It's Friday.

(note: as you may have guessed, it's not really Friday anymore. But please trust me that it was Friday when I originally scribbled down these thoughts. Enjoy.)

I am writing this from the waiting room at the Prairie Trails Medical clinic. Here's what I wanted to do today: I wanted to have a day for thinking.* Maybe tidy the house. Eat one of my CLIF peanut butter bars in bed and make crumbs.*** Slurp some (non-tepid) tea. Write. And in all this, remain wonderfully crumpled in bed until at least 9 am.****

And yet here I am, dressed, brushed and stubbornly makeupped.***** Seated with me is a generation sprouting white hair and walking canes (it is Crescentwood, after all). They are the elderly but together we are the sick and waiting. Bored, I pick up the local reading material, and I am amused to see that it is the Teenage Survival Handbook, endorsed by the RCMP Foundation. Not quite my game at this season in life, but I read it anyway and fill my head with information on “this changing body of mine” and the dangers of suicide. It's pretty heavy reading for such a small pamphlet. I put it down.

It's slim pickings here in this clinic. And no wifi for my phone.

What I wanted today was a break - a chance for quiet, to pick up those in-the-head thought-crumbs that collect over the days and weeks when life is too busy. You know the ones. Yeah, those. I need to sweep those up a bit. Tidy up. It's been awhile, you see, and they are collecting in my head; I need to process.  

And although I do this quickly and rather haphazardly throughout the week, this method only works for so long. Eventually, time alone is required. Like today.

But rather than today's tidying, I am getting another morning of dealing with my body. And it's various health issues. This time, it's a possible strep throat. While normally not a big deal, for us Immunosuppressants (my title, not an official name), it can be. So despite wanting a day “off”, I dutifully sit in this grey and padded waiting room chair and wait.

I did not want to come, you see. I really did not.

My mind protested of course, and I admit that I spent the better part of the morning not relaxing as hoped but leaning into indecision about whether to make the call to the doc. Not a comfortable bedfellow, this indecision. My head pouted, tried to say that there was nothing to worry about; that this terrible sore throat was just the body’s way of taking away our day off. That everything would be a-okay. Even while I showered, these two -- the mind and the physical body - warred with each other. Truthfully, by the end of the shower I may have been clean but I was exhausted.

Finally, at 10:10 am, a smidgen of caution won out. Truly my throat was sore, to the point of not being able to swallow. Or talk well. After much debate, my mind agreed to at least try and call the doc and see if they could see me today. It being a Friday, it was doubtful that they could.

But as you know from me sitting here, pamphlet about my "changing body" next to me and a gaggle of seniors milling about, the doctor just happened to have a spot available. Of course. So my body won; it will get to see the doc today. And my head - my head will just have to be content with a mental health afternoon. It's a give and take.

footnote: In the past, I have been viewed as an uncooperative patient. While I am not entirely innocent of this, such a label has brought with it a slew of difficulties.****** If I were to reflect on some of those instances of my being perceived as “uncooperative”, I would say that my past “hesitancy to immediately participate in the prescribed health plan” was and is often due to my trying to balance the (immediate) needs of my mental health verses the (equally pressing) needs of the physical body.  


*as much as my mom tried for me not to be, I am indeed, one giant introverted soul. Sorry, Mom.**

**not a literal giant.

 ***CLIF peanut butter bars and make crumbs: first, because if I were to have an admitted addiction, it would be to these bars. Second, this has to remain a secret activity (if it even was or is an addiction) because someone living in this same house happens to be deathly allergic to them. Seriously. As in one little dab of the peanut buttery goodness on his lips and *poof* he would be gone. Finished. So while I do eat these illicit bars in bed, I do so only when I am assured of being alone for the day. And I am careful. Occasionally I even change the bed sheets afterwards. It’s work. But it's worth it for peanut butter.

 ****morning meds time.

 *****the clothes are from yesterday. Wait. Who am I kidding. I can't lie: I am in clothes from two days ago.

As for the makeup, I admit to feeling the need to put on some before a visit to the doctor. This need to be appealing (despite being ill), is troublesome to me. And yet I do it. Further, I have speculated and continue to wonder if it hinders proper diagnosis. As someone who is apt to dismiss my own symptoms of distress (due in part to being a chronic lifer of illness and as such, having a rather skewed understanding of what “feeling good” actually means), I frequently hear from doctors "well, you look okay". Yes, yes I do. I am also wearing concealer, highlighter and mascara. And perhaps a bit of lipstick to hide the anemia.

