Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sufferin' Succotash (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Accept Dialysis)

Dialysis slithered into my clinic with a twinkle in his eye and a sly grin on his face.

You see, Dialysis had been lying low for quite some time. My arm hadn't burned in weeks. I was actually feeling somewhat refreshed after my appointment and felt as though I could manage a four hour air shift without lying on the floor during the commerical breaks.

But that all changed today.

It started with an elderly lady in a nearby chair who I had never seen before.

It was either her first historical appointment, or she was new to our clinic.

Either way, she was doomed.

Thirty minutes into my session, Dialysis snuck up on her and clamped his pointy, stained teeth into her Dialysis access.

"I'm suffering, I'm suffering," was all her tired body could mutter.

"I don't want to suffer like this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore."

This is a mantra I've heard before and it sends a chill through my soul.

According to contemporary medical rules, when it comes right down to it and all you have remaining is the truth of your condition, legally you can sign a piece of paper and be done with the whole process.

Most elderly people who make this difficult decision pass within a week.

It's sad, but I understand.

Especially today.

Dialysis is a true student of the art of acting. He slicked back his hair, adorned his frail frame with a lab coat and applied spectacles to his yellowed eyes.

He sauntered around the clinic with his hands clasped behind his back, a sly grin the only hint to what he was planning.

And then he struck.

My entire body started to boil. I could barely breathe. I wanted to leap from my skin.

I finally managed to get one of the tech's attention and requested some oxygen.

They laid me back in my chair as Dialysis started to tease me with small cramps in my chest, jaw and groin.

I clenched my teeth and my vision blurred. The room started to spin.

The last image I remember before mometarily blacking out was Dialysis flinging off his lab coat, throwing his glasses to the floor and cackling mightily as he pranced around my chair.

"AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! SUFFER BOY WONDER! SUFFER!!"

As the oxygen started to infiltrate my system and the machine was placed in pause, I could see Dialysis gain in mass. He towered over me as every feature on his face grew.

Dialysis was ecstatic, but only for the next few moments.

My body temperature started to cool down and my blood pressure returned to normal.

Dialysis started to frown and quickly glanced around in anticipation of what was about to happen.

As he shrank back to normal size, his sinister smile returned and before he slithered away he whispered into my ear...

"What's the point?"

His newly frail body sank into the shadows behind my Dialysis machine as I scrambled for an answer.

And at that very moment, as I struggled to gain some fathom of composure, I realized I didn't have one.

The realization of my situation became regrettably clear.

Dialysi has already won.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Magically Craptastic

That is how I describe 2006 so far.

After filling in for the morning show during the holidays and working myself to delirious exhaustion, I gave in and took a week vacation.

Of course, my definition of a vacation has altered in the last couple of years.

Mostly I've just been lying down all week.

And vomiting all over an offramp sign on 101.

Ever since last Saturday, some disturbing symptoms (or side effects, depending on your point of view) have been creeping into my system and they make me fearful of what Dialysis will metamorphasize me into in 2006.

I was traveling back from Petaluma (where the rednecks were restless at the local Safeway) and I could feel it bubbling deep in my intestinal tract.

I had been nauseous for most of the evening, but had mostly ignored it as I hung out with friends.

It was about 10:30pm and I couldn't fight it any longer. I quickly pulled up to the East Washington road sign off 101 and quickly pulled my truck to a complete stop. I turned off the engine so none of the interior lights would illuminate what I was about to do.

This was near the end of the floods we've been blessed with lately here in Northern California, so the end of the pavement that segued into the dirt was really slippery. I was about to fall into the mud when I caught myself on the road sign and puked all over the wooden post holding the left side erect.

Over and over it came, waves of Diet Pepsi and peppermint candy. My stomach acid had dissolved most of it, but it burned my throat and caused me to sputter and cough miserably.

As I was finishing, I raised my body and was caught in the headlights of a huge lifted truck.

They started honking their horn and one of the rednecks shouted in my direction.

"Clean up your mess fucker!"

Some people hate hippies, others despise Republicans.

I loathe rednecks and they seem to breed like rabbits here in Sonoma County.

Whether the preceding incident is related to my present condition, I cannot truly say.

All I know is that my heart hurts.

My potassium level is fine and I don't have problems breathing. But lately, before I leave Dialysis my heart rate is between 150 and 160 beats per minute.

This happens when too much fluid is pulled off the body. The heart can't deal with the pressure and begins to beat frantically.

I've been coughing on and off today and every time I do, a sharp pain washes over my heart, reminding me just how fragile my health status truly is.

Mix that together with extreme fatigue and you have the recipe for a crappy vacation.

I can be thankful for small blessings though. If I had to go to work this week, I would have spent numerous minutes on the floor gasping for energy while I clutched my Steeler pillow.

And that would have just been wrong.

Checking the scoreboard, I have 363 "chances" to make this a better year and increase the chances of having a new and improved Stacy.

But first I need a nap.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My Favorite Greek Goddess

We met merely by chance three years ago.

The first night we must have talked for eight hours straight. About anything and everything.

To this day, we still do. And I still have a little crush on her. I've told her so, and I realize this gives her all the power, but I don't care.

She's adorable. Short raven hair, full lips and beautiful bright eyes that give away the truth of all the suffering she has endured.

When you think you have it bad, there's always at least one other person who has it worse.

