“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.
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.
Dialysis changes you both physically and mentally. The vein in my left bicep has been altered to carry large amounts of blood. This is my access, or fistula. Before the nurses stick needles in my arm, I like to ask them if they think my fistula makes my muscle look bigger. The nursing staff at dialysis, mostly young women, have helped me mentally. Sometimes instead of reading or watching TV, I just stare at the nurses. I always tell them when I am leaving that it was nice looking at you.
She was getting ready to stick big needles in my arm. She asked me if I had smoked pot before I came in. She said, “Your eyes are bloodshot, you smell like pot, and you haven’t stopped talking since you sat down.” I asked if she also worked for the FBI or the city police. I told her nicely that what I do in the privacy of my own home is confidential. She stuck the needles in, and I think it may have hurt more than it normally does.
I think more clearly when I am stoned. The trouble is, a good buzz lasts me, at the most, a half hour. Then I revert back to my quiet, slow thinking self.
In the last six months I have suffered some serious health issues and my life has changed dramatically. Now my favorite cocktail is a vodka and Miralax. Two of these concoctions and I’m right where I want to be–in the bathroom.
My diet has changed too. I am now low carb, low protein, and low flavor. For dinner last night I had roast celery. I splurged for dessert and had a teaspoon of probiotic yogurt with a hint of agave necter on top.
Dr. B. M. Smoothy turned my life around when I was backed up for ten days. The end result was explosive. It let me know that when life gets stinky, you need a good doctor. God bless this doctor, his nurses and a receptionist.
Tired black men and senior citizens in wheelchairs all looking very drained. These are my Dialysis clinic buddies.
“Mr. Lebherz, I’m going to stick you today.” The technician is ready to go. She pushes two needles into my arm. They are the size of small nails with tubes attached. The cleaning process has started. I sit for the next four hours. Four hours of reading, television, and looking around the room at my buddies who look like they are ready to pass out or kick the bucket.
The nurse at my cardiologist turned her back to me and said, “Stephen, please take your pants off.”
It was then I realized I had worn a pair of underwear that was decades old. This nurse was quite attractive and these underwear made me look the opposite of sexy.
“Stephen get up on the examining table I need to check your femoral artery for blood flow.”
I hop up on the table not letting her see the back of my underwear, which might make her think I am unclean. She put a small sheet over me and when she smoothed it out she accidentally touched a strategic area of my body. When I was leaving I told her this was one of the best doctors visits I have ever had.