I noticed his color was bad. White as a ghost. They lifted him out of his wheelchair. They placed him in the chair next to me. I stopped looking. I could hear him talking. They had trouble getting his needles in. Ten minutes later his machine alarmed. The technician yelled for the nurse. Looking at him, then looking at his machine numbers, she yelled for the head nurse. That’s when I looked again. He looked dead. They tried to revive him for fifteen minutes. Then the rescue crew tried for another fifteen minutes. You can die that fast. Enjoy life.
The needles are turning my once perfect arm into a freakish, deformed, bumpy scar. The constant increased blood flow to that part of my body is hurting blood flow to my brain and other important organs. After a treatment my thinking is fuzzy. Then a puff of the medicinal and I don’t care anymore until morning.
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.
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.
“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.