Monday, August 29, 2011
Grief, comfort come with son's organ donation, California
For a number of years, she ran a child-care center and got to know a couple of children who needed liver transplants.
One child, Zachary, received a new liver and thrived, she said, but another died before he could get a transplant.
This child's case was heartbreaking, she said. "He was very bad off. He had to be held on a pillow because his skin was so bad."
One day, he was slightly injured when a car he was riding in got into a minor accident.
"They took him to the hospital because his health was so fragile, and he died," she said.
Cobb's own sons were young at the time and knew the children in her care center very well.
One of her boys, Nathan, was very affected by the two who needed transplants, Cobb said. "Nathan was a special kid — he was more mature than a lot of adults I know. He was one of those 'old souls.' "
When she was teaching Nathan to drive, and they had stopped by the side of the road, he told her he wanted to be an organ donor "if anything ever happened to him," she said.
He was 15 at the time. Cobb and her husband, Carter, were living with their family in the Antelope Valley in Southern California.
Two years later, in September of 1993, Nathan became an organ donor.in the eye and said, 'That's all I can tell you.' "
"A paramedic came to my office and told me there had been an accident," Cobb said. "I asked what his condition was. He wouldn't look me
Nathan had been driving when another motorist, who'd been tailgating, bumped the back of his car, forcing him off the road and causing the vehicle to start rolling, Cobb said. Her son sustained "a crushing head injury."
"My mantra in the hospital was "please, God, don't let him die — please, God, don't make him live," she said.
Five days after the crash, Nathan got pneumonia, and his doctor informed Cobb he wasn't going to survive.
"I told the doctor it was Nathan's wish that he become an organ donor," she said.
Nathan's organs went to two men in Long Beach, and his skin was donated to burn victims.
"That next Christmas was a tough Christmas," Cobb said.
She felt a deep sadness, but it was eased somewhat when she thought of the good done by the donation of his organs.
"I remember sitting in my recliner and thinking Nathan's big old heart was still beating somewhere," she said.
Cobb said she wanted to tell her story publicly after reading about Enloe Medical Center's campaign to have more of its staff register as organ donors.
"The main thing is people should be aware of organ donation," she said. "I wish people would think about the comfort it can bring and the lives it can save."