She is Irish, a beauty with red hair. I say, “You are the prettiest flower in this garden,” as I look around the clinic with 20 more women milling about.
“Thank you, that was nice.”
Last week she told me that she was going through a nasty separation. I think she might be rich. I have a girlfriend, but I always keep my options open. I am not the man I once was, but I am as good once as I ever was.
In April I will turn 60. Hell, I am still waiting for puberty to wrap up. I have loved–it was mostly for animals–humans and dogs. When I was younger I smelled fresher, but now PU.
If my health insurance gets canceled that’s it. I am going to take 40 Ambien, sixteen shots of Tequila, eat 1 lb of bad sushi, then eat two whole Dominos large pizzas with extra cheese and four toppings. If that doesn’t kill me nothing will. I just hope I don’t wake up from that.
Doctor, sometimes I just want to go ahead and kick the bucket. I have no purpose. I don’t even feel like making whoopee anymore, not with my girlfriend anyway.
Stephen, you are too much. You are eating too much. And not exercising too much. Your purpose in life for at least the next two years is to get in shape for your kidney transplant. Sure, the last two years have been tough, and you have to be tougher. Get in shape. Take your meds. Fight for your life.
Thank you, Doctor, how much do I owe you? Somebody call 911– I’m having a heart attack.
“Do you feel OK?” The nurse was staring at me. I had barely finished my stress test. I stumbled off the treadmill. I was apparently white as a ghost. I had a pain in my chest. I started burping. The nurse went for the doctor. She had seen something in the data she was watching. The doctor came in the room. “Are you experiencing any chest pain?” she asked. I wanted to lie. I told them I had indigestion and burped. The doctor looked at the data. Her expression was one of concern. Another heart catheterization is ordered. Another set back on the road to recovery. I must be the warrior again. One day at a time.
“Hello Mr. Lebherz, follow me. I am Dr. Ping Pyong.” I shook his hand, entered his office. My girlfriend came behind me which made me worry that I might have to take my clothes off with the lights on.
“I am chief of Kidney Transplant surgery. Could you loosen your pants and lie back on the examining table? Do you have diabetes?” he asked. Yes, for 25 years, for many years, my blood sugar was out of control. I still eat cookies.
He said he needed to check the pulse in my pelvis. He stuck his hand in my pants and lay it flat right next to my special parts. I told my girlfriend to close her eyes, which the doctor found amusing. I made another astute comment that I thought my pulse was in my wrist. I looked at my girlfriend and rolled my eyes as if I was enjoying this. Unfortunately my body is big, my special part is not. If he moved his hand just slightly to the right he would feel this. I broke out into a sweat. He removed his hand and with a frown said your pulse is weak. Strangely, my girlfriend said she already knew this. She was frowning too. I just can’t win these days.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I go into a room with 32 recliners. The people in these chairs are missing feet and legs, and some are missing their minds. Some are old and near death. You sit, a technician sticks inch long needles in a surgery enhanced vein in your arm. A machine runs all the blood in your body seven times through a man-made kidney. After four hours you can go home, dizzy, drained, and thinking fuzzy until the next morning. You have to accept this. Some people give up and stop treatments. They will die within weeks. I thought life would be unbearable. I am actually happier now than before dialysis. I enjoy the small things in life more. Sunshine, my dogs’ wagging tails, my girlfriend’s laughter, a couple strong drinks, good music…the list goes on. Life goes on, thank God.
Eman is black, sixteen-years-old with Downs Syndrome. When they stick the dialysis needles in his arm he yells out, “God damn that hurts!”
We would all yell that if it weren’t for our pride. He yells this out once for each needle, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I know because I sit across the room from him. The nurses tease him. He yells back, “Shut up, Grandma!”
He wants to marry Beyoncé. He likes the Cowboys. He once groped the red headed nurse’s rear end and she had to pry herself loose. He does things I would like to do. God damn that hurts.