24
Nov
16

Gratitude

I have a lot to be thankful for today.

I am home for the holiday.

I am surrounded by family and friends, many of whom have dropped everything at some point over the last few weeks to show up for me. Those who haven’t been able to make it out in person have called, texted, sent packages, and let me know in other ways that they got my back. I’ve reconnected with loads of people I care about and have been neglecting for years. I’ve fortified old bonds.

Even though lab results say I’m really sick, I don’t really feel too bad. I’m tolerating my low-kidney function and anemia extremely well and am not very limited. I’m not having debilitating headaches or nausea anymore.

I’ve been diagnosed with a very serious chronic illness at a time in my life when I am very well-insured, in great financial shape, very self-assured, and already prone to making positive lifestyle changes. I’m a grown ass person with my shit together.

It’s my kidneys and not one of the harder-to-get-or-live-without organs. There’s still a chance they’ll get better and I won’t need a new one.

I have a mysterious kidney disease and not something worse. 

I experienced a two-week hospital stay at what has to be the nicest hospital in SF as a very privileged white English-speaking American citizen and it is not lost on me at all how much different things could have been if any of those things were different. I don’t really know how I would have survived those two weeks without the internet and speaking fluent English, without family and friends around to keep everyone accountable and on point. My heart goes out to anyone (TONS of people, probably most people) who’s ever had to do something like this alone, in a country that treats them like a second-class citizen, in a language they don’t completely understand, under full financial duress. Fucking awful.

I don’t find it exhausting or stressful to be around my parents. They’re not republicans or completely backasswards in anyway. They do not ask me stupid questions, or make weird things about themselves. They love and support me unconditionally and always have, especially when I’m being an impossible jerk. This goes triple for my sisters, even though one of them is a little too delighted by my chubby-again cheeks.

As it turns out, my out-of-hospital potassium limit is not that tight, so long as I don’t do something stupid like try to live off of bananas and avocados. I’m already accustomed to a low-protein diet from years of vegetarianism, I just need to be careful with nuts and cheese. This sodium-limit is challenging, there’s secret salt in everything — but salt is on a lot of people’s radar and having a sodium restriction is a very accessible concept to people, so it’s easier for me to manage.

Mom and my sisters have been in the kitchen all day constructing a wonderful salt-to-taste feast, and have provided me all of the ingredients and nutritional information we can collect so I can make good portion choices. I am literally under doctor’s orders not to help at all (I am not allowed near anything sharp until my “clotting factors” are back up — I nearly lost a finger last year slicing bread, so this is a smart choice), so I am sitting around like a lazy sausage bum and having a very relaxing day.

Best Fam Ever

I weigh one pound less today than I did yesterday and have spent a lot of time today researching natural diuretics that won’t interact with my blood pressure meds. I have some ideas. I slept with my sausage legs elevated last night and I’ve kept them up all day today so they’re a little less tight. Mom gave me a nice massage. 

I got to take a long warm shower last night and take all the hospital-grade adhesive off of my neck. As you can see, my central line wound is very unimpressive and my neck is mostly irritated from the tape, which will heal quickly. I’ve downgraded to a normal bandage for a few more days. 

img_0918

So much fuss for a little hole.

I am very excited for dinner. Jess and I have been hosting Vegetarian Thanksgiving for the last several years. With everything going on we decided to ask Mom to do a turkey again this year. It smells like childhood Thanksgiving. Dad’s mashed potatoes are my most favorite food. Potatoes are high in potassium, so this year we’re also making mashed cauliflower so I can fill the void with something similar but less dangerous. I can’t wait to eat. Thank god green beans are also low in potassium. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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