Saturday, July 31, 2010

So I was about six months old when they finally diagnosed the problem, and started me on the the long road to fix it. The first thing to do was to attack the massive infection now affecting both kidneys, secondly, because the function was found to be lacking in such a severe way, the doctors felt it best to reroute my urinary system to a stoma created on my abdomen for the purpose of getting rid of my waste. So I now had a "bag" fitted onto the stomach area which then collected the urine as it existed from the stoma surgically created by the doctors for this system of urination to work. The prognosis in the short term given to my parents was certainly rosier than it was back in Toledo, and I looked, acted, according to my mother as a soul who now wanted to be part of this body and life. The long term prognosis was quite a different matter. At that time long term survival for people with kidney failure was not good. Dialysis was not a welcome or long term prospect for anybody, and transplantation was still really new and really still in the science fiction category. Survival rates for transplants, even living donors with perfect genetic matches was around 75%. 

My parents, both young, 21 at the time, were to some degree overwhelmed but at the same time had a faith and a real hope that my life moving forward was now on the right track. The next years of my childhood would hold the full promise of the gifts my parents would give to me. I would live a full childhood and treat myself, and thus be treated by others as completely normal. Never to be thought of as sick in any way, the frequent visits to Cleveland, and the Clinic only reinforced the belief that I had of something special, and unique, not sad of scary. Furthermore, my parents were to remind all the staff I dealt with growing up there that I. and not they, was in fact the patient. The doctors were not to talk down, or whisper in condescension to me. Treat me like a real patient, who was responsible for my own care, and that's how I then looked at it myself. 

There would be many big decisions on the horizon as my kidney function would inevitably fall behind my growth and development. Someday lots of things, the kidneys, the bladder that had never been used would be on the agenda. But for the first ten years I have a childhood of friends, summer trips to Lake Michigan, school, football in the street, skinned knees, scrapped up faces, forts, Legos and hot wheels, kick the can in the moonlight, first kisses, and my cat Morgan. My health wasn't on hold, I held the life my parents wanted me to have and I really loved it. Things would not really change until around sixth grade.

1 comment:

Barbara Lardinais said...

Wow! This takes me back. How well I remember it all.