Saturday, February 26, 2005

Countdown to Catheter 2005

Take a glance at my belly. No, not there. A little higher. Thank you. Just below my navel, to either side, are scars from previous kidney transplants. They're still visible, but buried within the folds of my psyche are scars of a different nature, the ones that no one sees...

I remember vividly throwing up in the middle of English in seventh grade. I just happened to be sitting next to the loudest mouth in the class, Emilie. I was using all my muscles to hold back my breakfast, but a small amount of vomit spewed out and landed on my backpack.

"Mr. Denivi, someone's throwing up!"

Mr. Denivi has spoken to my mother about my health situation, so he calmly replied, "It's ok Emilie. Everything's going to be ok."

He was one of my favorite teachers from those years because, like any good teacher, he made the entire learning process entertaining. He had already written my permission slip as I quickly passed him, attempting to escape with my breakfast and dignity intact.

Before my second kidney transplant, my sister stepped up and volunteered to endure all the endless testing to determine is she was eligible to give me another fresh start on life. We were both lying on separate gurneys, side by side. I was feeling rather nervous so they injected some "happy juice" into my IV to help me relax and prepare for the surgery. For some reason they didn't administer any to my sister Amy. I glanced over and all I could see were tears welling up in her eyes. It dawned on me that I was causing my baby sister undue pain. I still haven't forgiven myself.

So here I am again, undergoing surgery to keep myself alive. It's embarrassing, humiliating. Another scar that will never heal.

If you clicked on the title of the blog above, you have a clear idea of what I'm going to go through. I've felt like a freak ever since I went back on dialysis back in May of 2004, and now I'm going to be a freak with a tube sticking out of his abdomen.

I probably should think of the positives associated with this surgery. I now present The Top 5 Reasons Having a Catheter is Cool:

5) If I get tired of using the catheter for dialysis, I can simply hook it up to my car and change the oil, saving myself $23.50.

4) I can store cool beverages like Coca-Cola and Snapple in my belly so I'll never be thirsty.

3) Just like in Star Trek, I could connect myself to the most powerful computer imaginable and take over the world.

2) There has to be a subculture of women out there who are turned on by guys with long...catheter tubing. I could be their king.

1) Extra added bonus of sympathy from beautiful neckish women.

Quite a transitional blog today. It began rather depressing and filled to the rim with self-loathing and ended with dopey comedy.

That's my kinda blog.

I have no ending, so I take a small bow.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Missing My Greek Goddess

Our first meeting was fate by way of contemporary technology. I was feeling rather bad about myself, my image, what I had endured in my life, so I spilled all these feeling onto craigslist.org. My kidney transplant history and dialysis treatments are what peaked her interest.

It only took 2 e-mails to move her to call me. Our first conversation lasted 6 hours. The kind of conversation that you can only dream of having when you first meet someone you find so alluring. Her photo grabbed me and I should have known I was sunk. Her form, much like mine, had been stunted due to a childhood kidney transplant. She was so tiny, appearing so fragile. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Her eyes are what grabbed me a first, large, bright and full of agony. I could relate to that. Her raven hair ended just below her ears and she had the milkiest skin I'd ever experienced. I found her frighteningly beautiful, quirky and incredibly intelligent.

We spoke daily about every facet of our lives. Once the day began, I couldn't wait to get home and hear her voice tickle my ear. As our conversations continued, the dialogue became saucier, more than just gentle flirting. I was totally enthralled.

We finally met on a warm, balmy Saturday afternoon in Berkeley where she lived. Her dialysis treatments totally enveloped her entire life, so she wasn't employed and probably wouldn't have the energy to make it through our first date. We met at a little pizza place near the BART station and it wasn't anywhere near as entertaining as our phone conversations. I found out later that she was just as nervous as I was.

When the night was ending, and I drove her back to her apartment, I gave her a hug and kissed her on her cheek. I didn't have enough balls to taste her lips, so she grabbed mine. She had these full, soft lips that I had been fantasizing about kissing all night.


All in all, a fantastic date.

Now that I reflect back on my time with her, the beginning was so quick, so compacted into too many phone conversations and too few interactions.

I still call her from time to time, but she rarely calls back. I still send her e-mails and leave messages, but they go unanswered. I think she overdosed on my presence. Too much of Stacy is not a good thing.

Dark eyes, milky skin, raven hair. Opinions on everything, smart as a tack. When it comes down to it, I simiply wasn't good enough, smart enough or attractive enough. And it's probably for the best.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Why I Despise Rock Radio

Rock radio is full of complete buffoons. Every single weekday I attempt to perform a radio show that entertains as well as edifies (the preceding few words should be considered "sarcasm"...thank you). My studio is about 8 feet across the hall from one of those idiotic rock radio station. You know the archetype...

"Sex sex sex...raunch raunch...aren't we talented...sex sex sex...pompous ego, pompous ego...raunch...sex...we rock!!"

Sigh.

The most troubling part is when I'm trying to do a live broadcast in my studio, I can hear their signal bleed into the microphone because they're playing their receiver so frickin' loud. I used to ask them, albeit politely, to turn it down. The silence usually lasted about 43 seconds and then they turn it back up.

I also hear how they talk about our station when they think none of our staff is listening. It's ok, I can handle it. Every once in a while something arises where a member of their staff needs help from a member of mine.

We always seem to be overly busy to help. Or we pretend we have no idea how to help.

Then they're screwed.

Let's take a gander at the staff, shall we?

The morning jock used to work in San Francisco and Hawaii. A majority of the time, unless a radio personality takes their show into syndication, they will end up in a smaller market until they retire. Unfortunately, most bring a large market ego to a small market station and alienate most of the staff. That's what this guy does. It doesn't help that his wife tells him on a daily basis how great he is and how he'll once again be flying high in big market radio sometime soon.

He's been here 4 years now.

The midday jock is a nice guy when he wishes to be, but most of the time he records his show and then blasts it in his office so everyone in the office has to listen to it. And then he leaves at 3:30 in the afternoon. I'm usually here until 9 or 10pm at night. What's wrong with this blurry picture?

The afternoon jock frightens me. I don't think you're supposed to greet him unless he's stoned. I only say "hello" depending on the look he has in his eye. You can tell when someone doesn't wish to be spoken to. He's a great jock, but doesn't really play well with others.

Since I have no end for this blog, I will take a small bow.


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.