The world has body image issues. I have come to some peace with mine. It is about time. I now weigh ten lbs less than in university forty years ago: 225 vs 235. I dropped the weight I had piled on to prep for open heart surgery. I have kept it off. The chest line hanging out of my chest is for hemodialysis. Tubing connects me to a machie which cleans my blood. I go three times per week for four hours of blood cleaning. The chest lines are problematical. No swimming and artful acrobatic partial showering. With a kidney transplant the line will go. With line gone, I will be able to swim and shower. You can see my surgical scar where they cut my sternum to open my ribs to get at my heart. It is the vertical line centre of my chest. I am 62. I am at the top of the transplant list after 7.5 years of dialysis. I am filled with joy at the prospect. There will be many changes. Almost all of them will be for the better. The end of the chest line will be huge.
My sister and I are experiencing near terminal meltdown and cautious joy over the now looming prospect of a kidney transplant.
She and I share accommodation in a forty six year old winterized cottage on Georgian Bay. We had a routine that worked with dialysis. Dialysis for 7.5 years.
The gift of a kidney coming anytime is a great thing and a little crazy. After you are 45 years old, Change is the enemy even smiling, happy Change.
For most of the first 6 years of dialysis I drove myself. Last year my balance trouble due to peripheral neuropathy and my weakening heart grew so I went from cane to walker for secure scuttling around..
I hate the walker. I love the walker.
The walker makes me feel like I can move steadily often without nervous calculation. To make it mine, I put on tape in a herringbone pattern, a smart tape selected at Staples. I had not bought tape in some time. There has been a revolution in decorative tapes.
The walker weighs 20 pounds and folds up. It fits u with a hearty lift and shove in the back seat of the car. When I drove, I fought the walker in and out of the car. then my sister took over. I hate to see her schlep it in and out of the car. I am back to doing this most of the time.
Open Heart Surgery
Last year we faced a quixotic giant. His name was open heart surgery. He might kill me. He might make stronger. The Giant smiled and I survived and slowly I came back to a strong me. The walker stayed under me, my indoor, bladeless lawn mower, or so I call it and tell the cats who don’t care for the confrontations much. They find ways to put up with me and my ways, walkered and otherwise. They adore my sister.
Two other boulders sit in the river I wish to pass.
My sister has arthritis affecting her right hip and knee. She has good days and bad days. Now she he has grabbed one of my canes. By the way she is amused at the deference and assistance she gets now as she brandishes her war club. She was in pain before the cane and could have used help with doors and loads then.
The trouble is one last failure of mine. My right eye offers no vision. The left eye remains good, good enough to drive. I am working on my Peter Falk impression.
My life is small; I have no wife, no children, no grand-children. That is for the best. My life certainly upon hearing of my fate, kidney failure and dialysis.has had a cascade of bad decisions. On me they fall. I don’t want any more to fall on her. She worked hard for her retirement. For her enjoyment.
Gordian Knot: Transportation
We have a transportation problem to solve with transplant. Transplant coordination is not unaware of this. I doubt right now I can drive to downtown Toronto two or three times per week. That is the plan initially after a three week stay to make sure organ rejection will not be a problem. Then for several months many visits to Toronto. It cn be handled someway. But my sis and I were taught to handle our oen live independently. Strongest teaching from our Mother who survived the Great Depression nad came from Swedish, stand on your own twofeet Vikings.
My sister san’t manage the ferocious driving. I may not be able to. I am unused to big city driving although I drove in Toronto for years during my working days.
All this sounds logical, hinting at the emotions.
The week has been Hell.
What will change? The three four hour dialysis treatments will be gone. My blind right eye stays. My bad balance stays.
Losing the “Little Village”
As a seriously socially isolated senior (depends on your definition, I am 62, discount some places) who has a little “village.” I refer to the cranky dialysis patients who I get to talk to briefly in the waiting room before we are called in and our separation begins. It is mostly impossible to have a conversation with a patient during four hour treatments. Other “village” residents are the dialysis nurses. A small but significant amount of small talk. Th rub is, I lose my “village” with a transplant.
Losing this “village” came up in my realistic discussion.
The emotions of this seven and a half year trap/salvation roil, burn blast. Often just under the surface of the skin. This week they came out into the warming, Spring sun.
I have speculated madly/ Do I who has made such a disaster of my life deserve the gift of a kidney?
Visual Life and Fear of Blindness
I get my gift of a kidney and it works and then my left eye goes blind? Right now i don’t believe I could live blind.
I love reading and watching movies. All my life I have written. Professionally as a technical writer. Creatively as a writer of poetry, short stories and short plays. I don’t think I couid be a blind writer. I don’t think I could be blind. Would it be a sin to tka kidney gift and end my life in the face of blindness?
Failure to Connect
I have lived up here in God’s country, a transplanted Big City type but with summer residency going back to the 60s and Family roots to 1910. I have tried various groups, arts, writers, seniors, even Georgian College. I have failed to build a social network. I have no best friend. There is no one I can call up to have a serious chin wag/ Question is will kidney fix that? Not automatically. My theory is simply that my personality has grown crankier and more toxic during the time I learned kidney failure was coming. I considered it the end of my life. I considered it God’s judgement to punish me both on earth and after death.For all the sins/mistakes I had committed up to that point. Did I see the light sand try to do better? No, a true grasshopper I made many wrong decisions making my circumstance with kidney freedom facing me straitened.
Who knows after hemodialysis for a few years, eternity in Hell might be OK.
Change is a Grizzly bear
Whatever comfortable decaying, grinding down to bits routine dialysis has forced it is about to explode. It is going and we were used to it. The rushing floodwater of change in a canyon is coming at us and we are terrified. Sometimes my sister and I try to smile. But Change can be like a Leonardo gnawing grizzly bear.
I grew exhausted with the bone crushing, rock crushing ride of the Red Cross wheelchair van. By far the worst ride I ever experienced. Worse than any vehicle I rode on during two summers in Northern Alberta working on the start of the Syncrude Project. That included Nodwell swamp buggies. I ended that transportation. Back to being driven by my sister in our old Toyota Camry. Peace for me.
Dialysis was smooth this week.
Quiet celebration of my 62nd birthday on the 23rd.
Healing from open heart surgery slowly proceeding. I feel better each day.
Got a call from preregistration for my parathyroid surgery this AM. I had been told July 3 for surgery date, but this is not the case. The true date is July 31st. I have also scheduled some heavy duty oral surgery for August 13th. This will all work out.
One problem though, the parathyroid trouble has finally kicked up some bone pain in my hips. Hurts like a bastard when I walk. Seems the surgery will help, but it can take a month to reduce if not eliminate the bone pain. Fortunately it does not hurt to sit or lie down.
I am having to limit my activities. Back to using a walking stick. Things could be a whole lot worse.