there once was a girl with red hair, big opinions and broken kidneys. at age 19, she had her first kidney transplant.
i remember that girl. and at age 19, she naively believed this brutal disease would somehow exempt her from all further illness. that her quota had been filled.
a few days after her transplant, 2 of her 3 iv's had been removed. slowly, painfully, she made her way to the bathroom, and caught the first glance. of her new self.
distorted. disfigured. who is that?
insomnia embedded in her dna. 11pm, midnight, 1 am, 2 am. her recently hacked up mother snoring contentedly in the neighboring bed...
[and we're off.]
pacing the sterilized tiles of the toronto western; an iv of immunosuppressives lagging behind...
"honey, you need some slippers...stay warm..."
reaching the end of the hallway, she stopped and gazed out into the early toronto morning. dark, empty streets. random cars navigating. piles of fluffy white decorating either side of bathurst street. through double paned glass, the cold pierced through.
and it was beautiful.
she could feel the peace of the night. the thick silence that pervades; post snowfall. and she wanted to be a part of it.
but life had posted a roadblock.
and this wave of realization washed over and pulled her under.
this is your life, now.
this girl. barely a woman; just wanted it all to stop. sweet release.
no more pills. no more doctors. no more illness.
sweet, brave 19 year old, henriette.
i often think back to that night. the night i realized there was no escape. no escape from illness, doctors, drugs, surgeries. they will always be a part of who i am.
ah, but, that night. the snow cascading down like a melody. the romantic silence when a city grows still upon nightfall. and the eerie calm of the sick within transition.
it was all there.
but it was not enough.
and today, at cedars-sinai, my head congested with more, yet even more information.
"let's try hytrin"...
a third blood pressure medication. this ain't good, kids...
[...but, i want to be around when your kids have kids...]
so bring it on. officially, 21 prescribed medications.
fingers that crack open with cuts. fungus. mouth sores. bruises. protein in my urine. undetermined bacteria. low hemoglobin. high creatinine. swollen face. lethargy. confusion. tremors.
but, it's all me.
i'm still the girl with red hair, big opinions and broken kidneys.