Friday, October 27, 2006

The Metamorphosis of White Pumpkin

I snuck the unsuspecting White Pumpkin into my office and closed the door softly, but quickly. White Pumpkin was looking forward to his first carving.

"Can I be a happy pumpking Stacy? Can I?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?Huh?Huh?Huh?Huh?Please?Please?Please?Please?Ple..."

"Ok, alright. Calm down."

I placed him on the corner of my desk and it took all my strength just to deal with his infantile questions.

I slumped down in my office chair as a wicked smile came across my face.

The White Pumpkin was going to become my unwilling pawn in teaching the world about the true nature of Dialysis.

But White Pumpking wouldn't stop jabbering.

"And I want really wacky hair! And a bow tie! Take the seeds from my belly and give me dimples! The other pumpkins are going to be jealous."

What White Pumpkin didn't realize is that, much like his new owner, he was an outcast. And my plans for his Halloween debut were not going to make him happy.

"Listen WP. I need you to relax. You're not going to like what I'm going to say."

White Pumpking stopped bounding about and his mood began to cloud.

"You're not going to drop me from an overpass are you? Some of my friends had that happen to them. They were denied the honor of the Carving."

I waved my hands in an effort to toss those ideas aside.

"No, no," I reassured him. "I have much loftier plans for you."

"Whew! Ok, that's cool. What did you have in mind?"

"You see WP, I'm on Dialysis."

"Synthesis?"

"No, Dialysis."

"You're going to die my skin. That'll be cool."

I grabbed a Sharpie and began to sketch the true face of Dialysis on White Pumpkin's skin.

"Hey! Wait! Hey, cut it out! That tickles!"

His giggles were high pitched and grating, but White Pumpkin seemed to be enjoying himself.

I took the pen knife and slowly started to etch out my drawings.

I paused momentarily, wondering if White Pumpkin could feel pain.

"No, no. The feel of the knife into my shell actually feels reassuring. Every pumpkin I've ever met wants to be carved. Few ever want to be used for pies or cake. Carving is the ultimate position in the pumpkin hierarchy.

White Pumpkin rambled on as I finished applying my final cut. The world of pumpkins was surprisingly fascinating.

"You see, the larger pumpkins control the community, but then there are divisions among skin clarity and deepness of color."

"What about you," I asked. "Aren't White Pumpkins considered outcasts?"

"Yes and no. We're considered 'special' by the Pumpkin Community. Many of the larger pumpkins adopt us, especially because many of us don't get picked by the Carvers."

I made my final cut and suddenly felt a kinship with White Pumpkin. We were both outcasts, but had survived our maladies and made something of ourselves.

"Are you done? Can I see? Can I? Huh? Huh? I wanna see!!"

I grabbed him from the corner of the desk and carried him to the men's bathroom so he could see himself in the mirror.

He nearly jumped from my fingers when he witnessed the result.


The tubing was compliments of the staff at my Dialysis Clinic.

"What did you do?!?! I look horrendous! None of the other pumpkins are going to accept me now! Why? Why Stacy?? Why did you do this? What did I ever do to you??"

I gently carried him back to my office and placed him back on the corner of thedesk.

"You see, Dialysis has been a long and insufferable part of my life. By creating you, I'm taking some of the pain I've felt over the last couple of years and harnessed it to teach others about what it means to be on Dialysis."

White Pumpkin was still crying. He didn't want to be Dialysis Pumpkin. He wanted to be happy and impress all of the pumpkin friends.

But it wasn't meant to be.

"What's all this crap in my head? When did you put all of that in??"

"While you were telling me about pumpkin history. You were so engrossed in your story you didn't notice."

He started to bound about the desk in small, erratic jumps.

"Hey, hey, hey!" I grabbed him by the sides in an effort to calm him down.

"Ok, listen." I started to mix a concoction of corn syrup and corn starch as I spoke to him. I spoke softly and reassuringly in an effort to help White Pumpkin understand my point of view.

"I can guarantee you that there is no other pumpkin on the face of the planet, right here, right now that is as cool and original as you."

His sobbing had diminished to sniffling, truly amazing considering he had no nasal passage or tear ducts to speak of. Before I continued I told myself a crying pumpkin is probably the saddest creature on Earth.

"So, um, well, I'm one of a kind? Really? There's no others like me? Are you sure?"

"Positive," I replied as I dabbled a few tablespoons of red food coloring into my recipe. "But you're not done yet."

"Really?" A sense of excitement returned to White Pumpkin's demeanor. "What's next?"

"One of the major drawbacks to Dialysis is that, from time to time, you lose a lot of blood. It's a bloody business overall and something no one should have to endure, ever. So I want to symbolize that with this."

I placed the glass of blood I had created directly in front of him.

"That looks delicious, what is it?"

"This my friend, is fake blood. You see this hypodermic needle?"

He nervously started to shake.

"I'm going to fill it with this fake blood and spray it all over your skin. Because it's composed of corn syrup, it will stick to your white skin and make it appear as though you were splattered."

Before the look of concern on his face could reach full strength, I calmed his fears.

"YOU are going to look SO cool! And it will feel cool too. Do you think you're ready for this?"

You could almost see the pumpkin seeds swirling inside his head, taking in every fact I had given him about Dialysis and processing it. He finally reached a decision.

"Let's do it! Go for it! Make sure you start at the top so it will drip down the sides."

"You're pretty special, you know that White Pumpkin."

"I'm sorry. Call me Dialysis Pumpkin!"


Dialysis Pumpkin lasted seven days and proudly lived his life as a 2nd Place Prize Winner at Punky's Perfect Pumpkin Patches On-Air Personality Pumpkin Contest. He made friends with the other pumpkins and was flirting with a rather shy deep orange pumpkin that was based on "The Great Pumpkin."

Once he returned from the festivities, he was greeted by every member of the staff as he made his new home at the corner of my office desk.

On the final day, his skin was wrinkled and he could barely keep his eyes open.

"I don't feel very good Stacy. Can you help me?"

I squatted on my haunches so I could look him square in the eye. I needed to pay him the respect he was due.

"Unfortunately, even though you're a Dialysis pumpkin, Dialysis can't save you."

He sputtered and coughed until a minute amount of fake blood spit from his lips. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of powerlessness. There was nothing I can do.

"I'm going to say goodbye now Dialysis Pumpkin. You were one of my most proudest creations. I'll never forget you."

He paused for a moment until he gave me the best gift of all: his final words.

"Thank you for my life."

3 comments:

  1. Hi Stacy, WOW! saw ur pumpkin on IHD and that brought me here.
    I would love to borrow your "To acheive a realistic case study of what it truly means to be a Dialysis Patient, here's what I suggest you do:" to post on a living donor website. people are always asking me what its like for jenna. Please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Karol
    www.caringbridge.org/visit/jennafranks

    ReplyDelete
  2. That ... is exactly what I wanted to see, thank you.

    ReplyDelete