Thursday, May 26, 2005

CD25: Life is what happens when you're sitting around waiting to POAS.

Despite my all consuming obsession with all things reproductive in my life right now, the world is still spinning on its axis, and other people are suffering tragedies and celebrating triumphs.

I am consumed with the worst time of the school year, tons of paperwork, meetings and stress, which means that I am dealing with minutiae at home and at work.

However, the big picture sometimes jumps up and smacks me awake again. I have a student who has been out for most of the spring because of the worst sickle cell crisis the doctors here have ever seen. She has been in and out of the hospital, with no long term easing of her pain. She has been on morphine, oxycontin and numerous blood thinners to try and make the crisis pass.

Recently, the educational consultant and I have been in touch a lot because we are trying to get her schooling under control. The consultant told me a couple of weeks ago that my sweet young woman is currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant. None of her family members match her, so she is being placed on the national transplant list.

Unfortunately, there are very few African-Americans on the marrow registry, so a donor is unlikely. Even worse, her mother and she will likely have to relocate to another state if a donor is found since transplants for sickle cell are so uncommon. Without a transplant, she will die.

Yesterday, I sat with her and talked about this. There is no money in the family even if a donor match is found to pay the medical expenses and allow mom to relocate with her.

I am at such a loss for what to say or do next. The family is very proud, and does not want to "beg" for assistance or admit they need help.

What do you say to a 13 year old who knows she is looking at death in the next 6-12 months?


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