Archive for the ‘The Dialysis Experience’ Category

My finger-less gloves give me a sort of hipster meets hacker appearance. They also match my Tim Burton esq beanie.  The looks from strangers are radiating off my coffee cup. Keeping it warm I’m sure? as i pored this coffee a good couple hours ago. Nursing the straw in between keystrokes. Looking completely mysterious, i think?  My pink crotchet scarf being the final fashion cherry. I’ decided to make a statement that I”m one cool cat. I’ll sprinkle a little Mystery into the dawning of my introduction. While dressed like my fashion pioneer.  Punky Brewster.

Today starts my new adventure at the downtown Dialysis center. I decided to divorce my previous clinic for a temporary time. I think we needed a break? Whether or not that break will come to fruition.. We’ll find out?  I just needed a fresh start. Inspiration to write & being near home. Also, the downtown clinic has heated chairs. YES.. HEATED chairs. My body may lie retired in a medical clinic but my ass is on vacation. Somewhere clearly tropical. Wearing euro-trash and thanking me by form of tequila shots.  This must be what Julia Roberts felt like with Richard Gere? This clinic is FANCY. All i need is an annoyingly infectious crackle and some I Love Lucy. I Kyle, feel like a Pretty Woman today.

My eternal alarm clock awakes me. “FUCK i have forty minutes.” i growl. Wishing my phones alarms didn’t come in options like Feathered Waterfall or Soothing Apple Tree. I have  yet to be woken up by my phone. I’d much prefer alarm tones like Woman Giving Birth or Root Canal. But alas, i’ll settle with Chirping Finch. Sigh!

Eric presents me with a cup of coffee. My tongue licks the steam in gusto. Vanilla scent seducing me. ” I’d fuck this coffee if I had more time,” I say to Eric. Him leaving mid sentence as such a comment is pretty daily. But him purposely giving me time to process that today i’m holed up at the downtown clinic. My stomach in knots as if the first day of school. “Will they like me? ” What if the nurses & techs are cunty? Why again did I leave my old clinic?. I hate change, grrr”.  These thoughts rotate as I fight back tears. Cursing MY Gods for not producing a kidney yet. “Damnit to Cher, what’s the fucking hold up?”  I’m too fragile of a man to handle CHANGE.

Sitting in my 1999 Dodge Intrepid while it heats up. Singing the tunes of a car that needs work.  Clunks & rattles fading out the voice of Feist.  Feeling a little claustrophobic as I sit in this  fart igloo. The smells wafting from retired Mcdonalds Happy Meals and gym clothes. This is clearly a self-induced punishment . But remembering the grim cold that cloaks itself outside awaiting to defile my poorly circulated body. I’ll take this prison momentarily and allow my anxiety to warm me. I cannot believe in 15 minutes i’ll be faced off with the unfamiliar?  I set the car in drive and begin my fidgety journey to downtown. The coffee’s aroma now leaving me mentally impudent as fear takes the wheel. Fuck, i hate change.

I pace behind a fellow with a Kermit the Hat beanie. The sort of ones you mock from Hot Topic but secretly wish you could pull off. The mans yellow tinted skin alarms me but acts as a great guide into the unknown.  The doors slide upon entry being clearly well lubed. Inviting Kermit and I inside to stay awhile. A queef of warmth blankets my body with what’s mixed with Hospital smell. The smell of elderly and bleach that I’ve OH SO become employed too know. “Welcome.. you must be Kyle?” . I leap back in disbelief as Kermit sounds awfully feminent?  I peak my head around and am greeted by a middle-age woman. She being the source to the voice.  I feel foolish and examine her. “We’ve been excited to meet KYLE.” she says glowing.  Me blinking on as my ego inflates by sound of her praises. Reminding myself that I’m cool and collected.  I want to be discreet and make no friends here. Mostly deriving from the family I already missed from my previous clinic.  This place is just a business agreement. I am giving them zero introduction to the real me i decide. Dialysis and go.This woman’s lava lamp physique leaves me delighted for preferring Bratwurst over taco. How her tits read like a Google Map making it clear to me their going East & West. Her catsuit turns out to be scrubs that only defines the outline of a camel toe. Awaiting the camel toe to scream “Feed Me Seymore.” and swallow up poor Kermit dude in a gulp. I’m clearly allowing my imagination to run rampant.

Her names Jan. And she works as the front desk administration. A woman who’s voice belittles between vowel punctuation. A woman who thinks her job is more important then actual definition. A woman who I imagine goes home urgently to check her PlentyofFish.com profile for notifications. Taking self portraits from her smartphone in her favorite angles. Editing her profile daily in hopes to snag the right salmon. Jan is a lonely soul by appearance. I feel bad for her.