My Greek Goddess lost her second kidney transplant due to medical error and she's been paying for it ever since.

What one needs to realize is that everyone who must endure Dialysis on a weekly basis reacts differently. And to different degrees.

Overall, in retrospect, Dialysis has been very kind to me. I still struggle to work full time, but I am still employed and continuing as best I can.

My Greek Goddess hasn't been so fortunate.

She has a catheter that is starting to clog, so her Dialysis treatments haven't been as strong as they could be.

I can speak from experience when I say this robs you of any ability to function normally and you can't wait to try again at your next treatment appointment.

Hoping, praying that you receive the best Dialysis possible.

Now with a New Year looming, she's just been informed that her disability is in jeopardy.

She is one of the strongest, most intelligent women I've ever been blessed to know, but she called me in tears today.

Whenever I hear her cry, I can feel my stomach caving in on itself. I want to slap on a cape, blue tights and fly to her rescue.

But I'm no superhero.

I am travelling to visit her tomorrow in hopes of giving her support and reassurance that everything is going to be ok.

Whenever I see her, I want to give her a big hug, but I can't.

Every muscle in her body screams for relief. Every incision beckons for silence.

So a true, meaningful Stacy Hug can never happen.

What do you do for someone you care so much for, but has so much suffering looming over her every single day?

If you have an answer, I'd pay to hear it.

Good night and take care my favorite Greek Goddess.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Official 2006 Stacy New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions are dopey, self-defeating fits of grandeur that usually only last for about the first eighteen days of the year, on average.

Which is why I felt it necessary to come up with a list of them for myself.

Please hold your applause and laughter until the end of the post.

Thank you.

1. I RESOLVE TO FIND A NEW JOB

Deep within the recesses of my soul is a warm, fuzzy place for Radio. It has been a huge slice of my life that I have devoured since I was a healthy young boy. When my family would go camping, every night we would listen to the mysteries on the radio. My Dad would usually fall asleep after the first few characters were introduced, but I was captivated.

Once again, when the medical appointments began to steal my youth on trips back and forth the the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, I would smile every so often at Frank & Mike in the Morning on KNBR.

Frank has since retired from broadcasting and Mike has his own syndicated food & travel show with his wife, but I can still remember waiting for their benchmark characters and moments of hilarity that would make the drive in to the city a little less traumatic.

So once I began college, it didn't take long for me to make my way to KDVS and volunteer enough hours to warrant my own radio show. It was from 3-6am once a week, but I didn't care. I was starting to live the dream and I couldn't have been happier.

It's 15 years later and the last ten I've spent in broadcasting. It only seems like work when I'm overwhelmed and have too many tasks and not enough hours.

But since Dialysis has come along, I've begun to rexamine everything, including my love for this industry.

I've worked extremely hard and sacrificed too much to chance careers. What I believe my gut is telling me is that I need a new locale to renergize my soul.

Which is why I'm spending part of my vacation this week rebuilding my less than meaty resume.

I say that only because I glance at it with fresh eyes and see that it hasn't been as well written as it could be.

I have the experience and skills. They just need to simmer together in my mind to create a resume that will give my career a second chance.

Whether that's in front of or behind the mic remains to be seen.


2. I RESOLVE TO DIVE HEAD FIRST INTO THE DATING POOL

I'm beginning to notice a trend here when it comes to women in the Sonoma County area. They usually fall into one of the following categories:

a. They're clinically obese.

I travel all over the Bay Area and one fact is clear: statistically Sonoma County has more fat people per capita. I'm not sure why this is, it's just my observational opinion.

And don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with larger women. But keep in mind, on a heavy fluid day, I barely tip the scales at 125lbs. I need someone that's going to be emotionally AND physically compatible.

Plus, women of larger sizes are always telling me they wish they had my figure.

Huh? Whuh? You want to look like the poster child for anorexia? You want to have A-cup breasts?

Sheesh.

b. They're frightened of my condition.

Everything could be going fantastic, we could have great chemistry and a lot of laughter all night long. Things are grooving along, we start to make out and her hand somehow manages to grasp my upper left arm where my Dialysis graft is.

(Lusty making out sounds.)

"Uumermmmummmwaitaminute what the hell is that?"

She jumps back a little and flattens her back against my truck door.

I look her straight in the eye and spill the truth all over the front of her low hanging blouse.

"Eww, why didn't you tell me? That's gross. I don't want to be on Dialysis."

I look away and try and explain that you can't catch my condition by any means.

When I turn my head back the car door is slammed in my face.

Sigh.

c. Most single women my age have kids.

This again is not a problem, just an observation. And it seems a majority of the time their ex-husband (or boyfriend, as the case may be) treated them like dirt so they have no idea how to relate to someone who plants them somewhat higher.

3. I RESOLVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE MORE

I have fallen into an incredibly boring rut where I spend most of my free time resting or napping.

This allows my demons Herbie and Lester to fester, gain strength and chip away at my self esteem.

I don't have to tell you how destructive this can be.

I miss ordinary mundane activities like shopping, eating out and going to shows and movies.

With a little more effort, and a little better health, this one should be easy.

4. I RESOLVE TO HAVE MORE NAKED TIME

I use the phrase "naked time" in lieu of more descriptive (and less classy) terms like "fucking", "getting laid" and "fuck, I need to get laid."

I have 364 more chances to accomplish the above resolutions completely and without regret.

Wish me luck.