Healthy? Sick? Which is it?

There is a fine line between being healthy and being sick. At least, in my new life as a dialysis patient. That word, patient, is part of the problem. Being on dialysis doesn’t mean I have some disease that makes me sick. I’m actually very healthy. I’m just the right weight. I don’t get colds or flu. I have had every test you can imagine to become eligible for the transplant list – and they don’t allow sickies on the transplant list. So – am I a patient? Am I sick because I’m on dialysis?

I think it all boils down to attitude. If you think you’re sick – you probably are. If you have cancer, you are sick. You will get treatment and you will get better. (Ideally). Being on dialysis is not a cure and yet it’s a treatment. I will never get over kidney failure. I won’t get better. But I’m not sick.

Now I am progressing along this journey of dialysis to the point that I will have what I call “real” dialysis. Right now I am having “not real” dialysis – in that I am not poked with two needles to get access to my blood. I have a “temporary” access site that is a catheter that splits into two tubes that are used for dialysis – no needles. But it is temporary and the nurses and techs can’t stress it enough – t.e.m.p.o.r.a.r.y. Not permanent. Not real. The catheters are famous for failing, clogging, or becoming infected. So, the “real” method is through a fistula – where the veins are prepped and brought closer together in a certain part of your arm (in my arm, it’s the crook of my elbow – you know, that really tender place that they ALWAYS draw blood from – that tender place). Once my fistula heals, about two months, they will start “real” dialysis, where they will insert two 12 gauge needles about an inch apart, for blood to go out and clean blood to go back in. So, every time I go in for dialysis, three times a week, I will be stuck twice with two LARGE needles.

So, needles make me think, I don’t know why, but they make me think I’m sick. I’m having to rethink my thoughts on getting hurt to get better – only I know I’m not getting better, I’m just getting another form of dialysis to keep me alive. It’s a paradox and one I can’t wrap my head around – yet.

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