******there is a slew of things I could write about the imbalance of power inherent in our medical system. One day perhaps I will. But for now, I will eat my CLIF bars, enjoy this "new" kidney in me and live another day. 

(medical diagnosis post-note: turns out it isn't strep after all. Just a cold virus running amok in my tonsils and such. Thank goodness).


The house is still not sold, although not for lack of interest. We are up to Showing Number 9 now I think. Honestly, after the first few I kind of lost track: people in, people out, a real estate agent's card left on the kitchen counter. Just another one to add to the paper pile. 

I hope I do not sound complaining; it is not my intention.* It's just that this in-between time is arduous. In protest, the kiddo and I planted some carrot seeds the other day.** It seemed like a good thing to do. 


*I am cognizant of my privilege just by the mere fact of having a house to sell. An older, slightly tilted and well-loved one. But a house nevertheless. 

**yes, I understand that we are late in doing this. And, truth be told, in between the kiddo's gardening "help"*** and my lack of bothering about daily water for them ever since, the likelihood is that we will not have carrots this year. I'm okay with this. 

***at one point during our gardening adventures, out of the corner of my eye I witnessed my now four-year-old child laughing and deliberately throwing fistfuls of our backyard dirt into the air and then "catching" bits of it on his head and face. Yes, I saw him purposefully tilt into this falling dirt. And I saw his mouth open and yes, I know that some dirt went in there. But I let him. He was happy.****

****I mean, what's the worst that could happen? I used to sample our garden dirt on a regular basis when I was a kid. And I'm fine. Totally, perfectly fine.


On Vacuuming.

We are selling our house. It is time.* And as such, I am learning that this translates into an inordinate amount of cleaning. It is here therefore that I confess: I have not done much these past days to improve-the-lot-of-the-unfortunate-right-the-wrongs-of-the-systematic-injustice-prevalent-in-our-society-or-feed-the-poor-so-help-me-god. Nope. Not me. Not this week. Nope. This week I have been vacuuming.

And as I have been pushing this small red Dirt Devil through our home and removing these crumbs-slash-dog hairs off of floors and pondering all things existential while doing so (as one does), my thoughts inevitably bump into this craziness: before every house showing there is a need to clear out much evidence of us: these toothbrushes, a moisturizer bottle, our individual shampoo containers. The family-sized box of Mini-Wheats from on the top of the fridge. Oh, and the toys, of course. The toys! It all must go. 

And it is in this process of let's-pretend-that-we-don't-live-here-but-everyone-involved-in-looking-at-the-house-knows-that-we-or-at-least-someone-does-live-here-because-dang-it-it-is-a-house-after-all-and-everyone-knows-that's-what-houses-are-for that I cannot help but feel like I am participating in some sort of bizarre and exhausting pseudosemantic game: that in fact I am daily reassembling this place - this, our home, for nearly the past decade - into simply being a house. A container. One devoid enough of our (current) presence that potential buyers will want to settle here. It's a weird world, this real estate business. 

And so that's it, I guess. I play along. And will dutifully keep vacuuming.


*truly, it is time to have more than one bathroom. This, folks, is the very real - and I'd say enjoyable- result of having a kidney that now works: I pee.**

**peeing: not a luxury afforded to many dialysis patients. Over time, any functionality of the kidney(s) diminishes, and -- as the dialysis treatment is removing the body's toxins and extra fluid anyway - those kidney(s) usually decide to go on a permanent vacation. Lazy little buggers, I'd say. 


It's a Happy Liver!

At 9:55 this morning I learned that my liver will yet live another day: the kiddo sat in the examination room chair and dutifully munched on his salted blue nacho chips*, the doctor was friendly and punctual, and the test showed that my liver tissue is A-okay. It's A-okay! So despite my worry about these higher-than-normal enzyme readings, there is no evidence of cirrohosis in this big ol' organ. Not yet, anyway.**

Thank God.