As I make my way through the haunting entrance to what seems like a 60 foot hallway i take notice of my new clinic. Bright. New faces roaming the corridors as whispers of my presence begin reaching my ears.  Anxiety ballooning within my stomach walls as I continue my catwalk. Attempting to keep my cool as I’m moments away from facing my new adventure.-

My new clinic.

To Be Continued..

K

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Ginger. It’s a cookie. It’s a flavoring in my coffee. It’s the color of hair.  And importantly it’s a persons name.

The Ginger that I know is basically a concoction of all clichés rolled into a doughy young woman with freckles sprinkled in. Her pale skin only heightens the visibility of her Pippy Longstocking features. Her voice is bubbly but masks a stern punch that causes a little intimidation. An intimidation I find oddly endearing.  Ginger is my nutritionist. Ginger is a friend. Ginger is a fucking bitch.

There is only one day left till Thanksgiving. The stress of making small talk with my caustic relatives leaves me exhausted. The type of tired where you pre-rehearse answers to typical questions asked. “Well Grandma I haven’t worked at Blockbuster in over 10 years.” to “NOPE.. no girlfriend for me..(Gulp).”   Basically I just go from relative to relative in drabness and a little Winona Ryder swag to my mannerisms. All the anxiety of holidays makes it difficult to enjoy the wonderful food offerings from my hard-working mother. The way her deviled eggs carry a kick as if an aphrodisiac. Shoveling em in my mouth silently enjoying the mental orgasm. Cleaning up with a whiskey and seven and a belly full of tryptophan. That is Thanksgiving to me. Only 24 hours away.

Ginger. It’s a plant. It can be a spice in your food. Sometimes it’s the name of a crayon. But most importantly folks.  Ginger is a bitch.

My dialysis unit is quiet as i anticipate a tumbleweed  at any moment.  Patients enjoying their vacation out-of-town with relatives I’m sure? I feel a little abandoned by my peers as I’m left with the medical staff and a handful of  crazies. I scroll through my phone to a Selena Gomez song I have been listening to on repeat. Feeling a little embarrassed & old to be enjoying this Disney starlet. However monitoring the volume carefully so nobody can hear. I look around as the catchy fluff narrates the nurses every move. You have to entertain oneself somehow.

Distracted by people watching I take notice that Ginger had appeared in the facility. How I missed that auburn glow from her hair is beneath me?  How its flames wicker behind her pale head as she floats around the room. Her natural powdered face baptized with soft freckles. Her clothes puritanically wrapped upon her  figure teasing with the occasional midriff sighting. Ginger’s discreet sexuality just baffles my sexual orientation as I can’t help feeling enthralled. She is the Pines Facility Nutritionist on call. Someone who teaches you the importance of a renal failure diet. A diet that I joke is limited to ice cubes and dust.  A diet that NOBODY follows. I sometimes wonder why they even bother funding her program? Listening to her once a month bitch about the importance of staying away from pizza, chocolate & soda just makes patients loathe her. Somehow though? She manages to make eating healthy sound cute.

Ginger. It can be used medically. It is normally a yellowish or reddish-brown. It compliments sushi well. It’s a delicious beer. But most importantly folks. Ginger is MotherFucking Bitch!

Moments later I feel a stapled correspondence packet land on my thigh. Ignoring the content I greet Ginger with a typical wink and playful shoulder pat. It’s my way of flirting without coming off too creepy. Since flirting with a girl while plugged into a machine filtering your blood doesn’t rank high among romantic settings. Well? so says Shakespeare I bet. She softly brushes hair from her face and we discuss impending Thanksgiving plans. I bet she smells like strawberry bubble-bath I think as my eyes twine down her curves. I cant explain the crush that seizes over me? Normally I’m a little discriminatory towards the ginger race. Especially ones that are male. And importantly I’m gay. So why I exhaust energy flirting excessively can only mean I have great taste. Right?

My eyes end on her cute velvet flats and I compose eye contact again. There’s a stinging in my temples as I smile on and  listen to what she says. Occasionally chiming in on words catching my attention. “Awww so Pumpkin pies your favorite to eh? I praise. I can sense my dominant act of flirting has her snail trailing at this point. A ginger snail trail? I would normally shutter at the thought. But she is so wholesome I want to cuddle and do cute ginger things. I’m not sure what gingers do in their free time?  But I bet hers involves baking & playing The Sims. Perhaps dry humping too? I dunno? She composes herself like a kindergarten teacher. My thoughts are overly creative and i need to stop I realize.

Ginger. It can be a festive bread. It’s my grandmothers favorite smelling candle. Most commonly the carpet DOES match the drapes. But most importantly folks. Ginger is a bitch!

