface!

Speaking bluntly

Taking the kids to the hairdressers can be a challenge. On one occasion, a young child sat down in the salon chair and the hairdresser began to cut. After a few moments, the young person looked sternly into the mirror, announcing: “You do know your scissors are blunt, don’t you?” Astounded at what had been said, the hairdresser looked down at the scissors and, sure enough, they were!

20 what?

There was an Aussie kid at school learning about coins and currency for the first time. The teacher held up a 20-cent piece and asked the class what it was. “20!” exclaimed a young boy. “20 what?” asked the teacher, expecting to hear the word ‘cents’ as she had for many years prior. “Platypuses!” answered the child proudly. The teacher was totally taken aback and, during her lunch break, told the entire staff room about her precious pupil. From that day forth, each time the teacher saw a 20-cent piece, she thought of those 20 ‘platypuses’, lovingly named because of the image on the coin.

Girl in boys clothes?

A mother was preparing dinner in an adjoining kitchen when her child, who was watching Ellen, announced, “She dresses like a boy.” “She does,” said mum. Several years later, in the same situation, the child stated, “Did you know Ellen is a lesbian, mum? I always wondered why she dressed like a boy.” Apparently, it had taken all that time, to process a conclusion.

Puberty

The parents of a young boy were sitting watching TV while their 10-year-old had a shower. Wrapped waist-height in a towel, the young man walked into the room and announced to them, “I’m puberty! I’ve got a hair on my old fella!” He had the concept right, but his way of describing his remarkable discovery was priceless.

Image via teachingintheearlyyears.com

October 4, 2014

IBM leads on family support (contd)

Other workplace initiatives include:Men at Work
A two-day program for male staff, this Federal Government initiative was
developed by a Macquarie University academic. The program seeks to educate
men on how to achieve work/life balance, look after their health and to
participate more fully in their family life.Parenting rooms
Use by nursing mothers after they return from maternity leave.

Parental leave seminars
Designed for those taking parental leave or returning from leave. Issues
include career planning and identifying ways the workplace can support the
returning parent.

Ms Spencer says IBM’s policies have resulted in a high proportion of its
female staff returning to work after maternity leave.

The company also runs other diversity programs to The company has a
diversity council to help devise its ongoing diversity strategy.

“We think this is very important to have policies that accommodate the needs
of different staff members. You cannot talk about diversity if you are only
talking about one group of people such as mothers,” says Ms Spencer.

“Women at work need support but our population is men and women and parents
are men and women.”

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Send job hunting and workplace questions to editor@careerone.com.au

April 20, 2004