In my high school we rural kids would go out to a dark country road and get wasted. There was plenty of beer, usually I would have at least a twelve pack. We had weed, we had cocaine. When you couldn’t stand you could go sit in your car. Often a cheerleader, a quarterback or a big defensive tackle was right next to you. We were all bonding. There was a lot of love of living on that road. Soon we would graduate, go our separate ways, not realizing those were our glory days.
When a mans an empty kettle
He should be on his mettle
and yet I’m torn apart.
Just because I’m presumin
That I could be human
If I only had a kidney.
I’d be tender I’d be gentle
and awful sentimental
regarding love and art.
I’d be friends with the sparrows
and the boy who shoots the arrows,
If I only had a kidney.
Just to register emotion, jealousy, devotion
and really feel the part
I could stay young and chipper
and I’d lock it with a zipper
If I only had a kidney
Tales from Dialysis, part 3
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.
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.
Louie was my mother’s dog. When she died, Louie became my father’s dog. When Bob, my dad, went into assisted living, Louie became my dog. Every Tuesday I take Louie to see my dad. I also might take a couple chocolate éclairs.
You just have to enjoy life. My dad doesn’t say much. He can still devour an éclair very quickly.
The cycle of life and death continues all around me. The leaves fall and cover the grass that my father worked so hard for decades to maintain. Everybody who lives in this old house has to deal with the leaves falling down. It’s tempting to leave them there, but then the grass will die, and by March, the yard will be a brown muddy mess.
Although I don’t like the fall and winter, this year I am looking forward to sharing Thanksgiving with my roommate. We will see how many vegetarian dishes go well with gravy.
I have never been too thin.
I have never been too rich.
I have been so poor, life was a total bitch.
I’m a man who never found my niche.
You deal with the life you’re dealt, ’cause you sure can’t switch.