Me and this liver, we will continue on.***


*the planned-for Cheezies may or may not have been eaten by a certain parent prior to the meeting. Not naming names. But it rhymes with 'splanasha'.

**cirrohosis = a lumpy and hard liver. The end result of having Hep C. Well, I suppose death is the actual end result. But that's not worth talking about. Not today, anyway. 

***we will continue on. We are good. Until the next time. I will explain more about the stages of liver failure and those heightened liver counts at a later date. For tonight though, this organ and I - we need to rest. And perhaps have a drink or two. Because we can.****

****not really. But we might. 



On Being Afraid.

Tomorrow I will find out if my liver is sad. I hope it is not. 

At 9:15 am tomorrow, I will lock the kiddo into his car seat (nee: the crumb collector) and drive for what will seem like an achingly long time. Pembina Hwy often feels like this to me: a long concrete corridor of non-interestingness, marked only by the occasional 7-11 store.The kiddo will sense this, and like any good parent, I will feign happiness about this latest "adventure" on which we find ourselves. I will make eye-contact in the rear-view mirror, perhaps offer to sing "Alice the Camel (and all her those extraneous humps)" song a few too many times. We will likely lose hump-count at one point or another, as we are apt to do. 

Most certainly, we will sing off-key. And loud. We will sing off-key and loudly, him and I. And if it is warm out, I will dare to open all four car windows as we drive. The kiddo will laugh at that. And in this, being a parent, I too, will chuckle and pretend. I will pretend that I am not afraid. Because you know what? I am.

I am afraid.**

Since this latest kidney transplant, my liver counts have slowly and achingly increased to an uncomfortable level. I've - my hepatologist and I, that is - have watched this upswing for the past year and a half. And truthfully, I was warned that it - such a decrease in liver function - could occur as a result of my being on immunosuppressants (to keep the kidney transplant). I could make reference here to this all seeming like a terrible game of Whack-a-Mole, but that comparison seems a bit too obvious. 

The body is a complex system, my friends.*

So tomorrow I will lay on yet another examination table, this time one on the outskirts of our windy city. And there, with my son content and seated in the corner of the room,*** I will undergo another liver Fibroscan. It will only take twenty minutes. It will not be invasive or painful. But it will reveal whether I have moved from level one liver function into level two, and further, whether Hep C treatment will be necessarily imminent.

Let's hope not. I'd like to laugh with my son about good ol' Alice having lumps and humps for real on the way home. 


*if you believe that a rose water-lavender essential oil-face-the sun-three-times-a day is the cure to my ailments, then I must be rude to you. I must be rude to you because when such solutions are presented, I can't help but notice that your health privilege is hanging out of your pants. Anyone - anyone - who has grown up with the life-and-death need of hospitals and treatments and surgeries knows that while such 'cures' can sometimes be an aid towards health, the fact remains that the human body is a maddeningly intricate machine. And as such, one not easily "fixed" by simplistic means. 

**I'm realizing that I do not admit this enough. 

***relatively quietly, thanks to a newly borrowed library picture book and a small bag of bright orange Hawkins Cheezies****

****not my first rodeo-slash-medical appointment with the kiddo. I know what he likes. I'd say that the above distractions will give me (or rather, my hepatologist) about eight and a half minutes in which to complete the test.

The Delicate art of Asking for Someone's Kidney.


There is no easy way to ask for someone's kidney. There just isn't. The end.*




*Okay, it's not really the end. I wouldn't do that to you. You deserve your monies worth! But before you get your ureters in a knot, let me state that I am not needing a kidney. Not right now anyway. This belly-hotel for lost and donated organs is quite full at the moment, thank you very much. 

Oh and don't worry: this is not going to be a please-consider-giving-a-kidney-to-someone-in-need-you-have-an-extra-one-anyway-you-silly-little-double-kidneyed-goose.** No, this is more about being able to, or capable of, the Ask.  

Because I have found that the Ask is not an especially easy thing to do. Indeed, whether for a kidney or otherwise.***

Back when I was yet a gangly kid somewhere under the age of eight, I went to the Langley Town mall with my mom. This in itself was not unusual. But what was different that day was that this ended up being the time that I decided to ask her for money; I wanted to buy an item. Now if you had grown up in my family unit, you would know that such asking was Something That Was Not Done.*****

But here's the deal: it was my parent's anniversary. And as my sneaker-clad feet first hit those 1979 dirt-brown mall tiles on that day in July, I knew that I wanted to get them a gift to commemorate what I understood to be a special occasion. So I dared to ask. 

