Friday, March 12, 2010

Glomerulonephritis: The Musical

As the final guests envelope their seats, they have no idea they are about to bare witness to something extraordinary, finite and beautiful.

Whether you believe the theater to be nostalgic or classic, it doesn't matter. It dates back to an earlier time, when stage performances were fully appreciated.

But for now, the lights have dimmed and an eerie silence blankets the audience into submission.

Before anyone can catch their breath, a single, solitary spotlight fills the middle of the stage.

It is white and bright and gives life to our setting.

The curtain opens to find the stage empty, soulless. Except for a single, generic hospital bed.

To the left of this metaphoric coffin, an IV pole with a fluid bag dangling helplessly from the top.

Cradling the right, an EKG monitor with a screen large enough for the entire audience to see the large chromatic BLIP dotting the video's landscape.

The figure lying perilously in the bed, his upper torso angled up thirty degrees, is STACY WITHOUT AN E.

A low hum can be heard emanating from the orchestra for what seems like an eternity.

No movement. The mood is uneasy.

Slowly, and effortlessly, STACY'S torso rises from the bed, resting in a position perpendicular to the bed.

The spotlight moves upward from where it had been placed the entire time, the bottom portion of the bed, to reveal the face of our protagonist.

His eyes, closed. The face, unremarkable.

In perfect falsetto, he begins.

(slow and deliberate)

The bed slowly wheels itself, along with the accompanying equipment, to the front of the stage.

The orchestra begins to follow the syllables, using as few instruments as possible.

(slightly faster now, still in falsetto)

It will stake your day.

STACY flings off his hospital assigned blankets and slidSe off the audience's right side of the bed.

The BLIP of the EKG begins to increase in speed, if only slightly.


Its a curse, not a blessing.

STACY moves in front of the bed and we observe that he's only wearing a hospital gown. His upper left arm is wrapped tightly with gauze and its soaked with blood. He motions toward the reddened part of his arm.


Just take a glance at this rude dressing.

The orchestra begins to slide all their instruments together, building toward an inevitable crescendo.

The full stage lights rise to reveal a giant, six foot tall, fully formed DIALYSIS FILTER to the left of STACY, beginning to dance to the full musical power of the band.


My body's filled with hurt!

From the right side of the stage dances an equally giant, six foot tall, fully formed HYPODERMIC NEEDLE. All we can see of each character is the lower portion of their legs, jutting out from their bodies, dancing in sync with the music.


How long before I'm dirt!?

As STACY danced in unison with the characters on stage, he spins around to reveal the back of his hospital gown.

And the fact the he's not wearing anything underneath.

The continual BLIP of the EKG is keeping in pace with the music as joy and despair fuse into one incredible, unified dance.


You'll wish for cool, clean Death!

Suddenly, two six foot tall, fully formed KIDNEY'S enter from each side of the stage.


You'll beg for your last breath!

STACY instantly stops dancing.

The TWO KIDNEYS, once dancing with the DIALYSIS FILTER and HYPODERMIC NEEDLE, have pushed them forward into the orchestra. The instruments create a voluminous crashing sound, bringing the entire show to a halt.

As STACY begins to crawl back into bed, the TWO KIDNEYS dance slowly, arm in arm. The EKG BLIP returns in sound to a body fully at rest.

Its beautiful and shocking simultaneously.

(his voice returning to falsetto)

It has stolen my life.

The TWO KIDNEYS cease dancing arm and arm, both falling by the wayside, taking the stage floor as the bed moves to the rear of the stage. STACY is now back to his earlier position, blankets covering his now frail form. The spotlight turns from bright white, to deep red.


I'll never meet my kids and wife.

STACY leans back into bed as the EKG BLIPS for the final time.

Curtain falls.


  1. Well, it ain't gonna win a Tony Award, but it's your truth and pain, and you sing it loud and clear. Wish I could fix it but I also wish I could fix my own dialysis woes, too.

    Just want you to know I hear you and can empathize, for what it's worth.

  2. As a 20 year old on dialysis through g'nephritis... how much I can relate!