Hi Mom! I Love Ya!

It was so much easier to communicate with my sons when they were younger, kind of trapped in my house. They pretty much had to talk to me in order to get things like breakfast, or rides to friends, or money to spend, or use of the computer. Now, they are grown and on their own and I wait impatiently by the phone for that occasional call, when their busy lives calm down just for a second where they can say, “Hey, Mom, I love ya!” until they blast away again on the whirlwind ride they call living.

So, my youngest sent me a text message: “Hi Mom! Just wanted to say I love you.” That’s all. Just a nice short note saying he loves me. Only, I’m one of those worrying type Moms and my first thought was, Oh-My-God-He’s-In-Trouble. He's in jail! He's crashed his car! So I tried to text back – only my phone is one of those “smart” phones that tries to think ahead of you and spell out what it thinks you want to say. It won’t let you type out “I love you back” because it thinks you want to say something like “ill gained stocks fall.” I did not type that – I really wanted to say “I love you back.”

And then there was the time he called me because he couldn’t understand my text message. “Hi Mom. Just wanted to call and say I love you!”

“I love you, too, sweetie. What’s that noise – are you driving?”

“Yeah, I just thought I’d call while I’m driving Highway 195 [known to me as the Death Highway] to say I love . . . “ I interrupt with, “Don’t you know it is illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving??????”


I mean – SILENCE. He’s not on the other end holding his breath, counting to ten before he deigns to speak again to his overbearing worrywart mother. HE HAS HUNG UP ON ME!

I call him back and get his voice mail. “Are you ok?” I ask, figuring he must have crashed his car while he was illegally talking on his cell phone while driving. “Call me!!!”

He calls the next day, saying he wanted to be sure that he was home, not driving, when he called me.


And now that he has made his duty call to his mother, it will be weeks, maybe months, when he calls again (or – shudder – texts).


A little update

I indeed had surgery to replace the catheter in my chest. I broke a record in keeping what is commonly known as a "temporary" site. All the nurses and techs kind of jump up and down about that, like, you KNOW that is only a TEMPORARY site, like, you may implode any second with that TEMPORARY site.

Yes, I know it's temporary and that is why I am pretty particular about how well you techs take care of me, and how well I take care of my site when I'm not with you. :)

Anyway, a very long day spent with "minor" surgery on my "temporary" site. They removed the old catheter, which my skin had grown around, like, well, a second skin. They replaced the catheter with a new one, to which my skin will again grow attached, like a lover. I went nearly a year with my old catheter buddy. And since my experience was quite rough for something so minor - I am going in soon to have a fistula (commonly known as a "permanent" site) prepared in my arm. Another "minor" surgery.

Anyway - a relatively minor procedure in this bumpy ride called dialysis. The alternative is lilies on my coffin. I don't like lilies.

Just saying.


The Rise of the Pod People

Friday, I had a pretty crappy morning. It was my final dialysis stint for the week. I always look forward to it because it means by 11:00, I am a free woman! I am on my way to garage sales and yard sales. My name is being called. Tea cups and saucers! Old and ancient books from the turn of the century – and not this century. Jig saw puzzles for a dime. They are all calling my name and asking for a place in my home. Just as soon as I get out of this dialysis chair and get my running shoes on, and I’m off! Mechanic Man is my driver, and we careen around Spokane, making sudden u-turns because we do drive by look-and-see viewpoints of potential treasure troves.

Only, Friday, my preplanned itinerary went up in a puff of disappointing smoke. My dialysis access site was sluggish. They tried to flush it. It still was sluggish. They put some sort of gunk-eating, residue-evaporating fluid in my access site to soak for an hour – suspending dialysis until it was finished. STILL sluggish. They restarted my dialysis and said we’d limp along until Monday when I could have surgery to fix the site or . . . . . REPLACE the site. Only Monday is a holiday. I sat in that chair for over five and a half hours. I’d like to see anybody with half the strength and patience I have do that. Without moving.

Now this gets me riled just a tad. Dialysis patients do not know what “holiday” means. We go in, faithfully, steadfastly, religiously, every other day, three days a week, every week, every month, every year, forever. There are no such things as a three-day-weekend. But hospitals, for “unnecessary” procedures, have holidays. So the procedure can’t be done until Tuesday.

So, I will go in on Monday and see if my body will be able to “do” dialysis. If not, I go in on Tuesday, have the procedure, maybe they can roto rooter it out, maybe they can’t, and THEN I will have dialysis, and then go back on my routine starting Wednesday.

Crappy, crappy, crappy.

I drove home, a crazed homicidal maniac - all of you escaped certain death. I set myself up for a well-deserved pity party. A good old fashioned pouting session. I was prepared to eat ice cream right out of the carton. I was going to get passionately grouchy about this whole dang thing.

But my eye caught the caption on today's Spokesman Review. Staying Positive. Yeah, right! I thought to myself glumly. But I started to read, and I couldn't put it down. Becky Nappi grabbed my heart (thank you, dear friend). (Located here). This article is about Carol Stueckle, who got fired from her latest job (and not for the first time to be fired) and found a new job at age 72. Stueckle is inspiring and funny and uplifting.

I have found my personal life guru. I am going to follow Carol Stueckle for the rest of my life. Whatever wise words she has for me, I am going to take them and emblazon them on my forehead, on my roof, on my car windows, on my bathroom mirror. I am going to make flash cards and put them in all my books, in my purse, in my jewelry box. I am going to pass them out to my friends, to my pharmacist, to my children, to perfect strangers.

Stueckle noted first off, “There isn’t a thing that happens in life that isn’t temporary. And most things have solutions.” So – this failing dialysis site, redoing it, replacing it, slicing and dicing away at my veins – is temporary. This too shall pass. A solution is out there.

Just for giggles and to kind of amuse myself, while I’m sitting there, having my blood race around a machine getting cleaned and filtered and fluffed, losing about five pounds in three and a half hours, I like to mentally visualize a time-lapse film above the room of the 19 or so dialysis patients who are also getting drained and cleansed and losing several pounds in a few hours – just think of it – fast forward your time lapse camera and we are all squiggling and wiggling and shrinking as we sit there – we are pod people being probed by aliens .

Ok, I’m back to earth now. Less cranky.