“So Kyle. Speaking of pumpkin pie. That is why I’m here to see you today.” she scolds as my heart flat lines. Her apparent arterial motive crushes all previous chemistry. I look down at the paperwork that had been weighing on my lap. THANKSGIVING ALTERNATIVES. The words practically rape all holiday excitement leaving my pupils dry. I recall a deja vu with this nutritional bible from a year ago.  Detailing the healthy Do’s and Don’t for the Holiday season. In aggressive BOLD COMIC SANS font it details the health risks of pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams and much MUCH more. Pretty much asking me to drink water and breathe air. But to have a wonderful Thanksgiving still. I feel setup I think? . A sexy woman is hired to crush a dialysis patients holiday spirits. Bah Humbug!  Manipulation by distracting with her unique beauty until the time of year she presents this nutritional bible of bullshit?  Jokes on her though, I’m Agnostic & gay. So her charm becomes shielded.  red flag!

The feeling of disappointment deepens and I listen on. Treating her the way I would my relatives. “So? What exactly am I suppose to eat? I ask glancing up at the TV as I turn on my male selective hearing. She continues on sounding as a PEANUTS adult. I hear the words “High potassium,” & “Entirely to salty.” I dismiss her kindly as i reflect on our fabled courtship. My anger towards Ginger magnifies as she suggest ” I eat an apple over pumpkin pie. And only a spoonful or so of mashed potatoes”. With every nutritional idea read I shutter with disillusionment. I feel as if the time has come to end my pretend relationship with Ginger.

I realize the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. Especially having renal failure I can feel the affects of high salted foods and how it effects my body negatively. The heavy bureaucracy of receiving a kidney are exhausting. A part of that being a monthly report card based on your current nutritional facts via blood work (Potassium, Phosphorus, etc). I realize that if I do follow this alleged bible that I’m following a pretty paved path to a kidney. Something that a lot of patients tend to ignore. I tend to be incredibly stubborn individual. And with a red-haired ginger forcing a limited diet during the BEST time of year. Well fuck? It’s excruciating.

Ginger. It’s a heartbreak. It’s ironically always a woman with red hair. Is a nutritionist with no holiday sympathy. But most importantly I learned. That Ginger is a bitch.

My dialysis technician Kris unplugs me as my run has come to an end. I watch on as the needles are carefully released from my left fistula. My voice barking on about my hate for Ginger and how dare she take Pumpkin Pie privilege away by force of papered guilt. Kris smiles on patiently as she waits for my vent to end. “And can  you fucking believe she said NO stuffing? I can’t believe I enjoyed her company.” I snarl in my queenly tone.

 “Damnit Kyle, shut up,” Kris finally interrupts. Angering me as I tend to love the sound of my voice. “Ginger normally only lectures YOU about your diet.” she continues. “Haven’t you thought it’s cause she is rooting for you?”  Once again I’m faced with a lesson learned. I’ve noticed this has become a theme with my dialysis adventures. I reflect on the fact that Ginger had only passed out those  sheets to the handful of patients. However, intimately going through the importance of my diet verbally. She hadn’t done that with anyone else that day.

My face feels warm with guilt. Guilt I can easily dismiss by the positive outcome of this particular situation.

Ginger. It’s the color of Garfield. The name of a Hollywood Starlet from the 50’s. My favorite flavor of Brandy. And most importantly folks. The name of a woman who cares.

Lesson Learned..  now pass me an apple 😦

My heavy anxiety goes noticed by my technician Kristin. She sportively squeezes my shoulder with a smirk.  Over the past year we have been together 3 times a week. For four hours at a time. The relationship we share is something deep but goes unsaid. Essentially she is the primary ingredient in keeping me living. As my technician she is the one who ultimately hooks and unhook me from what has been a nightmare traveled. A one year traveled.

“You become a veteran,” Kristin whispers as she prepares the needles, referring to my one year anniversary. Her perky mannerisms annoying me as I shrug off any attempt she has at cheering me up. It’s a quarter to 7 in the morning and my mood is foul. Without my caffeine beverage in hand I have nothing else to focus on besides the brief pain of needle entrance into my left fistula arm. One thinks that after gaining veteran status that such a thing would be irrelevant.. or painless, really? Unfortunately for me, Kristin’s focus and needle projectury is often sloppy. Leaving  nothing but silent tears as they increasingly well upon deeper entry.

It’s been over a year since i’ve touched down on my current career as a dialysis patient. I’ve taken pride in the positive outlook I had in my previously written stories. Now i feel darkness has blanketed me in this cursed longevity. With no word on a potential kidney candidate there is nothing to do but wait. It’s become the lottery of life really. I envision a blonde southern belle. Perhaps one who ends everything with a charming “y’all,”. A lady whose lived her life in the world of pageantry, riches & daddy issues. She Patiently awaits as the lettered balls spring from the machine. “We got a K, y’all” she squeals as anticipation grows for the next letter. “a Y,” she glows. Presenting a plastic smile as she holds up the lettered ball. Is this how I envisioned my life being saved? I’m not particularly sure the politics involved in getting me a kidney? Any potential family or friends have been ruled out. Which leaves me nothing but imaginary “lottery” scenarios as I look at my phone. No missed calls. Anticipation has now grown to fear. When will I receive that important call?