Oh foolish child I was! Upon such inquiry, my mom's face grew as dark as those late-seventies floor tiles themselves. Angrily, she bent down in front of me and I remember her mouth moving words out, a stern warning about how we do not ask for such things. I will admit that still - after nearly forty years - I know shame when I think on this incident: I had done something wrong. I had broken her expectation of me. 

But I do not wish to speak ill of my mom and true to the kindness still in her, she did give me a small amount of change that day. Oh, let me tell you - I can still feel the edges of those loose coins pressing tightly into the skin of my right hand as I walked - no  gleefully trotted - through that mall and into the various stores in search of the ideal gift.*****

(Which ended up being a measly wicker basket thing because even back in the late 1970's, a dollar didn't go all that far). 

My point is that asking can be difficult; it is a risk. Years ago, back when my first transplant was failing and a return to dialysis was imminent, the idea of asking someone - anyone - for another kidney seemed implausible to my twenty-six year old self. Having just spent the past five years in a faith-based community, my unspoken hope was that someone would see my dilemma and simply offer their's (it didn't happen).******

In the end, I invited my parents out for a supper at the Denny's near the 200th Street exit in Walnut Grove, me nervous and them wondering what was going on, I am sure. And it was there that I sat across from them, all of us in a red plastic-seated booth, when I quite rudely blurted out: so which one of you is going to give me a kidney? I am embarrassed now, at the manner in which I "asked" (sorry Mom, sorry Dad). Thanks in a large part to my parents' gracious ability to overlook my rudeness that evening, in less than three months from that date, my dad would be one kidney short and me, one kidney plumper. Oh, and alive. 

Asking is often not easy, is it? If I am honest, I would have to admit that I still struggle with knowing how to do it. And of course, if you have not gathered by now, I am not just talking about inquiring of someone's kidneys. No, I mean the things that I - we - need to be alive in a different way: perhaps less dire than needing an organ to remain on this earth in an upright position. But still vital. 


**a term of endearment. I do not really think that you are a goose. Well, unless you actually are a goose. Then this whole thing is a bit awkward, no? 

***this may be based on the culture-slash-gender socialization placed on many young girls to simply be "nice" (aka: not bothersome) and "helpful" (aka: do not acknowledge your own needs and - heaven forbid - speak of them even less). There are people out there with degrees and smarts about this subject; I am not one of them. But I have both my observations as a female, my heavy knapsack of "those unspoken cultural expectations" sitting in my closet and years (years!) of abiding in church culture. Degree or not, I think I am qualified. 

****we were not poor. That was not the issue. In hindsight, I probably should have included the reason for my ask alongside the asking itself. Negotiation skills have never been an extensive skill of mine. 

*****it was a different time; it was not unheard of to let kids of a now-questionable age wander, unguarded, through those mall hallways and stores. Later, things would change. 

******oh, my idealism. It will, one day, be the end of me. I suppose in this case, it nearly was. 

On Why I Will go Again.

A memory: my siblings and I inside our blue-striped 1980's RV trailer, the west coast rain beating against its roof and us three, packed into the four seated kitchen-cum-foldout bed table. It is tight; our knees touch and inevitably we push against each other. Sunburnt skin against sunburned skin, I'd say.

(The adults are outside of course, seemingly dry and each folded into a lawn chair. Seated under our trailer's overhang canopy, they slowly drink coffee and smoke Peter Jackson cigarettes. And us? We are left dangerously unguarded. It is wonderful.)

And so of course we are silly inside this trailer, stuffing as many cherries as possible into already fruit-filled mouths. More and more until we laugh. Oh, we laugh! Our eyes fill with water and those outrageous guffaws as red and spit-soaked cherries explode from our mouths. Being the youngest and too much the smallest, I would never win any of these contests (there were always contests). But I remember loving being in close proximity to my family, dry in our camper, and still sunned from the previous day's adventures. This was summer. 

