The Cycle of Life

I was leaving for work this morning, and just caught a glimpse of something on the roadway behind me. A well-fed, cared for gray cat lay dead in the middle of the road.

I ran back to Mechanic Man and said - "There's a gray cat in the road - I think it's Chowder." Chowder is the kitty next door that stands in our yard and stares at us, never letting us get too close, just close enough to almost pet him, and he darts away. I've been trying for years to coax him into letting me pet him - but he's convinced that I will only maul him instead. Probably this is true.

We went back and looked, not closely, but enough. I turned away towards my car and started bawling! Chowder - who never let me pet him. It broke my heart.

About a mile down the road, Mechanic Man called and said the neighbors had both their cats: Chowder and Jasmine, alive and healthy and sleeping on the couch.

"O, good!" I said, still crying. "So I cried for some strange cat." (sob)

Mechanic Man paused and finally said, "Well, yeah - that was a kind thing for you to do, for the cat whose owner doesn't know."

So I cried some more for a pet that someone has lost, like once happened to me - and I always wondered what happened to her. Maybe somebody cried for her, in my place.


I'm Coming Back

I’m coming back around – slowly. Now that I have made the step to actually go on dialysis, the fear and dread has gone away. It’s really not a big deal! I get up, brush my teeth, get dressed, go to work, head out to dialysis, get hooked up, sit still for three and a half hours (and THAT is the hardest thing I have to do), go home, fix dinner, watch tv with Mechanic Man, and feel better than I have in months. I’m not up to snuff yet – and have had a couple set backs, because I was seriously being poisoned by toxins. It will take a while to get that all out.

In the mean time, my dialysis clinic is setting up dialysis for me in Orlando next week. By then I should feel much more perky and will enjoy the sights and sounds of Disney World and Epcot.

The gals I am traveling with have been watching over me like hawks. I get sporadic telephone calls from one or all four of them, asking me how I’m feeling today, if I’ve packed for our trip, if the dialysis is working. Just now received the second call from Kathy. We have a mutual friend who lives outside of Orlando – Art is close to all the other gals having met them at Alcoholics Anonymous for Spouses. They bonded, started skiing together, becoming deep confidants of all things weird with being single parents, dating, marrying, divorcing – Art and the girls stuck with each other through thick and thin. He will drive me to my dialysis appointments. Hallelujah! One less detail to worry about.

So – see – this just isn’t a bad thing at all.


Going down the drain

Welcome to DialysisLand, best described as a room full of people needing to have their blood washed and toxins removed, all in a sterile setting with the humming of machines, swooshing of nurses (who call themselves techs), and the background sound of water whirling down the drains, washing those bad toxins into the sewer system.

We patients are simply required to sit still for three and a half hours or longer, while all this scientific wonderland of activity drills past us, ticking, ticking the time down to when we get “unplugged”.

It starts with us getting “plugged in.” The tech and her co-workers go through a flurry of sanitation procedures, putting on gloves for one thing, whipping them off, putting on a new set for the next step of exposing my “access site” (direct line to my heart for all my frenemies’ handy knowledge), masks go on (on me too), something is fiddled with, gloves go off, new set goes on, more fiddling, as I divert my gaze to something benign, like the ceiling lights (because if I take my gaze anywhere else, I see other people, other machines, other techs, gloves going off, going on). So I look at the ceiling lights, while Heparin is flushed in my two access sites, then blood is drawn for lab work (first time EVER that I’m not poked), and finally my lines protruding from my access site are snapped onto lines going into the dialysis machine and the wheels start turning, my blood effortlessly leaves my body to go on its own little cruise, taking with it excess fluids, nasty toxins, and anything else I could do without.

After your “run time” is done, the tech does a reverse of the sanitation process, not as many gloves, but still the flurry of fingers, clicking through different tubes and connections, until finally you are officially unplugged. And after all that medically miraculous activity, you simply walk out the door to your car, stop at the store for groceries, and go home, as if you just spent the afternoon sitting at a spa getting your nails done.

So it isn’t all that traumatic and awful, really. I’ve dreaded this day, the official first dialysis. It does have a major impact in my life – for the rest of my life. There is a loss I can’t quite explain. And I have these two tubes hanging from my chest, making me feel very much like a Borg. And the image is only reinforced when I get hooked up. I half expected the 16 of us in the room to universally commune as one. But there is also the feeling that it is us, the Nouveau Borgs, who are being assimilated.

For days now, I have been, you know, sitting back, trying to mind my own business and not dwell on this dialysis thing. Trying to just make my life as normal as possible, cleaning the house, going to work, reading a book, watching a favorite TV show. When something innocuous will happen – the plot will turn just a bit to something sad – just a little – and I’ll sit there and tears will well up and I think, o boy, if I start crying right now, I will not ever stop. Today, at lunch, I went home and scrounged around for cold weather clothes for our bi-annual trek to Monroe, Washington and car parts heaven for Mechanic Man. I’d turned on the TV to a movie I love – Little Women – and it was right at that moment when Beth discovers that the Hummel baby just died of Scarlet Fever and she thinks she has it. WAAAAAAAAA, the tears flowed, I couldn’t stop, I cried and cried and cried.

Ok, I feel better now.


Contained or Uncontained

As I idle my time, these days, I tend to live by the Scanner Report, a report that spawns infinite “stories” out of real life situations. Soon, the report will change, like the seasons – our unique population of contained or uncontained animals will go into hibernation. I am assuming that is what contained or uncontained species do when it is too cold to wander about garnering reports from citizens of their uncontained locations. (So I always wonder about the “uncontained” whatever INSIDE a fenced yard.) I don’t know if it is indicative of the Pacific Northwest, to have so many uncontained reports. But it’s entertaining nonetheless.

There are uncontained goats – by far my favorite. Uncontained horses. Uncontained dogs. Uncontained chickens. Even uncontained cows – which makes you wonder if being uncontained has anything to do with being contented or not – you know how cows are. They are contented cows. Always. So – if you are an uncontented cow, then do you wander out the gate in search of your aspirations and dreams and then you unwittingly become lost in some strangers’ backyard and are now adjudged uncontained? An uncontained uncontent cow. How utterly sad.

You actually don’t read about “contained” animals much. Why would that make the news. And you never ever read about uncontained cats. That would be a fete of insurmountable proportions, don’t you think? Or rather, can you contain a cat? I don’t think so. Those cats you see in windows peering out at the life running by their view – they aren’t being held prisoner on that ledge behind the curtain. They are supreme beings who snicker at those poor lost animals wandering the avenues until some neighborhood nosey old lady calls the police to report they are uncontained in her yard. One day it’s a goat. Another day it’s a dog. Another day it’s a cow. And the contained cat just flicks his paw and changes direction of his contemplative musings.

Soon, as all the various uncontained animals find their secret hiding places for winter, I’ll have to focus on other aspects of the Scanner Report. Like “unwanted woman in short skirt in parking lot.” And then I wonder how pertinent is the short skirt as a factor in being unwanted. Would you want the woman if she wore long slacks?