Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Unforseen Epiphany

Wisdom can shine in the strangest places imaginable.

Even from the lips of a veteran Dialysis tech.

I'm such a moody son-of-a-bitch when it comes to entering the clinic. Most days I'm trying not to imagine how much pain I'm going to endure for the next two hours, so I'm pretty quiet.

If you knew me in person, you'd realize this is very odd indeed.

Plus, it's what I do for a living.

Today I was feeling a little more jovial than usual, so as I placed my personal items in the exact same spots I always do (I'm Anal Retentive Boy) I sat down and prepared myself physically and mentally for the next two hours of urine, fluid and urea removal.

"I think I'm gonig to shave my Beard of Destiny. Since I dyed it it's starting to come in really gray."

Tilted Accent Tech was disappointed by this.

"Oh, why would you do that? In the Philippines gray hair is seen as something to be honored, not hidden."

"But this isn't America."

"So true."

Once the needles had invaded my arm and I counted the minutes until the lidocaine wore off, an Epiphany jumped from the shadows behind Old Moley Guy and pranced around near Farty Snorey Guy.

Every single gray hair that is infiltrating my skull and parading along my beard has been well earned.

Twenty five years ago in May my life was extended by my first kidney transplant. Because of good timing in the hands of fate, I wasn't born twenty years earlier when such technology made cameo appearances in science fiction novels.

I should be proud of the years I've managed to survive and welcome each lightened hair with a smile and a handshake.

For the last two years, and especially since the Beard of Destiny, I've been dying my hair and fooling everyone, especially myself.

But no more.

Over the years I've glanced at photos of my parents when they were a young couple just starting out and my Dad had salt and pepper hair in his early 40's. I imagine I'll look much the same in the next few years.

And I can't wait.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Four Painful Years and Counting

If you checked out my blog a little while ago you may remember that I railed against the UCSF Transplant Program due to their lack of enthusiasm for my presence on the Mysterious Transplant Waiting List.

It has been nearly two years since I've heard from their department. They had my address from three moves ago. Their response to my calling to update my files was, "Why are you calling?"

That's the kind of attitude you get from a know-it-all high school student whose Mommy and Daddy won't hand over the trust fund until they suffer in the private sector.

From what I understand in talking to numerous individuals is that the turnover rate in departments such as this is quite high due to burnout.

I guess I can understand that dilemma. Having to acquire the same information from people who don't always understand the process of gaining a kidney can be frustrating.

But finally, success!

I received a letter...actually two copies of the same letter, requesting three rather annoying tests.

1. TB Test

I haven't left the country, much less my neighborhood in the last six months. The chance of me possessing TB is quite minimal. They inject a little slice of God knows what under your skin and two days later see if it swells.

2. Blood in Feces Test

I remember vividly before my second transplant I became really sick due to an infection. The doctor had to check my rectum to check for blood. She asked me once, twice and then again asking what type of drugs I'm using.

Except for a little Vicodin love, I've never abused drugs. Never. Not even pot. I'm an old school nerd who grew up with too many health problems to even consider drug abuse.

After the third time I told her if she asked me again there would be trouble. She never said another word.

Getting a sample of my own feces is not something I do on a regular basis. I've actually developed quite a phobia to performing Number 2. So gaining a sample is no easy task.

I'd detail what this entails but the entire tale is quite taling.

Results are still pending, but I'm pretty sure this will come out okay.

So to speak.

3. Echocardiogram

Except for three different women in the last three weeks who had no desire to bask in the presence of your truly, my heart should be fine.

My workouts have been going smashingly (to quote a Dialysis friend of mine). Fifteen minutes on the Cross Trainer. Ten minutes on the Stair Master. Fifteen minutes on the Stationary Bike. Another twenty minutes on my best friend Mr. Treadmill. Some light weight training of every muscle group in the body.

Two years ago I had an Echo and surprised the entire staff. Since I'm on Dialysis I'm assumed to be sickly and weak. They hooked up all the necessary equipment and the started the treadmill. Faster and faster with a higher incline. I was sweating, but I wasn't breathing heavy.

I appreciated their shock. It proves that some days I'm kicking Dialysis square in the nether regions.

My only question for the Transplant Staff Member is concerning insurance. I have Medicare and insurance through my health care provider, so I'm wondering how much I'll have to endure financially to pay for the transplant.

To be perfectly honest, I had pretty much given up hope of every receiving a kidney. I figured I was doomed to life at Dialysis for the remainder of my days.

Given the chance to allow my thoughts to wander into the neighborhood of Kidney Transplant: the 2nd Sequel, I have a difficult time wondering what life was before I was tied to the Evil Machine.

I wouldn't mind finding out again.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Time to Check the Stacy Radio E-Mail Bag

I just realized how dopey "E-Mail Bag" is, but it's post-Dialysis and I'm too tired to go back and type something more catchy and in tune with today's young people.

Every once in a great while a very sweet e-mail arrives in my inbox that is complimentary and reminds me that people are actually listening. I've mentioned before how the IQ of the average listener drops exponentially the moment they dial up a radio station. Believe it or not, live people still do answer the phone at the radio station.

At least the high quality, caring ones do.

I arrived at work today to this mutual admiration society e-mai:

So, you are going to have to forgive me, this is the first time that I have ever taken the time to E-mail a person from a radio station... usually the radio is just a means to an end while driving either short or long distances, minus all that talking in between :) However, working in an office listening to the annoying click of the computer, I have wisely invested in a radio and love to listen to your station, that is whenever there aren't cell phones going off around me and everything gets drowned out by the annoying sound of static.

I have listened to you for a long time now, and really enjoy when you come on in the afternoons. You have great things to say, and I love the questions that you ask in the afternoon, makes me actually stop and think for a minute. You have mentioned several times about your dialysis and having to go and sit and get your medicine and everything, but I never really stopped to think about it.

Tonight I needed to come on and do some work and so I recently learned how to tune into the station online and can work and sing along.. not all that well, but it passes the time and gets the job done. Tonight though i wasn't looking forward to working, so i clicked on your image.. very cute by the way :) and realized that you had a Bio about yourself and couldn't resist reading.

While you are quirky and i little nerdy... come on.. Star Trek... you're killing me! You also seem like a really nice guy that has had his ups and downs but all in all has a great outlook on life. I am sure that you have heard it often enough, and i am sure the last thing you need is your ego inflated, but i just wanted to let you know that the little information that you gave about yourself really showed a lot about what kind of person you are. I think that you are a really strong person, that has had a few bumps and bruises with the cards life has dealt you, but ever time i hear you on the radio you always sound up beat and happy, even if you aren't.

I just wanted to take a moment out to let you know that i had read about you and what i thought.. you're cute, you sound sexy, you're funny, and a little dorky and nerdy.. but it's endearing :)
Hopefully after reading this, you're not too offended and by this time may even have a slight smile on your face. If you get the chance i would love to hear from you again, otherwise, please know i enjoy listening to you every afternoon!

Have a great night!

H...

In responding to an e-mail such as this, you have to be careful. Cordial can quickly morph into stalker and next thing you know it's after hours and someone's using a sledgehammer to break the glass to get in to meet you.

But that's another radio story for another day.

At the very least, comments like these remind me that there are actually living breathing masses of protoplasm out there who actually hear my dopey little comments between the songs.

I speak, I get paid and I have a helluva lot of fun in the process.

It's also nice to hear "you're cute" every couple of years or so.