Did I run away to Seattle last week? Perhaps. Perhaps I did. But here's the thing - I needed to. I needed to move, to walk by myself. To be silly. Some might say that I needed to be unguarded.* 


*And while I did have a well-founded reason in going - a conference on social justice of all things - I knew even as I signed up for it that would not hold my interest. True enough, it did not. I admit that I spent those days and perhaps a few of the next down at the ocean-side, talking at the seagulls and gathering salt watered mud on my boots.**

**intuitively, while yet in Winnipeg, I knew that I had a need to be around water again; having lived in this wheat-land province for over a decade now, I had been landlocked for too long. Oh, some may argue that there are lakes and rivers and such here in the prairies, and yes, I suppose there are those. But really -- that such water is too tame, bland. My gut said 'ocean'. And once I saw her wildness again, I knew that I had made the right decision.***

***And to appease the practical side of the questioning: this trip was only afforded at the expense of my liver. About two months ago, I unexpectedly received a small lump of monies, a token leftover of the compensation granted to those affected by the Canadian blood scandal. Alongside the unmarked envelope containing the cheque was a postcard, a simple advert for an insurance company, I think.**** Normally I would immediately throw such silly unasked for things into the recycle bin. But this time the large printing on the front of the postcard stating: see the world! caught me. Something jolted in my gut and I knew those words applied: I felt like I had been given both a command and a gift. I still have that postcard pinned to my office wall. There's a trip to Seattle now under my feet. And there will be more. 

****oh irony, you little bastard, you!

*****sorry Mom for using the word 'bastard'. But it really does fit here. 



It is here, in this bumpy city by the seawater, that these feet of mine have learned how to wander again. It is good.

In the past few days they have meandered through an open air market, past a fat man dancing for any spare quarters please miss, and have decisively stopped to watch a sparrow-bird, as it sat atop of one of those navy blue U.S mail boxes. This, the tiniest of birds, but mouth wide and peeping in insistence at the oft-busy passers-by. I felt like we could have been friends.

Speaking of which - oh friends, I have eaten much here. I confess that I have eaten much and not really cared at all about it. I will come home plumper, I think. 

But to be weighter and have eaten salted chocolate while walking under these cherry trees -- do you see them?-- each ostentatious with their fat pink blooms showing off to the world? Ha! My mother would frown at such a display. 

Yes, these boots are moving again. And some lostness - this not knowing one turn from the next - is good. For now, it is good. 

Doing Clinic With a Small Child: Part I

Yesterday was the day of the meet-the-infectious-disease-doctor appointment. Lest this name scare you, let me state that the label 'infectious disease' includes such relatively innocuous ailments as my ongoing urinary tract infection (UTI), alongside a varied collection of other potential ills of the body. It's all a mix.*

So it was clinic day. And doing medical appointments with a small child in tow is not a task for the faint of heart. Or kidneys. As the years have past and the kiddo has developed an (undue) familiarity with my medical routines and hospital visits, things have become easier. And yet more difficult. 

As a soon-to-be four year old, he is no longer placated by a snack baggie of low-salt nacho chips.*** While these hold his attention (and wiggly body) for a brief span of time, they are not the clinic-saver that they used to be. I have subsequently resorted to three things:

1. Deciding that his curiousity is a good thing, and that there is no better place to foster such interest as a teensy-tiny hospital room. Preferably one that is both too-warm and crowded with miscellaneous medical goods. On this note, it is beneficial to add sharps containers, preferably at child's level. Gosh, those yellow boxes full of various blood products and sharp metal objects (aka: used needles) are fascinating to a youngster! After watching the kiddo move the black safely deposit "mouth" of the container back and forth -- hoping to catch a glimpse of those forbidden objects inside, and maybe even touch one - for about ten minutes straight yesterday, well, I am surprised that such things are not yet marketed on for the child market. What a killing to be made!

2. Seeing this as early training towards his future career as a medical professional. His ability to interrupt the infectious disease doctor and my conversation about my UTI (on numerous occasions) was and is quite astounding. His natural inclination towards interjection will serve him well, I think. That, and the ability to not only figure out how the examination table moved up and down but then proceed to lay on it and use the tools available (in this case, a large empty cardboard tube) to reach down and move the same precariously-lifted table whilst he was on it, is astounding. And perfect problem solving skills, a necessary trait for any doctor, I'd say. 

