“Alright, we’ll wait. But just until tomorrow, if your levels don’t change by then- we must do it. Otherwise….”
My surgeon trailed off because he knew he didn’t have to reiterate the situation any more, I knew what he was talking about. I had just had a partial nephrectomy due to a birth defect and there were complications. I had iron deficiency anemia, my red blood cells couldn’t replenish themselves after my surgery- I was basically suffocating. Or, my organs were suffocating without the oxygen that the red blood cells bring them. I needed a blood transfusion.
By the time that I agreed to the transfusion, I was very sick. I no longer held onto any delusions that I had a choice at all, I just turned my head away from my arm that was being fed the reddest blood I’d ever seen in my life. I wondered then, as I do now, whose blood had I received? What were they like? Why did they chose to donate blood? Did they eat animals?
Sounds silly, I know. But it’s a strange thing to lay there and see someone else’s blood going into your body. Staying awake that night I thought about all the animals that made my recovery possible. The first successful nephrectomy took place on August 2, 1869 by a man named Gustav Simon, who admits to practicing on animals for years before attempting it on a human.
The medication that I received; the anesthetic, the morphine, the anti-inflamatory, the anti-nausea, antibiotic, aspirin, and something designed to help reduce the fluid in my internal cavities- they were all tested on animals before administering them to me. Without the role that the animals played in my surgery- I may not be here typing on my Mac. It both humbles me and makes me sad