I sit in my plastic green chair and give a look of fatigue and anger to avoid any eye contact with other technicians or nurses. I have slowly realized my presence has turned sour as I have become the jaded cliché. Cliche referring to the shellbacks who has spent years coming to this clinic. Empty behind the eyes and often elderly. It’s as if they given up. Given up on life all together. I remember promising myself that no matter how long this nightmare took, i’d present myself in a positive presence. Unfortunately, I had cracked somewhere in that year?

I dig through my satchel for one of three activities I normally partake in for the upcoming hours. Listening to Adele, reading my ALREADY procrastinated novel or writing in my journal. I have altogether avoided television as of lately due the politics of our country & the Kardashians, whom have given me extreme case of brain constipation. I slowly whisk the earphones in and press play. By listening to music it has become a source of narration for the feelings that occur during my run. Music is truly the soundtrack to life.

The doors inside the clinic swing open. It catches my attention only cause of the rate the door launched. 90% of the people I spend my time dialysing with use the handicap button for entrance. Often times cause their lazy pieces of shit. But then I remember the few occasions i’ve utilized it and let out a guilty sigh. My eyes gallop to a young girl who  appears to have embarked into Wonderland. I recognize that look i think to myself?  Her passive aggressive walk read a story. “This is her first day,” i say, as she steers towards my direction. My eagerness takes over.

A fleshy young lady in her mid 20’s appears closer. her steps are met with hesitation as she’s followed by two equally scared individuals. Her parents I’m guessing? Arms bandaged together so tightly i’m awaiting a limb or two to pop off. Ironically the young lady is seated next to me. Her eyes sulking in the scary sights I once had to endure. The musk of unshowered elderly. Some of whom are missing limbs and are mentally ill. I always describe my first time as similar to Jack Nicholson’s movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Girl Interrupted, for those youngins who may be reading this post.

My heart begins to hurt for this individual. I take notice that her folks have pointed me out already.  In hopes to calm her nerves, that she too, isn’t the only young soul dealing with this adventure alone. I reflect on my current mood status. My rapacious look. The fact I hadn’t smiled since her entrance. The idea i was being poisoned by the  shellbacks. It’s like being on the same cycle where we share a vexed facade. What the fuck happened to me? The one thing I had wished when i had first started was someone kind to just tell me everything was going to be okay!

And that’s exactly what I did…

“Hey, i’m Kyle!.. Words can’t describe your first day here eh? But I been here a year. And I can truly say that it gets so much easier & painless..” 

 Her eyes ignited a glow as her parents silently thanked me with a subtle head nod and smile. An incredibly humbling experience! Perhaps I needed this as much as she did?  End*

Ky

“damn you vexed phone alarm,” I announce as I push the snooze bottom. Annoyed that I have yet to modify the annoying siren that prods me from my comfortable deep unconsciousness. The sound is similar to when your 8-bit Nintendo game would freeze up and make that awful obstructed alert. If only I could blow on my Blackberry to prevent it. My lazy prejudice in changing the tone stems from the fact I hate change and its effective enough for now.

As I roll off the bed and adjust my morning wood, I reflect on the dreams I’ve had as of late. And oddly enough a majority of them involve Angelina Jolie? Which gives me reason to believe she’s my soul mate. However, the dreams usually involve us cooking or feeding ducks by the pond (very anti-climactic) as a lascivious fantasy would be more erotic with my favorite Tomb Raider. Perhaps the older I get, the lack of imagination my dreams become.

This particular morning I vividly remember dreaming of graduating college with honors. “Leisure studies, I’m sure” I think.  I quickly glance at my Blackberry and take note that my bus leaves in 20 minutes. I instantaneously dismiss my dream analysis and gather my belongings so I can make my 7:30 am Dialysis run.  I didn’t have time to brew my mundane Folgers coffee. Due to my lack of time management I knew my coffee bean fix would result in me being one unpleasant bitch. As I trotted along to meet my bus, I could feel my coffee withdrawals kick in. The idea of  having to spend the next 15 minutes with the cast of To Catch a Predator, caused me much defeat… or clearly that was cause my fuel tank of caffeine was on empty.