3. Ignoring it all. What? That's my son crawling under the examination table on his hands and knees mooing like a cow? Noooo. He wouldn't. I have no idea what you are talking about. I see nothing. Wait. What? Now he is spraying himself with water from the examination room's sink? Ha. Ha. What? His shirt is soaked? Well, those are fun little foot-controlled taps, now aren't they? Hardee har har. Drawing on the examination table with a pen? Really? My child? You must be mistaken....besides, who gave my child a pen? What did you expect, giving him a PEN? Seriously! He's a child! Gosh. People nowadays. 

Truth be told, although my ego likes to be a well-seasoned professional, I am yet perfecting any of the above-mentioned three 'doing clinic with a small child' coping mechanisms. I will let you know how it all goes. 


*not a party mix, as in margarine-coated Chex cereal, pretzel sticks and a no-name rice puff cereal, but rather real people living with HIV, Hep C, and/or various STI's.**

**of which I am one. Thank you Canadian blood scandal (just couldn't spend the extra $2.45 per pint and test for such things, eh? Sheesh. Cheapsakes).

***poor kid. Living with me and these defunct kidneys I have has meant a lack of salty goodness in his life. He only knows low-salt tortilla chips, saltines and pretzels. This kid lives in a world of kidney-friendly-diet-land and he doesn't even know it.  






I Lied. On Good Friday. Lord Help me.

I lied. It's Good Friday today, and my convictions of any wrong-doing are rising to the surface.* So yes, I need to state that I lied. Sort of. 

In my last post, I attempted to explain why I have not been concerned about this latest ultrasound finding. I did not do a particularly good job; I'm okay with admitting that. But because I promised an explanation I had to follow through and write something. So I did. A very little something. And truthfully, one that only told a part of the story, although I can say that I did not know this at the time. 

You see, in my defense, until this afternoon I did not even realize that I had communicated a partial truth (aka: lie). Now, it is true, I am not anxious about the ultrasound. Until more data arrives there is no thing of which to yet be anxious. I will respond when it is time to respond. 

This is my logical, or learned, response.****

But here's the deal. It took walking home today from Shopper's Drug Mart, thoughts lightly roaming through my head and the sun blazing on my winter skin to know this: I am not distressed about this new finding because my gut is telling me that it's going to be alright. 

And now in saying such a thing I must also clarify: explaining a gut feeling is a near impossible task. It (the knowing of something otherwise unknowable) necessarily defies logic; I do not possess the words to justify what I feel. 

And further, I could be wrong. This thing, this lump, this whatever-it-is might be dangerous. Perhaps even fatal (if I dare speak in such drastic terms). I am aware that my gut, this sense of Knowing, could, too, be lying. 

Here's what I do know, though: it has not tricked me in the past. In fact, if I had to credit anything for any of the good (right) decisions I have made in my life thus far, I would give full accolades to this instinct. For when I have quieted the head-noise and simply felt what my spirit - my gut - is speaking, I have stayed on course.*****

So I may appear foolish. In fact, I think I do. But I am becoming okay with that, too. Happy Easter, everyone. He is Risen. 


*I also did not refill the sugar bowl after emptying it when doctoring up my tea yesterday. Don't tell Sean.**

**Oh, and I used cottage cheese two days past its expiration date when making cottage cheese perogies the other day. He and the kiddo ate them, blissfully unaware of the danger that lurked in those cheese-filled sacs of goodness on their plates.***

***these are all the confessions that I can think of right now. Well, at least for now. I will keep you posted. 

****it was during the wait for my second transplant that the following understanding (thankfully) came to me: there is no grace in anticipation. At the time, I had great fear about undergoing yet another surgery. My anxiety was at the thresh-hold of danger, as crisis (and impending medical trauma) was imminent. And then, the actual transplant happened: my dad gave me a kidney, the operation went well and I was home from the hospital in five days. The anticipation of the surgery was horrendous in comparison to the actual event. I have found this to be true on numerous occasions. 

*****this is not to say that my gut feeling has not lead these two feet to awkward and difficult places in life. It most certainly has (sometimes I think it is intent upon doing so). But I surmise that just being alive would do that anyway. At least in this case I have an assurance, a peace, alongside the difficulties. 

