Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

Free to be human

I mentioned this topic in my previous post about the many topics that were flitting through my mind at the time.

The thought is this…

Quite often (I think), we, as human beings, don’t seem to be as free as we might think. I’ll use a couple of examples.

Child Birth

On this occasion, this thought of a lack of freeness came to me while I was present during a conversation about childbirth. It seemed, to the mother-to-be, that she wasn’t free to give birth to her child how she wanted due to restrictions imposed on her by the system (or rather, she felt obliged to do as was dictated to her, and I raised the point of doing whatever she wanted). By ‘system’ I mean the NHS or mid-wives, or simply by expectations or what is considered to be ‘the norm’ by society, or even individuals.

Let’s say a mother-to-be wants to give birth to her child at home, or without pain relief, or she wants to have a water-birth… in her own bath-tub, or she wants to give birth to her a child at the top of a mountain… why not? There might be risks involved, or predicted complications, what if the woman isn’t of ‘sound-mind’ to make these judgements, but still, I think, they are her judgements to make. This may put her baby’s life at risk but I believe it’s no one else’s business – it shouldn’t be for a system to dictate to her what she can or cannot do, or how she can or cannot live her life, it really shouldn’t be for anyone else, not society as a whole or other individuals to impose their ideals. The only exceptions might be the father, or close family members, but ideally this wouldn’t mean imposing views or ideals, but a genuine open, friendly and loving dialogue – the system seems to be none of these things: it may have been put in place with good intentions, but often it comes across as meddling.

I think if people were left to their own devices more it could be seen that people wouldn’t act so irresponsibly as we might assume – people would take more care over their own decisions, and it would be seen that people (mothers-to-be) don’t naturally make foolish decisions – they, we, are all just human and should be free to do so.

Or perhaps, to be human is to meddle in other people’s affairs.

Another aspect of childbirth is how we’re all expected, upon birth, to be listed within a system, human number x,xxx,xxx,xxx complete with full name… why do we even have to be given a name?! This could then lead on to points about migration and how we can’t just live wherever we want, such as has been in the news recently with regards to Italy and the topic of immigration… but I shall not get into that any more here.

organ_donation_letterOrgan and Blood Donation

On a similar note, I received a letter through the post this week informing me about how the system for ‘Organ donation is changing’ where I live (the donation of body parts, not musical instruments). Instead it being opt-in, it will become a ‘soft opt-out’. I think this is wrong.

What right do other people have to just take the organs of someone else when they die? And why should we have to inform a system if we don’t want this to happen?

To me, our bodies are immensely personal things, they’re not just a collection of organs, or pieces. To some, the body is a sacred thing. I can accept that [perhaps] once we’re dead we’re not going to care or have a sense of what happens to the physical remnants of what was once us, science seems to dictate this. While at the same time I think organ donation is a good thing (or perhaps this view is one that is slipping) and everyone should consider the benefits of this – perhaps attempts have been made to make people consider signing up to donate their organs but with not enough people doing so to meet demand, so the ‘powers that be’ have given up on trying to persuade us and are now just telling us how it is going to be. I wonder if all the people that are “needlessly” dying because of a lack of available organs had themselves been signed up to donate their own organs prior to requiring one themselves.

I remember when I became old enough to opt-in to organ donation. My mum did the responsible-parent talk with me because she thought organ donation was a good thing to do, and I signed up and received my organ donation card. I’m not sure if there were similar talks at school but I think there should be, but perhaps it’s all too late now – we’re automatically signed up to it whether we like it or not.

Perhaps I’m a little fussy now, or judgemental about the health of other people – I feel like I look after myself: I eat healthily and I keep fit with regular cycling and some running. But not everyone is this way inclined – why should someone who is in need of an organ because they weren’t looking after the ones they were born with, have one of mine? I guess such a person deserves a second chance.

A similar consideration should be made about donating blood, which most of us can do already – we don’t need to be dead for that. But I’ve never given blood. Perhaps I should – what if I have a cycling accident and I myself am in need of blood, yet I myself have never donated – I think, on this basis it’s wrong for me to not donate… unless I’m happy to die because no one had donated blood for me.

I just read this statistic: “A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.” – RCB

“Male donors can give blood every 12 weeks. That’s approximately every 3 months or 4 times in a 12 month period. Female donors can give every 16 weeks or approximately every 4 months.” – ODW

And, “How much blood will be taken? Only about 470ml, which is just under a pint… [which only] take[s] between 5 and 10 minutes [to extract].” (ODW) That’s over 120 donations I should make I guess – that’s four times a year for the next thirty years.

But should blood donation be made compulsory too!? Or perhaps it would be nice if it just became routine for us all.



2 comments on “Free to be human

  1. Pingback: Blood donation – pay it forward | BMH Online

  2. Pingback: To “The Occupier” | BMH Online

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This entry was posted on 17 June, 2015 by in Cycling, Health and Fitness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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