As I assemble my ass on the bus and greet the female bus driver with a monotone mumble. I take a quick glance of her STA coffee mug which caused much distress as I thought “What if i was just to grab it and run?” …  But such a fantasy retired instantly as I took note that she looked quite disheveled herself and looked like an “Irish Cream.” type of gal. not my fortey, nor a reason to be X’ed from the STA. I slip on my tunes and prepare for another day of cleansing of my body. In order to construct a positive attitude for my dialysis avocation, I put on the same Britney Spears song every morning; ” Ooh Ooh Baby”. The songs stadium sporting vibe gets me all pumped and positive for what is a caffeine deprived morning 🙂

I make my way into the Pines Dialysis center and direct myself to my designated lime green recliner. Sitting in this piece of cheap plastic is often the only complaint I have in terms of having to face dialysis. I toss, I turn and my back literally sticks to the pleather for what is four hours of hell. I often bitch to the nurses that a nice vibrating recliner made of Chinchilla would be all but appropriate considering their bitch asses aren’t the one’s facing the challenge of the lime green Pee Wee Herman chair. Often times they reply with a giggle and a “oh Kyle!”… But, I’m dead serious. You don’t see me laughing girl?   But in all honesty and joking aside, I’ll take what I can get. If sitting in a comfortless chair helps me stay healthy. Then I’ll take that any day.

My favorite technician Elyse prepares the needles for entry as I try to distract myself by watching the Kardashian marathon on E!. I’m unsure of their popularity, but for fuck sakes they have a witchery behind their charm. I was enchanted to the television as if I was waiting for the Power Ball winning numbers. And the fact that Khloe Kardashian seems to have an adams apple and a bulge, just adds to the drama that this show possesses. Regardless of the staged reality show that is overall awful. It helped distract me from those painful needless slipping into my fistula. And for that I thank you Kardashians… Well, except Khloe (tranny alert)

So here begins the best part of being a young man amongst a group of elderly people. It’s called the “Crunch hour”. Something I have clearly created as the experience alone is just uncanny. To explain such a thing is lackluster as only by witnessing/hearing it can you fully appreciate the crazy world i have been subjected too for the past few months.

“Crunch, Bite, Champ, Chaw, Grind, Chew, Chomp, Gnaw, Masticate, Munch, Ruminate, Scrunch…”  All words that can best describe the noise that furnish my ear drums as I sit during my run. I glance around the room, with 19 chairs, with 19 people and take note that everybody has a cup full of ice. Like carnivores, there shredding through ice chips like something gruesome you watch on Animal Planet.  At one point even watching a very overweight man i nicknamed “Coyote Ugly”.. well, because John Goodman was in it.. and well, he is overweight. (clever? perhaps not)… anyway.

I watched Coyote Ugly take down ice cubes like he was playing Chubby Bunny with marshmallows. My mouth had clearly dropped in aww as I didn’t understand the logistics to what the fuck was happening? I did remember taking notice of the ice dispenser machine that lied nearby. Was I missing something? Perhaps I was still dreaming and at any minute Angelina Jolie was going to saunter in with a basket of muffins so we could discuss child labor laws? But then it hit me..

I too have been eating ice cubes like an addict. I couldn’t explain the reasoning, besides perhaps enjoying the brain freeze that follows. I suddenly then went into investigative mode and  became Encyclopedia Brown slash Nancy Drew. I was going to solve this case. It had become a little unnerving as my questions needed answered.

“Nurse, i have a question that is bothering me,” I express in my investigative tone, that oddly came off sounding like Carol Channing to my ears lol .

“Kyle, with kidney failure you are also anemic and iron deficient honey. It’s a decrease in the normal number of red blood cells and hemoglobin in your blood” she said with confidence. “Science can’t explain why, but a huge symptom of being anemic is craving ice cubes. Hydrating oneself by doing so and also one gets a gratification from the crunch and texture of the cubes”

….. I delay in my response and listen in complete awww of this new revelation. “Kyle, I would also like to add that since your  body struggles by retaining too much fluid, you must only drink an equivalent to two “venti” sized amount of fluid per day (40 oz). So by sucking on ice cubes, it helps hydrate you without going over your limit.” By now the nurse is just bragging of her knowledge on the issue as I slowly grow frustrated as i lusted for the bottle of Riesling I had waiting at home that I had prepared to drink later that evening.

Nonetheless, this new challenge is quite humorous and I’ve learned to adapt well. My freezer is nothing but full of Otter Pops and Ice cubes as this will keep me on the right track to staying healthy and getting that kidney that awaits me on the horizon.

“Hello, I’m Kyle… and I’m an “Anemic Cruncher,” !!!   Breakthrough

Ky

Expression on my face lies dead and cold as the camera blankly looks back. I’m guessing the person watching has decided to take their sweet ass time granting me access and my patience grows thin. The sky change blues and I nurse my iced Americano and distract myself by going through unread texts and Facebook notifications from the prior night. I’m welcomed with a beep as the slider door opens. I exhale a huge sigh and stumble in.

I keep my head down as I enter the unit to avoid eye contact, as today is an especially grumpy day. As of late, I have been pondering the word love. A word so frequently used I have been unable to define the definition in oneself. At my age and the trending topic of marriage and kids running all around, I feel late to the game. My history in relationships, I have only told three guys I love them. Three guys in total I have dated,  which allowed the vulnerability enough to even express such a toxic word. Have I become that jaded gay who once relished the idea to being a complete pessimist? My heart can’t take the injury of another end.

