Unless you live under a rock that’s bigger than mine, you’ve probably heard that doctors can do face transplants now.
That is correct, face transplants. Someone dies, donates their face, it is accepted by a donor who has experienced some unfortunate face loss, and voila. Face.
Before you get super-squirmy, it’s been said that the face changes when it’s put onto someone else’s face because of muscles, bone structure, etc. So in theory, the other person would not look like you.
I am pro-organ donation, which means I don’t want any of my organs where I’m going. If some tragic fate befalls me, I don’t mind giving up my heart and whatnots if someone can benefit from them. Who wouldn’t want to be a hero and save lives? Or in the case of cornea transplants, allow the blind to see?
Or in the case of faces, allow someone to smile and eat?
Face transplants are done in extreme circumstances (if you’ve happened to see any of the before and after pictures, you’ll know this to be true.) Most of the people who get these faces cannot eat, smell, smile… all of those things we take for granted. And from an aesthetic point of view, they have severe disfigurements that would make going out in public agonizing. (We’re not talking wee scars here, but faces that no longer resemble faces.)
Since I’d like to be cremated, I don’t really care what they take of me, should the time come, but even I feel a little weird about donating my face.
I mean, it’s my face. I’m pretty attached to my heart and lungs, because frankly, they keep me alive (go lungs!) But there’s something about The Face. It’s how people recognize us. It’s how we communicate. It’s our identity. Quite possibly our very soul lives behind us (if you think eyes are the windows to the soul.) The face, therefore, is pretty darn important.
Could you give your face to someone else?
I really like to think I would, but I can’t help but feel a little unsettled about the prospect. In reality, face transplants aren’t done in any great number yet, so I don’t need to worry about giving up my mask. And of course, I hope that I die of extreme old age so it won’t be an issue.
But there’s something about accepting a face from another person, that goes beyond getting a new heart. It’s something that would take a lot of soul searching if you were to be either accepting of the donation or willing to have your family member’s face donated.
However, if the time should come that I need a new face, and Angelina Jolie should happen to be donating (not that I wish her any foul fate) I could probably take it upon myself to accept the donation. Of course, knowing my luck, it would probably be Pee Wee Herman and I’d never be able to work with kids again.