Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)

I haven’t written anything in the last year.  It’s been a rough one.
I started hemodialysis in November 2012.  It was traumatic and painful.  Try sitting in one position with your arms tied to your side for four and a half hours.  Your limbs fall asleep.  If you itch, you can’t scratch.  Sometimes the needles hurt during the entire treatment, not just at insertion and extraction.
I spent eight months in tears--frustrated and exhausted.  Hemodialysis sucked the energy out of me.
My family pulled away, acted like I no longer existed.  My mother never checked on me or asked how I was doing.
My Dad died within three years of going on dialysis, and it seemed that my family assumed that I was as good as dead.
But I am not my Dad.  My stubborn Dad who refused to follow the kidney diet, did not always take his medication properly, who had four heart attacks and by-pass surgery before he ever went on dialysis.  My Dad gave up after having a second leg amputation.  He never even considered a kidney transplant.
I am looking toward the future. I expect to have a kidney transplant, so I do everything my treatment requires.
Life is never what you expect.  My Mom expected me to die soon.  Instead, she died of an unexpected heart attack in March.
Yeah, it’s been harsh.
I decided to have the surgery to install a catheter for peritoneal dialysis (PD), which can be done at home while sleeping.  I did not tell my family before doing this.  My Dad died shortly after choosing this surgery, because of organ damage that was detected during surgery.  His surgeion did not complete the procedure.
My procedure went well.  I had been happily on PD for three weeks when something went wrong.  My catheter, instead of floating free in my abdomen, curled up and imbedded itself under my skin--a very rare complication.  It can be fixed.  The catheter must be removed and a new one inserted.  The surgeon will use a different type of catheter and position it where there is less pressure on it.
Meanwhile, I am back on hemodialysis and I am not happy about it.
That is an understatement.  I had to be sedated after the doctor gave me the news.
PD was a glimpse of a good life--no big honkin’ needles, no having to spend 18 hours a week on the process of dialysis, no exhaustion.  I got more done in those three weeks than I did in the six months before PD.  Already this week I have had to take naps every afternoon.
As I approach the new surgery, I am rejecting all of the negativity my family has projected upon me.  When I told an aunt about my surgery she asked, “Isn’t that the surgery that killed your Dad?”
I will welcome only positive feedback and encouragement.  This is a temporary setback, not a permanent problem.  I will just gut it out for the next three or four weeks.