“Good morning,” is heard as I take my seat at 18.  Trevor; 27, walks over to me with a smile that goes unphased as my mood and deep thought is unwelcoming I’m sure. He makes route towards me as my focus goes directly to his scrubs and that bulge of his. I anticipate it has to be the most discussed topic amongst the girls, as its become the elephant in the room. Whenever he walks around and has conversation with the nurses, I swear I see their eyes just pan down met with the “Oh my lord,” expression slowly after.

“You don’t seem to be your perky self,” he proclaims as I just dismiss the obvious by flipping through my Blackberry and nod. Trevor is the veteran technician at the unit and the most liked. His vivacious attempt at everything is so charming it gives me a fucking headache. Trevor takes a seat next to me and prepares four needles to begin the morning.

Patty or.. Patricia I’m assuming,  is Queen Bee of dialysis by inhabiting the number “1” chair.  She wears the same navy blue, fleece sweatshirt every run and somewhat looks like an old english woman to me. She has light ginger hair and always wears sunglasses inside, which adds to her bitchy demure. Early on in my beginnings I was unfortunate to have her as a chair neighbor. After my first week of dialysis she had complained to the nurses about my loud iPod music (thank you Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and my laugh? Apparently both things where distracting her bitch ass from sleeping. This only led to me listening to more obnoxious tunes, which evidently drove to me being changed to seat 18.

Upon her red and green striped blanket I see a book. It lies open and pressed against her chest  as she sleeps. The book is in sync with every breath she takes, making it hard to focus across the room at the title. What can such a sullen woman read? I see the author Robyn Cook printed in large font upon a green cover. Still no title. My curiosity gains more momentum.

My utter distaste for this woman runs deep, yet with no real substance to why?  Am I being over critical to a woman who simple wanted sleep? or is the fact she’s a ginger add to the hysteria of a woman who’s so bleak she’s out for blood. I simply laugh to myself and continue writing in my journal.

“Trevor said you where grumpy as hell this morning,” Elsa;24, says with a smirk of curiosity as she comes to put the wall barriers around me.  The most embarrassing thing to deal with is the routine given upon having to pee. There is two ways one can approach the situation. 1) Being completely unplugged from dialysis and having a tech walk with you to the restroom. It adds more time to your overall four hours, and its frustrating for the techs. This technique is rare to see. 2) Having white shelfs on rollers brought out with a plastic odd-shaped container given, to somehow fit your dick in while sitting. Extremely frustrating.

The white walls are placed around me and Elsa makes it clear that she’s coming back to press my much-needed attitude adjustment. I struggle in my chair and get myself upright enough to allow pissing to commence. I have to watch out that I don’t move my left Fistula arm, in fear my needles would break out and cause one bloody fail. By achieving success I must arch my hips sideways (90 degrees) and push my body upright in a yoga pose using my right arm.  It’s the multitasking of both that is hard, not to mention the piss fright that’s given with the minor fact Dotti and Dennis are a thin wall away.

“What’s going on with you today?” Elsa asks as she clears away everything. “I’m thinking about love and my defeat  in keeping it,” i joke. Elsa perches herself up and shakes her head at my response. “Every experience of love is rewarding in its own right, whether negative or positive. she replies. “Plus you must not seek love as it will come to you.” Good point I think. When did Elsa suddenly become Maya Angelo? And how come she has nailed exactly what my problem was. Impatience.

Since coming out 6 years ago I haven’t really had much time single and alone. In fact, I would say after my four-year relationship ended, I immediately jumped from one 6 month relationship to another 6 months. If I do the math right , I have only technically been single roughly a year and half scattered upon that time. Was I allowing myself to settle and jump into anything that seemed delicious enough? Perhaps in order to achieve love and happiness i needed to cool my jets and allow the process to naturally come. Brilliant  you are young Elsa. Using time alone will help coordinate a mental check list of what I seek in a partner. I should not compromise anything anymore. I have decided to take the next year+ off from any relationship, and focus on Kyle. A sorta abstinent approach in order to find myself without the distraction of a relationship.

As i continue to scribble on, I notice that Patty has awoken and has started eating baby carrots. Must be 9:00 am I shrug. I have noticed that Patty does everything pretty routinely. She eats baby carrots and applesauce every run while making sure to not miss Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller  on Food Network followed by E! News. She even sets her phone alarms for such events, which I find awfully cute.  I make eye contact to allow myself one fulfilling eye roll, as I tentatively listened to Peaches. Listening to her gives me this “fuck you attitude,” that would be best saved for when i work out. I look and see her book has moved, yet no title to be seen. *Rats.

