I’m in the Land of Overwhelm and Can’t Get Out

Where, oh, where have I been for the last several days, you ask. Well, I spent nine days in the hospital over various things, none of them related to my kidney disease, and a couple of them happened because I was in the hospital. Go figure.

Since the beginning of June I have not felt well. At all. I went to urgent care two days in a row. Finally, their blood work on me produced a diagnosis. I had a staph infection of the blood. And I thought I had a whopping kidney infection – and after all of this, that would be a truly trivial deal.

Once I got to the hospital, though, there were a couple days of loading me with antibiotics. Then, the morning I was going to go home – only a couple days later – they ran another test and said I needed to stay and have a second, more detailed scan. Now, I not only had a staph infection but I had a cluster of bacteria growing around my heart valve – called “vegetation.” And I can never think of the name, so I usually say I have a bloom. Sounds better.

Then I was losing blood internally – to the point that I needed to have several units of blood. My first transfusion. I was kind of hesitant to do this because it changes the antigens in my blood that will be matched for a transplant. So – now I’m different. I have seven different people’s blood in me. I wonder if I will take on different traits? And finally the hospital fixed the bleeding problem.

At one point they told me I might have to have open heart surgery. Then they said, no – the hole in my heart is tiny and something I was born with.

You know it’s got to be pretty bad when the chaplain comes in and says a prayer for you.

It led me to ponder attitude. Attitude is everything – but I could feel myself losing my grip on my positive attitude. I was thinking, “oh, dear, I could die.” And then I was trying to unring the bell by trying to erase that thought. You know, the whole, you-are-what-you-think deal. I’d press my lips together and try to think of something else.

It’s truly amazing how your reaction will domino to your partner. Every piece of news we got, we’d stoically sit there – both of us thinking – this is really bad. Both of us in a daze, as I went from one diagnosis to a worse diagnosis.

At the end of my stay, I seriously looked for cameras for “House.” I was an episode of “House” where this would go wrong, that test would show something else, another thing would go wrong – only not through a one-hour episode, but through several days.

We all get a lot of “stuff” on our individual plates. Some of us have a disease. Some of us have cancer. Some of us have kidney failure. If the Keeper of the Disease of the Week held your plate out in front of you and said, “Here, you can have THIS on your plate, or you can have THAT on your plate. Your choice,” well, I would be content to just keep my kidney failure, thank you very much. But there are others who have additional things – like Diabetes. Or cancer. And you think to yourself, wait a minute! My plate is full! I don’t need any more diseases. But some people just have more than their share.

I am so grateful to be home and not in a hospital bed. After this is all over (six weeks of daily antibiotic treatments), I’ll try to beef myself up for my next item on my “plate” and that is to have my left kidney removed because it contains a suspicious looking cyst.

My writing is decidedly boring – but this way I connect with all my friends so they know what’s happening to me.