Posts Tagged ‘kidney transplant’

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 😦


Quick little post of excitement –

Just received a phone call from the Kidney Transplant Committee who said “kyle are you sitting down?” … “why yes I am,” i lied as I nervously sipped my Pumpkin spiced Americano.   ” You’re officially on the KIDNEY transplant list !!!

Cheers to a great day of good news!


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.


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.