I decide I’m going to watch Robin Miller, along with the bitch in chair 1. Overall these food shows are very addicting, yet frustrating too. They always so vague about ingredients needed.  “Please take your saffron from your cabinet and sprinkle on your clams.”  says the host in such a stepford wives manner. First of all Robin, what the fuck is saffron? I thought this was easy fix meals? And if so, why the hell are we making a clam alfredo pasta? I sigh, as i realize I will never be a kitchen wife. Such a trait seems pretty lost this late in my life. I will probably spend the rest of my days going out to eat or making chicken and rice.

My machine goes off as my entire run has come to an end. Travis slowly starts to unplug me, which is a process that takes about fifteen minutes. “What’s the story on Patty?” I ask, in hopes to add fuel to the already negative persona I define her in. “Oh, she is pretty new to this place,” he adds. “She has been here a year and she’s still struggling with the idea of dialysis. She is a pretty nice woman. Intense sometimes”  I feel  guilt bubbles in my stomach form.  He continues. “She is a nurse at Sacred Heart and usually works right after dialysis most days. So you can only imagine how tired and hard such a thing could be.”

I suddenly feel a wave of nauseousness as I start to analyze the situation at hand. I realize I have acted like a child this entire time and haven’t given this woman a benefit of the doubt.  The subplots that have defined our relationship start to slowly resolve themselves in my conscience. I realize now that she in fact, needed her sleep. That such a strong woman was able to juggle both work and dialysis, was something of inspiring to me.

Trevor takes out the last remaining needles, and covers them with gauze pad. I wear a plastic glove on my right hand and hold down both wounds with my fingers, to stop the bleeding. This process in my last task for my day.  I look at Patty, with what now is a face of sympathy and wrongdoing. She lies relaxed, glasses on and watches her E! News with a face of no emotion. I get up from my chair and make my way towards her. In doing so, I’m still pressing down on my needle entries. “Hey Patty, I hate to bother you.” I say as I feel the heat rush to my face. “I was wondering what Robin Cook book you where reading?” Patty slopes from her chair and removes her red and green blanket. “Oh.. she says,”…. “It’s called Crisis. a court room drama. “I usually have a love hate relationship with this author, and in this case..much hate. I would let you barrow it when I’m done, but I think I’m doing you a huge favor.”  she smiles at me.  We haven’t yet experienced a connection thus far, and I proudly let out a laugh. I feel relief. I engage her more with my presence in hopes that this will be new beginnings. “I hope you have a wonderful day,” i added as I slowly make it back to my chair to gather my belongings.

Lesson learned i thought as I made my way through the exit. Every day I come here appears to be something beautiful I leave with.

Kyle

19 chairs with 19 people. That’s the only way to appropriately describe my now three times a week commitment.The process for this sudden part-time job has become so overwhelmingly interesting that I have no other way but to write about the experience as it will be less than four months when it will be over.

Dialysis

My  swagger is somewhat lazy this morning as the normal 6 am wake up call has yet to become a habit. With pillow, coffee and Blackberry in hand I enter this building with somewhat  anxiety swimming throughout my body.  I enter a second door and push a button. Like Fort Knox I patiently await as the security camera pans me for access. I’m unsure why security measures are extreme and I often joke that I’m waiting for the eye retina machine. I smile up at the camera and give a wave as i know that the nurses and techs are excited to see me. At 27, I’ve built somewhat of a reputation because of my young age and the positive attitude throughout this pretty scary chapter. The door grants me access and I enter the building. It begins.

There are specific steps one has to take in order to enter the actual dialysis unit. 1) weigh oneself which determines how much fluid to take out of my body 2) clean my fistula arm, which is the access point to where the party begins 3) excessive blood pressure tests that cut off blood flow to my masturbatory arm and causes the most discomfort 4) breathing tests and discussion with nurses before plug-in. Phew!

I step into a room that air lies stagnant and temperature cold in order to prevent infection between patients. There lies 19 chairs with 19 people all facing one another in a giant boxed room. Television sets above usually blast Fox News as the main demographic are people of 40+ and most who lie decrepid and lifeless. It’s like stepping into Toontown from Roger Rabbit. The characters that I spend the four hours with are somewhat worth writing about and  a blast. It’s somewhat become my own personal Cheers.

All eyes shoot up as I enter the unit and am greeted by the young techs who eagerly await to discuss True Blood episodes, relationships, and other forms of playground gossip. I take my seat in what is a plastic green recliner chair and  eye roll at all the attention my presence has stirred up because it has somewhat become unchanging. To best describe this statement of arrogance is that I have fallen down the rabbit hole. Where are the people my age? Le sigh.

