Thursday, August 09, 2007

Here, kitty, kitty...

If I had nine lives, I think I used up another one or two. This surgery was suppose to be a relative cake-walk. This phrase, by the way, makes no sense. Is this from the old school bake sale days? Remember when you and your mom would bake something to sell, and there would be a cake walk to win a baked prize? It was easy to walk around in a circle and hope to land on the square where your number would be called. Wouldn't it be lovely if that habit was brought into real life? I'd like to be rewarded with a cupcake for walking. Hell, I'd just like to walk. But anyway, back to my story.

Remove some of the hardware that was in my back. Hope no infection lingered in the bone or tissues. Cleanse the area and done in three hours. After a day, treat my body with some really strong antibiotics to make sure the infections were all gone. Side effects minimal but possible. Now see, that's where we all should have been paying attention. Because my body heard, "side effects possible" and ran with it. Again.

Surgery went well. Had some visitors on Friday, even hobbled around in my walker to impress the physical therapist. That night the antibiotics were administered and it began. Funny how you notice the small changes when something isn't right in your own body. Funnier still is how easy it is to ignore these changes. I started feeling fuzzy on the edges. My body seemed to float yet it was coupled with a strange heaviness in my belly. Then I felt weak. And weaker. I answered mostly coherently but something wasn't right. And the tests showed that my kidneys had started shutting down again in reaction to the antibiotics. Second time around for me and acute renal failure.

The hospital moved me from my room with a view to a room around the corner from ICU, "just in case". I do remember arguing with the hospital staff that I wasn't going to ICU. Don't have fond memories from my last trip there. Next few days are blurry. Lots of tests, lots of blood taken (thank goodness for pic lines!) just lots of lots of stuff.

The difference between my last hospital stay and this one? I was cognizant this time around, which doesn't always mean that's for the better. Don't misunderstand, there is no way I would want to be in a coma, but there is something to be said for the ignorance is bliss theory. I knew when an uncomfortable procedure was scheduled because I was awake. One procedure in particular would be the blood clot filter and dialysis catheter insertion - my twofer. The placement of said goodies? Through the artery - in my GROIN!! That's right folks, humiliations galore #1. So when it was time for my several dialysis treatments, the "hose" was connected at my groin. No moving for 3-4 hours. Couldn't sit up for longer than 20-30 minutes and no standing up.

I resented it this time around. Not my body for doing what it seems it is going to naturally do - which is do whatever is not expected. I resented the hospital, the staff, the tests, the air itself. I hated the confinement, the lack of control, the utter weakness of being sick. I think the hospital staff would say I was a model patient but they didn't hear the squeaky voices in my head.

Humiliations galore #2? The nephrology team wanted a "clean" urine sample. Clean doesn't mean a good scrubbing of your private area, people. Clean means straight from the source, no catheters, please. It means two lovely nurses bent over your spread legs, giving your privates a good scrubbing with alcohol (burns, baby, burns!) followed by the dreaded words, "Breathe. Relax. It won't hurt too much." Uh huh. You know what those words really mean, "Don't scream. Don't kick me in the face. Hurt me and I'll get you good when it's time for your shot!" I breathed. Tried to relax and ignore what they were doing. Only the pain is so focused in an area that stuff is suppose to flow out of - not stuff go in, particularly long, cold hard plastic. I passed the test only I did it my way. Ask me to take a test, lady, and I'm going to do my damn best to overachieve. So I peed on her and I giggled. What else could I do?

I had a few blood transfusions. Have to change the way I eat because my kidneys, while on the mend, might have been permanently damaged after this second bout. Won't know for awhile how much, if any damage, was done. Lost more vision in my right eye. Lost quite a bit this time, actually. I think the damage done was more to my inner strength, my ability to bounce back. Resignation is not a good word but it comes close. I haven't accepted what's happened to me because it wasn't given to me. I didn't have a choice. Sometimes fighting all the time gets tiring. Sometimes laying down and whimpering sounds lovely. I've learned the dubious skill of the silent scream - I open my mouth wide but nothing comes out - yet I know inside I'm screaming. I resent the loss of my innocence - the belief that time can heal most wounds. I mourn the loss of my independence, I'm reminded daily that life for me and my family has changed irrevocably. Mostly, I'm saddened that I can't find as much humor in it all anymore. Laughter still has its place but I don't welcome it as easily. I'm angered that I feel weakness, that I've let my guard down and doubt has crept inside. Somebody give me a cupcake, quick.


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