15th ANNIVERSARY OF TRANSPLANT
Each year around 18-19th February I take note, even celebrate, the time of my liver transplant in 2007. I take time to think what it meant: then – and now. To maybe write a few reflections (often put on this web site). To send a few thank you cards and refresh a few donations. To re-read parts of my illness story written just after my recuperations. Some years to have a celebratory meal. Above all I reflect on the meaning of not having died and being given a new life through a donor organ and a major surgical procedure. I ponder life, illness, and mortality.
At any other time in history (and it is still true for many people in some parts of the world today) my life would never have been saved. Death would have been the inevitable outcome of chronic liver disease. Instead, today I can celebrate the fact that I have now had fifteen years of extra life! And thanks to the science and care of transplant surgery.
Oddly in my latest book, Critical Humanism, I have been accused of viewing the world too darkly. And it is true that in all my recent work I do focus on some of the deep tragedies of the world. Right now, we do live in a damaged world (environment, corruption etc), a divided world (inequalities of racism, sexism, homophobia etc) and a traumatised world (cruelty, authoritarianism, and violence etc). I won’t detail or repeat all this here– I have extensively written about this and it is in our papers and news every day. But the good news is that while there are indeed large numbers of people damaging the world (including many leaders), there are also large numbers trying to save our planetary world and life through their everyday actions – struggling to build a better world for all. This happens in the multitude of small deeds of kindness, connection and trust created on a day-to-day basis. It happens through works which brings love, joy and human flourishing. And it happens through collective endeavours that work to promote justice, care and hope. The world can be made a better place for all within a wider planetary universe. And one part of this is the modern act of transplantation: one small act of human skill, care and generosity that has changed the world and literally saved much life.