As I anxiously await the needle preparation and dismiss the 28-year-old  female tech endless drivel about her boyfriend drama. I take attention to Seat number 17, my neighbor Dotti, who I was relieved passed all security measures prior to get in as she stepped forward with walker grasped and tennis balls attached. “Morning Kyle,” she glows as are eyes meet with matching smiles. I’m pretty sure she pronounces my name with a Q “Qyle”. But all is forgiven as Dotti has become the most animated character I have come across. Dotti style is best described as hippy chic meets bag lady slash 1970’s couch. She wears a neck brace that lifts up her second chin and creates a sort of Renee Zellweger pinched look . Her delayed footsteps are met with pink crocs that are so dirty they have an algae tint and the smell of cat urine slowly makes its way to my nostrils causing a slight sting. A tech follows her patiently carrying a huge tote with what looks like rubble inside (old newspapers, receipts, hats that look like doilies.)

“Would you like a candy Qyle,” she says in a high-pitched voice reminiscent to Betty Boop. This has sort of become are ritual as I politely accept. I suddenly feel the sting of Lidacane  enter my fistula arm as plugging in has started.  Dotti rummaged through her purse for candy and describes her horrific dilemma with the new vacuum she bought with the confusing attachment heads. “Pardon me today  Qyle,” she chirps “I am a little high from my pain medications.” I laugh.  I take a deep breath as my focus has turned to the fact that they have numbed my arm and have started entering the dialysis needles. I smile at Dotti and internally thank her for distracting me as I am handed a lint covered taffy. She turns the television on and slowly this charming cat-lady falls into a graceful coma. i pocket the candy.

The overall plug-in to my dialysis machine is anti-climactic. I wish it was as painful and dramatic as I have read or anticipated. I wish I could describe the feeling with words that would give one goosebumps. But the overall experience is not worth writing about.

The four-hour clock begins and i sip my coffee and let the boredom slowly sift in.I feel the presence of eyes upon me and a forced cough. I ignore it as I watch the two hours of Saved By The Bell that TBS has on every morning. *Cough. I turn my attention away from Screech, who’s acne cream medicine he made in chemistry class has turned Kelly’s face red. I love early 90’s writing.

Seat number 19 greets me with a fist pump. This random act would not normally annoy me, yet this 44-year-old man was trying to do something hip and on my level. A simple hello would be more appreciated but I oblige back with a pump. Dennis is the second youngest person at dialysis. I think they purposely set us next to one another at a sad attempt at bonding. I joke that it’s like a bad eHarmony matchup. See, Dennis is an extreme Catholic who’s religious banter distracts me from Mr.Belding. He presses me for my opinion on things most commonly from Fox News, to get a reaction as he’s taken hint of my liberal views. It gets rather stressing but the man is making do with his four hours of boredom as well. I appease him with light-hearted arguments and let him enlighten me with his narrow-minded views. I think in my head how wonderful this pairing would make for a buddy-cop movie.

As the hours progress slowly and I begin to cramp in my latex lazy boy, i hear the door open and walks in a grey haired pixie of a woman who’s roughly in her 80+. Even though her age is apparent, she has such confidence in her strut it says “I’m one tough betch.” This part of dialysis is the most beautiful thing to witness. Unsure of names, I watch Grandma putter to seat number 12. There lies a man whose eyes deliciously grace her presence with a kiss and a cheeky smile with popping dimples. For the past three months, every dialysis run, this woman comes and sees her man. Never has there been a mute exchange between these two as their interactions are playfully adorable. I sit back in my seat feeling glum and jealous as i glance at the entrance door anticipating my perfect man strolling up with an Americano refill and a wet kiss *Rats, still nothing. I admire the fact that this couple, who probably don’t have too much longer have so much adoration for one another. I often think in my head how that’s my ideal life. This couple has given me a poster child for what love could possible be . With a sudden rise in divorces/cheating/unhappiness that surround my bubble of influences. it’s a nice treat to see the positive. Reminds me of this poem  by Sir George Etherege.

It is not, Celia, in our power

To say how long our love will last;

It may be we within this hour

May lose those joys we now do taste;

The blessed, that immortal be,

From change in love are only free.

Then, since we mortal lovers are,

Ask not how long our love will last;

But while it does, let us take care

Each minute be with pleasure passed:

Were it not madness to deny

To live because we’re sure to die!


To make lightness out of the situation and people has become a rather therapeutic approach and is met with no disrespect. I spend the four hours reflecting on my life and how strange an experience this has become. Overall rewarding in terms of my health, which seems better than ever.

My dialysis machine goes off as the hours comes to a final close. i sit rather annoyed as Dennis chimes in on how Obama is doing a bad job, referring to the oil crisis in the Gulf. “Perhaps to fix the problem we need a giant Shamwow,” I suggest. His boisterous laugh delights my ears as we finally end on a good note and I can finally go home. As I walk away with empty Starbucks and an ass so pained from sitting. I nod my heads at a few other neighbors. Seat 15, the petite nun . Seat 13, the blind guy who looks like Hagrid from Harry Potter and a notorious asshole to the nurses. He once asked me “Kyle, what channel is West Wing on?.”.. I just didn’t know how to respond.

I’ll save those seats for another day.

K-