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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

nothing to fear, but november 19th.

there have been 3 events in my life, that have left me terrified.

on an inbound flight into denver, our pilot attempted to land twice during a tornado warning. descending within inches of the tarmac, we would violently lurch upwards into the turbulent skies. twice. and then endlessly circle around. the flapping of airline safety cards the only sound; as pin drop silence and heated panic infiltrated the cabin. sporadic moans and sighs riding parallel to this flip-flopping tin can. after years and years of flying the skies, i felt unspeakable fear. dry mouth. sweaty palms. drained blood. the works. and the periodic gasps from my husband left me feeling even more desperate, albeit somewhat amused.

"are you ok?"

"don't touch me!"

got it.

flying for 41 years doesn't prepare you for feeling so wildly out of control. no where to go, but deeper into your seat. nothing to do, but marinade in your own panic.

when we finally landed, the pilot soberly announced that had been his most challenging landing in 27 years of flying.

no shit, sherlock.

sitting on the tarmac, the plane rocked back and forth with the violent winds. ah, but even the lightning strikes that prevented us from deplaning and the nausea that soaked me from head to toe, felt like a safe haven after the chaos in the skies.

[not so friendly, after all...]

the second time, was on a winter road trip back from winnipeg, canada. (and undoubtedly our last). merging onto the 29 in south dakota, an oncoming storm picked up strength.

let me preface this by clarifying kevin is a cautious and responsible driver; unlike myself who occasionally gets caught up in the beat of my tunes, rather than the rise of the speedometer's gage.

[oopsy. hee. hee.]

it's a g-damn cliche, but it came out of nowhere. with flat, endlessly, flat plains surrounding us on all sides, the sideways winds streaked white across the car; windows, doors, everywhere. and too suddenly, there was nothing but white. crawling along at a snail's pace, i plastered my face up against the passenger window, desperately searching for the shoulder lines.

"keep straight. a little to the right, a little more. no, too much."

and suddenly, i couldn't see the line anymore.

and then there they were.



three, four, five...twenty.

abandoned cars in the ditch.

the more cars we spotted, the quieter we got. even miss daisy got very, very still.

this was bad.

and then from the great white monster, emerged mechanical insanity. an 18 wheeler speeding though on a diagonal. coming within inches of contact, kevin slid us over to the edge of the shoulder and we stopped.

but, if we stopped, we could get hit. if we continued, we could get smashed from behind.

our engine light was on. we were running out of gas. and i thought "uh-uh. i am NOT going this way". and so, i said, "let's go".

and with reprieve from the winds, and some stellar -ass, kmac driving, i was able to guide him to the next exit.

i think that gas station is one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen...

the third time is, i imagine, every woman's nightmare.

my darling piper of a husband was crashing at the "queen mary" ship, down in long beach, after a long day of drinking, uh, i mean, piping. all was good. i was to come down and join them for sunday's festivities.

and so off to bed i went.

but, crazy-like, in a haze, i awoke. to the creak of my bedroom door opening. to a sliver of light that sliced my eyes awake. and to a shadowy, back lit, male figure that stood in the doorway.


[or something similar.]

stone cold frozen. "fight or flight?. neither. i was decimated by fear.

of course, it was my dorky husband..."but i called you!"

yeah, great, dude. i was ASLEEP. sigh.

so those are the top 3 times i have been truly terrified. BUT, there was an end in sight for all of them. despite the circumstances, i knew, only subconsciously perhaps, that things would end one way or another. but, now i live in the land of vagueness. capital city-limbo. planet-unclear.

my latest creatinine was 4. (normal range 0.5-1.4).

my last blood pressure was 160/100.

i am on 19 prescription medications.

these are the things that terrify. there is no resolution in sight.

last night, i celebrated my l.a. bff's birthday, (m), with a brandon flowers concert. in bed, on a post-concert high, i posted a few pics on face book. with a furrowed brow, hubby voiced concern. "you look too good"...

"but, i had a great time. i don't care what people think".

all of us that reside in the land of the chronically ill, have good days and bad days. i don't need to prove anything to anyone. i know what my life has become.

-i need to sleep 12 hours a night.

-i slept until 4 pm, the day after my birthday party in toronto. and afterwards, i spent that day lying on l's and c's couches respectively; half present at best.

-brandon flowers was the first rock concert i have ever sat through. [for a concert groupie; not my proudest moment...]

-and the day before, i vomited all afternoon and missed m's birthday celebration in hollywood @ the roosevelt hotel.

look. i know the truth. and that's all that matters.

i have enough fears i am trying to navigate. i am not concerned about "proving" my illness to the ignorant; and engaging in fear over their judgement.

so if i have a few good hours, let me celebrate them. and hold my hand through the rest...

no resolution in sight.

when i hear the pat, "there's a light at the end of the tunnel", i cringe. kidney disease is a life long, endless, sometimes unbearable journey. immunocompromised, drugged within an inch of your life. ok. yeah. i get it. this is my life. doesn't mean i have to like it. or not resent it. so, please, don't patronize me with meaningless platitudes.

sorry. just can't stomach it anymore.

our medical bills are endless.

my guilt is bottomless.

and my health is hanging by that proverbial thread.

there can be no "light", no hope, when so much is unknown. and unless you have been chronically ill, please spare me the "everything happens for a reason" or the "god has a plan" crap...ask anyone who's been chronically ill...well, it just doesn't wash with any of us. nobody willingly subscribes to this....

no resolution in sight. (third time's a charm...)

but ahead lies november 19th. bumped up from december 1st.

on november 19th, i will meet my pre-emptive transplant team at cedars-sinai.

one week.

holy shit.

is this really happening? is this really my life?

yeah. it is.

ok. yeah. NOW i'm terrified.

1 comment:

  1. Henriette, I know all of those stories. I love all of those stories. The airplane and car ride are scary as hell and you made it through. K. coming home in the middle of the night, well that's just funny to us outsiders. But I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time. I am happy they have moved up your date. I hate the unknown, almost as much as you do. And I know having to face something you dread is freaky. But it is something that has to be done. I don't want you to leave us. I'm selfish and want to keep you longer. I need you to tell how to organize my closet, kitchen, life and to just plain shut up when I whine about all of it. You in all of your faults and good points make me a better, more grounded person. Thank you.