Last night was the 3 year anniversary of my kidney failure. If you haven’t heard the story, I wrote about it for World Kidney Day here.
A question I get asked a lot is “How are you doing?”. I hate that question. Nobody really wants more than a one word answer, and the truth is… it’s complicated. For the most part, I’m doing really well. Transplant is doing well. I’m moving forward in my life. I have a really cute cat.
But, here’s the thing with chronic conditions… nobody prepares you for the chronic part. It’s also really difficult for well meaning people to fully understand why certain things are they way they are for you.
These are some things that are now a regular part of my life that is really difficult to articulate in regular conversation.
Salt Sensitivity One of the first things I had to do when my kidneys went kaput was severely cut my sodium intake. After not eating salty things for a significant portion of time, my taste-buds forgot that flavor existed. Now, things go from bland to WAY TO SALTY with a few grains of added salt. Which really sucks, because food tastes better salted, it just makes my mouth feel like the Dead Sea.
Super High Pain ToleranceThis might be a TMI/WTF story and I kinda don’t care. Immediately post failure, I was put on hemodialysis with the full intention to move to peritoneal dialysis within 6 weeks. This means I had a chest port that went in to my heart for treatment until they stabilized my condition, were able to put a tube in my stomach, and let that heal up for use.
When I started using the stomach tube, I didn’t need the chest port anymore. So, they numbed me with a few shots of local anesthetic and PULLED THE FUCKER RIGHT OUT. They pulled a plastic tube out of my heart with just a numbing shot and then just slapped a band-aid on top.
Nothing hurts me anymore.
The Zero to Sixty Illness SituationThis has been my current life… if I get sick, I get fucking SICK. I have had 3 minor illnesses in the past 3 months and ended up hospitalized for two of them. It’s a very frustrating new fact of my life that even if I do all the right things, something like a sinus infection will turn in to a potentially serious situation in a matter of hours. Which leads beautifully to my next point…
Unsolicited and Dangerous “Health” AdviceYour essential oils aren’t gonna do shit for me. I can not “cure” myself with a raw fruit diet or MLM supplements. That new juice blend you want me to drink has starfruit in it and that will kill my transplanted kidney. I guarantee that you don’t know as much about my condition as I do, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if you know as much as my transplant team does.
I’m looking at you random hometown acquaintance who keeps FB messaging me to buy your crap.
The “Fuck It” Personality TraitThis is kinda my favorite “new” change. I do not care about so much now. Or, maybe to put it better, I don’t have time to care about stupid shit anymore. It’s extremely freeing to know that I can just say “fuck it” and either do the things or not do the things. Alternatively, I also tend to say “fuck it” to the things that maybe I shouldn’t a lot more…
There’s no real happy wrap-up in a neat package for this reflection… 3 years later and here we are.
How are you? Alive.