Sunday, February 20, 2005

Dialysis is Stealing My Soul

Two needles. One machine. No compassion.

Three days a week, for three hours at a time, I suffer on dialysis.

I've been given the privledged burden of being born with kidneys that would rather relocate to someone more attractive rather than continue paying rent in my lanky form. I fully understand. If I were stuck in my body, I'd want it condemned too.

Usually by the time my dialysis appointment arrives, I feel as though I won't last much longer. Fatigue, dizziness and nausea combine into this annoying medley that wouldn't make it past the auditions at most concert halls.

Once the treatment begins, I can name 56 separate locations I'd rather be, and coincidentally, none start with the letter "d". The first half is usually the easiest. My personal vicodin-lidocaine cocktail begins to lose its strength about that time.

That's when the burning begins.

Imagine if you will taking two pens from y our office desk, placing them in a burning fire and then stabbing them into your forearm and leaving them there for three hours.

When it begins my thoughts seek out any, ANY evil thing I may have done in my lifetime to create the karma necessary to make this process even remotely possible.

I usually end up with the conclusion that God has forsaken me. It's just as well, since we don't get along very well to begin with.

Everyone else in the clinic seems content with dialysis. They put up with the blood that sometimes doesn't come out of your clothes. The tape that rips hair and dignity off your arms. The endless rollercoaster of energy that never stays put.

Maybe I'm just weak. I can see it in the dialysis tech's eyes when I let them know what's wrong. I never call them over to complain, but I'm no Brando. They think I'm a skinny, pale pussy. They're not bad people, but their disdain shoots into my soul every time they glance at me.

When the needles are finally removed, and my arm is all taped up, I'm a changed man. It's difficult to sound like myself when I speak and every muscle in my body cries out for rest.

When it's all said and done, the scariest part if how I feel internally. Normally, I'm easy-going and considerate, sensitive and compassionate, easy to laugh and given to flights of pop culture geekiness.

But once I leave the clinic, if I were handed a weapon, I could literally take someone's life and not feel any regret over the action. I sometimes want to just destroy everything in my path.
But my pre-dialysis side, the side that keeps me from committing any of these acts, is beginning to lose the battle. The classic story of Jekyll & Hyde, brought to life by 21st century Western Civilization medical technology.

I'm going to give away more of my geeky side, but remember the scene in "Star Trek IV" when Bones the doctor is transported from his advanced 23rd century world to our backwards 20th century one? He's in the hospital, prepared to leave and asks an elderly lady what she's suffering from.

She responds, "Kidney dialysis."

He responds, and I'm paraphrasing, how barbaric that truly is.

He hands her some pills and moments later she's being wheeled away fully energized and healed.

I find it less entertaining these days, but it speaks volumes on the state of medical technology today.

I've read through all the piles of documents they've given me and one section discusses how you can legally stop dialysis if the procedure becomes too unbearable and you just wish to end your life.

I think about that simple 8 1/2 x 11" form every single day.

Because dialysis is stealing my soul.

1 comment:

  1. I have stopped believing in God now that I'm on peritoneal dialysis.