whenever i visit my toronto physician, my meeting is always preceded by a grilling from THE INTERN; the well meaning newbie, with the bedside manner of an atm machine. to be fair, how does one summarize nearly 30 years of renal failure into a 5 minute sound bite? still, there was a particular incident of couple of years ago, when i wanted to shake, rattle and roll this woman into reality.
as she droned on and on about my current medications and fluctuating numbers, she softly began to mumble about my potential options. options? from my understanding, with renal failure there are 3: dialysis, transplantation and death.
but this chippie rolled tongue about a potentially exotic experience entitled "renal replacement therapy". well, if that didn't sound just delightful! as i made suspicious eye contact with my southern soul sister, k, my ears perked and uncorked...
visions of sugar daddies danced in my head. men half clad in egyptian cotton toga diapers; soothing muzak tinkling in time to the flap of their enormous...um...palm leaves...as their taut, well-oiled physiques tended to my every need.
"renal replacement therapy? i'm SO there!"
but, of course, she was taking me on a joy ride through spin city. oh, honey, this ain't my first rodeo...
"you mean dialysis?"
"oh, for f@*k's sake..."
[that was in my head]
behold the valiant effort i have been making to be optimistic. celebrating at every turn, my rapidly diminishing list of blessings (oooh! i found some lemons in the street! oooh! my bedroom has a window!) and my funny bone, that despite osteopenia, remains intact.
[i'm in rare form tonight so you might want to duck for cover]
last night i marauded another level of my subconscious (yeah, i've seen "inception" twice). night terror screaming, followed by k's frantic pulling of my toe (!?), as he flew off the living room couch, where he has has temporarily taken up residence. "are you ok? are you ok?".
[how do you compromise my stone cold, toxic veins and his need to sleep someplace other than a steam room?]
as we spooned, and i spilled, detailing the toronto earthquake i'd endured, and the crazy, drunk man cackling up geoffrey st., k. offered, "well, now that you tell me, it doesn't seem that bad..."
ah. and there's the rub.
the truth is, no-one can truly understand.
my discomfort mutates. it fluctuates between intolerable, occasionally agonizing, with the odd, blissful downgrade to just plain awful.
recently prescribed "tigan" (trimethobenzamide) for post-surgical nausea, we were hoping it would take the edge off. hey, as a former (?) drug addict, i figured anything with the word "meth" in it could potentially be fabulous, but it turns out to be as effective as a car wash in a rainstorm.
i'm pounding back a daily molotov cocktail: benzodiazpines infused with antiemetics.
tigan: for nausea
xanax: for tremors
xanaflex: for headaches
ambien: for sleep
[talk about combustible]
prescription # 22 might ignite the fuse on my civil grenade.
in bedridden throes, i crave numbness, dozing, napping or sleep. any respite of the unconscious kind. in the mornings, (well, technically afternoons), i curl fetal; reluctant to emerge into a world of symptoms and side effects. the frequency of moments where i want to scream until hoarse, cry until parched and punch until (someone is) bruised is increasing faster than oprah's waistline.
we spend a lifetime spearheading the pursuit of Being In The Moment. it's a meltdown of the 21st century variety when you realize every second of your day, is focused on wiping the days away, like dust on a computer screen, so you can potentially refresh, restart and reboot.
[and there's no discounting the viruses still out there]
i never thought i would ever say this.
i want dialysis.
shaking in my boots so hard, i could give that 8.9 a run for its money...(too soon?)
so, if your sweet self has never been hit with anything harder than a "brutal cold" or "chronic bronchitis", you need to --respect the extolled expletives of ben stiller in "meet the parents" and--
"shut your pie hole."
i am not stripping anyone of the agony they have endured witnessing the suffering of a loved one. i have friends, dear friends, who have loved and lost, who have stepped up beyond all comprehension and endured hearts cracked deeper than the san andreas fault. i lost my own father to chronic illness. but, there's a different kind of pain reserved for those emotionally attached, but physically untethered.
you can always walk away.
[no, i didn't get out of the wrong side of the bed today. i didn't get out of bed at all.]
you can drive. so i hate you.
you can exercise. so i hate you.
you can work. so i hate you.
you can volunteer. so i hate you.
and you can dance. so i hate you.
when i'm all riled up, riding my emotional snowball with the ferocity of a tsunami (still too soon?), it's a certified whiteout. scanning upwards into a blanched, winter sky; anticipating the fluttering flecks of white, i'm already disappointed. the snowflake on my tongue melts too fast to truly appreciate it's uniqueness.
[blinded by the light]
there's no way to win in my world.
if you say something, it's wrong. and if you don't say anything, it's still wrong.
look, there's no question that i've been officially blown away by the support of so much from so many; while other friendships have evaporated faster than the japanese shore line. (i know. really too soon).
i always wonder about the old, the weak, the infirm whenever mother earth strikes with catastrophe. they are the ones that contribute to the morbidly inflated death tolls we cluck our tongues over. and that makes me sad.
i'm clear, very clear, that not too long ago, i probably wouldn't be here.
[survival of the fittest. she's a bitch.]
i'm mad. not angry. not pissed. just dragon-fire breathing, mind-over-matter-hot-coal walking, flame-thrower-swallowing MAD.
because i don't know where to live.
it's pointless to live in the past. my present is intolerable. and my future beckons me with major surgery, potential rejection, toxic new medications and a life of uncertain health.
i guess i'll stay grateful for those lemons.
and i guess i'll stay grateful for my window.
so like the troops who stormed normandy in '44, and the brave people helping the suffering japanese, i'll march forward towards my own d-day; and soldier on.
"tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. and no heart has suffered when it goes in search of it's dream".
-paulo coelho ("the alchemist")
[that's a toughie, paulo]
march 14, 2011: dialysis revisited.