Basic background: I volunteer weekly at a London hospital. I have so, for almost 4 years now.
I'm in the isolation room with a fellow volunteer, the patient and her parents.
We are entertaining the patient and also having a friendly chat with the parents. Normal small talk and they explain that they have been transferred to this hospital because there was a superbug outbreak in their previous hospital that forced wards to shut. I then ask if other patients from that hospital are here too? The mother replies, “Yes, one that needs a bone marrow transplant.”
I then tell them something that I'm extremely proud of. "Oh, I'm on the bone marrow registry"
The father then replies, “It's very painful you know!”
I come back with, “Yes I know but I'm happy to endure pain for about 8 days if I've then contributed in saving someone's life. Also my body will replenish the marrow so really it's a win win situation”
He then replies, “No I’ll never do it... maybe I would do it for my (son/daughter).... ok I would do it, but only on the conditions that I would give it to an English person.”
What the fuck is that all about! If any of you know me I could have really given him a mouth full. I wanted to ask him what his definition is of an English person. Is that someone who is born in England... Or is that a white person born in England of English heritage. Who the fuck knows?
This man is sick and twisted and we didn't need to spend an extra second there.
We (my fellow volunteer ad I) progressed our evening and spent time with other patients and families.
After seeing another 4 patients, my blood was still boiling about what had just happened so I spoke to the nurse near by. I explained that he was racist and that maybe that family should remain in a private single room to save the potential grief that other families may have to put up with. The nurse agreed with me and told me I needed to tell the other nurse in the previous bay.
When speaking to her she confirmed that they too were finding him rather difficult and she apologised for what had happened. I told her it wasn't her fault that he is the one with a problem but that it would be a real shame if he made other patients and families upset.
As I'm writing this I'm not sure what it is specifically that's upsetting me.
Is it because he doesn't like my skin colour or my colleagues for that matter?
Is it because this is 2013 and this is United Kingdom & Great Britain?
Is it because if was sick I wouldn’t want his racist bone marrow?
Who knows.... I guess I'm just disappointed with the situation as whole. I've endured ignorant stupid people my whole life but I wish it would stop.
For my final closing notes.
Firstly the Anthony Nolan Trust is an amazing trust and if you register and then happen to donate you have no say in who it goes to. You will not meet that person. (After 2 years if both parties agree they can meet but this normally doesn’t happen)
This entire experience reminds me of a chain mail that was going around years ago. There are various variations but below is one I found that gives you the gist. I was thinking of this when walking out of the hospital side room.
A white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
"What's the problem, madam?" the hostess asked her
"Can't you see?" the lady said - "I was given a seat next to a black man. I can't seat here next to him. You have to change my seat"
"Please, calm down, madam" - said the hostess "Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I'm still going to check if we have any."
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
"Madam, as I told you, there isn't any empty seat in this class- economy class. But I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn't any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class." And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued "Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the commandant thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person." And turning to the black man, the hostess said: "Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to collect your hand luggage, we have reserved you a seat in the first class..."
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet.