Posts Tagged ‘kidney’

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

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

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!

Ky

Here is the experience of kidney dialysis for me.

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-