Lost in Transplantation: Memoir of an Unconventional Organ Donor by Eldonna Edwards
Publisher: Whole Heart Publications
Genre: Autobiography, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (249 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
One Gently Used Kidney, Free to a Good Home.
When 48 year-old single mother, massage therapist and returning student Ellie meets a young woman with kidney disease, she decides to make it her mission to save the girl. Unfortunately, outdated rules made it difficult for altruistic donors, and besides, the woman doesn’t want a savior. Does this stop Ellie from her quest to “be the change” one seeks in the world? Not a chance.
Told with humor and self-reflection, this inspirational memoir of courage and compassion is interwoven with anecdotal stories that help the reader identify what kind of person commits the selfless act of organ donation. Ellie,a self-described devout agnostic, is kind but often irreverent. She is generous, but she is no saint. Ultimately, becoming a kidney donor has given her a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment. Lost in Transplantation asserts that we are all capable of altering a human being’s life for the better, including our own.
How much would you risk to save the life of someone you’ve never met? It’s easy to talk about altruism as an abstract term, but it’s much more difficult to live in out in such a personal manner.
Ms. Edwards decision fascinates me, but it is her honest, wry sense of humour that made this story so enjoyable for this reader. She has the uncanny ability to find the light side of even the most serious topics. Nowhere is this more evident than in the beginning of her journey when she realizes that a classmate has kidney disease. Her spontaneous offer to give her classmate one of her kidneys gave me an early glimpse into the author’s character as well as provided some of the funniest moments in this tale.
As interesting as it was to read about everything else that was going on in the author’s life while she was in the process of donating her kidney, all of these subplots bog down the gist of her memoir. This is especially true when it came to all of the information I learned about her childhood and young adulthood. The tales were interesting, but some of them were off-topic for this particular book.
With that being said, Ms. Edwards descriptions of the donation and recovery processes are absolutely fascinating. By far my favorite sections focused on all of physical and mental health tests one must pass in order to be considered as a candidate. I wish more time had been spent discussing this part of the donation process because, at least for me, the risks weigh heavily on my mind when I think about the possibility of being a live donor. While the vast majority of donors recover without any complications, there is always a chance of developing an infection or having a bad reaction to the anesthesia with any surgical procedure.
Lost in Transplantation: Memoir of an Unconventional Organ Donor is a thought-provoking look at one woman’s unorthodox decision to save a stranger’s life. I’d recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest whiff of curiosity about this subject.