Thursday, April 14, 2011

It is time, after a long, long, layoff, for another entry on the long and winding road of my personal medical history. I started this set of entries in the blog in order that persons who may not know why or how I am on dialysis, waiting for a kidney transplant, it came to be that I am in this position.

The last entry on my history was in the late spring and early summer of 1983, I had just received my first kidney transplant at the Cleveland Clinic from my Mother and was after an initial surge of tremendous new health and emotion, was experiencing the first ominous signs that things were not working out as hoped.

June of 1983 brought about more bad news as the numbers were indicating a full blown rejection of the kidney. With my birthday on the 25th of June I found myself in the hospital again getting pumped full of steroids trying to reverse the rejection of my new kidney. I also recall finding myself in a room next to a jovial rotund middle aged man who befriended me and my family through this rather intense time. This was not the first, nor close to the last that I can recall someone drifting into my life for a given short time, during specific events, who acted, to some degree as the finger that points at the moon. Not the moon itself, but a pointer to where and how things needed to be. Regardless of the large difference in our ages, and our medical situations we bonded quickly and a remember his smile, warmth, and humor, while I very reluctantly began to embrace the terrifying reality of the transplant not working out and what and the hell was really going to happen.

I was aware at some very abstract level at that time that death was part of the deal here, but it never held any relevance to me. I had known of a little boy, from Turkey, whom I had met the year before who had passed away, but that simply meant I did not see him around any more, just like coming or going from the hospital itself. There was the hospital life, and the life you lived at home. They did not mean anything. Only being well, not needing to go back, and living at home was real. But things were getting more real all the time as options that summer were becoming limited, I was clearly sicker, and the life I thought I was going back to wasn't there to embrace me. I even was in the local hospital during the most important time for me and my family that there was every year... during our annual trip to Lake Michigan. Thank god for my kidney doctor who had known me and my family for years, and who shared the same special affinities for Lake Michigan do to his family having a cottage of his own just north of where my family had been going for a couple of generations, he ordered, after I was stabilized (enough) that I be allowed to leave and join my family on vacation. Dunes, sand, sun, lake, and family love at that time was more powerful than any drug regimen I could have had put through an IV.

Even though time was to some degree bittersweet, my doctors belief in something so unscientific taught me a lot that I would carry for all my life.

The end of summer brought a truly failing kidney, barely stable enough, but enough for me to start Junior High. A very strange looking little boy was walking into a very scary place that fall, a school, which at the time was one of the largest two grade junior high's in the country, and with a very uncertain prognosis on how long I was going to be there.

Next in the medical history; the fall of 1983, and getting really sick.

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