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Published: Wednesday, 3/13/2002

Did you hear the one about the transplant?

Please. I can't be the only woman who chuckled at the report about a uterus transplant that almost worked.

“Why would anybody want one of those?” I asked after reading a story in our newspaper one day last week. It was one of several stories that evoked amusement.

Really. Think about girls in puberty, and their older counterparts, who whine and appear to become inhuman once a month.

“I wish I was a boy!” some have cried.

“Why did you say I can't have that surgery to get this thing out of me so I don't have to deal with this for, what, four decades?” one has reportedly asked.

“I could kill Eve,” retorted another familiar with the Genesis story about how, after Adam and Eve took the devil up on his offer, God handed the trio penalties for their disobedience.

Saudi Arabian surgeons were the first to transplant a human uterus. Thanks to the premium that Islamic tradition places on childbearing, women there who have had a hysterectomy want a transplanted one so they can get pregnant and have children.

The transplanted organ remained in a Saudi woman, 26, for more than three months, and then it was removed because of complications. She had a hysterectomy six years earlier because of uncontrolled bleeding after the birth of her first child. Of course, being that young and in a culture where women are expected to bear children whether or not they want them, she sought a transplant. The donor, in her 40s, had a condition that required the removal of her ovaries and uterus.

I am not insensitive to the millions of women who desire to become pregnant and cannot. I understand the importance of childbearing in that culture, and I know its value in our own. But valid ethical questions are raised because the organs are not vital to sustain life.

Another report that got a rise out of me was about Cedar Point's ride VertiGo. It had three 265-foot posts positioned to form a triangle and in the middle was a carriage. Now why anybody would want sit in the carriage to be launched 300 feet high is beyond me, but that's beside the point.

On Jan. 14, one of the posts broke. On March 7, it was reported that the parent company resolved to remove and not repair the ride. Question: Did it take almost two months to make that decision?

A Cedar Point spokeswoman said, “We felt very strongly that because of the unfavorable perception surrounding the ride, in light of what happened, that it would decline in popularity.”

Huh? Fortunately the post broke in the off-season. The spokeswoman expressed confidence that the problem would have been found on the daily inspections of rides that occur during the season. Of course Cedar Point is concerned about the safety of amusement park visitors, but did anybody say that?

On another subject, consider the times you wish you could have forgotten something but couldn't. I got a charge out of the report about the guy who said he had no recollection of “anything that happened” on the day authorities said he shot and killed three people.

Thomas Howard Wendt is blamed in the March 5 shooting deaths of his ex-wife and two other people who were going to testify against him on restraining-order violations in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

There is nothing funny about what he did, and I know that traumatic events cause memory loss. But his loss of memory is ridiculously humorous.

And finally, there was “the picture.” You know, of Monica Lewinsky in that awful tam hugging former President Bill Clinton. The report said that the independent counsel declined to indict Mr. Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in that investigation.

When I saw that, I asked, again?

Rose Russell is a Blade associate editor.



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