Posts Tagged ‘Kidney Failure’

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

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