Posts Tagged ‘health’

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 😦

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Here is the experience of kidney dialysis for me.

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-