Thursday, January 12, 2012
As we sit, the snow falls outside. First real snowfall of the winter and it's January 12th. Yesterday was a springy 54 degrees and sunny. Today I was prepared for the snow, everyone said it was coming, what I was not prepared for was the reminiscent thoughts of Al's days on dialysis. He was on peritoneal dialysis, which means there was a tube in his belly in which he would hook up to a machine that was situated next to our bed. Each and every month, Fresenius faithfully delivered 1,000's of pounds of dialysis solution in boxes that we would stack up in the corner of our bedroom. I used to get great satisfaction out of piling the boxes taller than me, so I could line them directly along the wall (4 rows, stacked about 12 boxes high) allowing them to take over as little space in our room as possible. I was clinging to "normal" anything I could do to make our lives feel normal was what my mission was. I enjoyed draining the remaining solution into the toilet as I wound up the tubes that went from the machine all the way to the bathroom where it dripped into the toilet each night. I enjoyed taking the boxes out to the recycling bin every morning and I enjoyed the end of each month where the boxes were at the lightest load, never leaving less than about 10 boxes before the next shipment. Why does snow make me think of dialysis? Because the winter months were the worst. The deliveries each month came to our backdoor, there was a hydrolic "hand truck" that eased the boxes up the first set of stairs, then it tracked snow and salt and wetness through my downstairs to the second set of stairs that went to the bedroom. Foot tracks, that were simply unavoidable. I was left with pounds and pounds of boxes taking over my room and a trail to clean. It was normal for us, that was normal for 4 years. It was a fact of life. A simple fact that without it, my husband would not have been able to live through. It was a sacrifice for all of us, yet it was a better alternative to the hemodialysis (blood straining) or the imminent death that he faced. It was our only option and it sucked. It sucked. It sucked. I was just his wife, I didn't actually have to do those dialysis treatments, I was just the helpless bystander that worked diligently to keep life normal for all of us. Now that I look back, life was so far from normal. It truly was. There is nothing normal about having a husband on dialysis, waiting for a transplant when he was supposed to be in the prime of his life. I made it normal. I have come to realize, that normalizing it all, was *my* self defense. I had no control over my husband's health, but I did have control over keeping my house clean. Keeping those salty, snowy tracks off my wood floors and getting those empty boxes and bags the hell out of my house. Little did I know, all of that time that I had the kidney he needed. What will happen next time? I don't have another kidney to give. This thought is always in the back of my mind. Now that I know what dialysis is like and waiting for an organ, it's a place I never want to visit again, yet it's sort of inevitable. Kidney transplants don't last forever, and there will come a time that we will have to face more dialysis, more waiting, only next time I will know what we are in for. I won't have the bliss of "shock". I will have to the cold hard truth that it plain old sucks. My constant prayer is that this transplanted kidney will last for many many many years, get him through his 30's, 40's, even 50's, 60's or 70's. I have my hopes and dreams and prayers. I don't want my husband to go have to through that again. Enough is enough. Two kidney transplants in one life is more than enough.