I am Stumped About how to Write About This Lump.

I am stumped. This lump -- this silly little collection of cells (my cells!) -- has befuddled me. I do not know how to transmit the necessary words as to why it does not concern me. But it doesn't and I want to write about why; I think it is important. So first, I apologize for the delay in the followup post. Please trust that I am not intentionally holding out a carrot (fibroid?) on a stick. That is not my intention. 

Second, I need to get some sleep. And then some food. And -- in the morning, maybe also a good cup of Yorkshire Gold tea. Then -- maybe then -- I will be more articulate.*

*because right now my brain is sounding like this (insert computer voice): ultrasound scan complete. Lump located. Bad lump. Maybe bad lump? Cannot compute: badness of lump must be verified. Errrrrgh. Powering down. No extra emotions can be dispensed at this time, good or bad lump. Pillow is soft. Good night.




Postscript to 'Ultrasound II, the Doctor of No Name': turns out that the meek-but-thorough ultrasound technician did find something during that Friday afternoon exam. An incidental something, but a Something nonetheless. During her (lengthy) ultrasound adventures over my belly, she located a mass* on my right uterine wall. Pictures were taken and measurements recorded.** 

The best case scenario is that this is a uterine fibroid, also known as a uterine leiomyomas (which a much better name, I think, than just plain old 'fibroid'). Worst case scenario -- it is a malignant lump 'o lump intruding on my female bits.****

But I am not worried. Not yet anyway.

I will explain this 'lack of immediate concern' in my next post.*****


*a mass, as in a lump. Not pertaining to nuns or priests or communion wafers.

**I have to say that kidneynumber3 was quite pissed*** when most of the attention during this latest ultrasound was on the newly discovered Lump, rather than him. Having undergone numerous ultrasounds, biopsies and the like in his relatively short time in this body, kidneynumber3 has, unfortunately, become rather spoiled. I am not sure what to do about it, to be honest.

***see what I did there? Kidneynumber3 was pissed. Get it? A kidney was pissed! Too funny. So clever. I'm pretty sure that all my extra kidneys are being turned into secret special brain power.

****if you are uncomfortable with bits and pieces of the body, this might not be the blog for you. You are always welcome, of course. But there might be blood on the floor. Or kidneys. You have been warned.

*****not trying to tease. Just bedtime and this old horse is tired.

Ultrasound II, The Doctor of No Name.

Ultrasound update: Well, I did get to lay down. For a full two hours. And while it was pleasant,* the length of time was unexpected, as such a procedure customarily takes thirty minutes. But save for both needing to pee and wanting to eat,** the test was tolerable enough. That is until The Doctor of No Name came in.

Let me start off by saying that I do not wish to disparage any medical practitioner nor the demanding work that they do. In my career as a life-long sick person,*** I have encountered more physicians who are amiable**** than not. But this guy. Oy. This doc took the cake. Or kidney, if you'd prefer.

(Oh, and I am not withholding his name on purpose. It was never offered. The ultrasound tech - bless her meek little lamb heart -- endeavored to make introductions, but was cut off mid-sentence).

"LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT!" were the first words he blasted out, (sort of) in my general direction.

Stunned, it took me a few long moments to realize that he was not referring to a military cadence but rather to the sequence of which I had undergone transplants. First kidney was placed in left lower quadrant, second in right, and final one again placed in the left abdominal area.

But no hello, no introductions, no pleasantries.

Slowly catching on, I confirmed his understanding of the order in which the transplants have occurred. He smiled. Strangely, I had the brief sensation that I had just passed a test.

He then dropped a towel onto my belly and ordered that I tuck it into the top elastic of my underwear.*****

Towel-tucked and apparently now done with me, he turned, reached for a bottle of ultrasound gel and squeezed a full amount over my belly. The technician's eyes widened and I presume that she too, noticed the lines of goop dribble running down my side. He pushed the medical wand repeatedly onto areas that she had already just visited as he barked and sneered and jabbed at her findings. At first, the little lamb technician offered justification for the data. But time wore on. And the belittling got sharper. Eventually, her voice bleated and stopped. She sat, folded into the chair, quiet.

I could not believe it. I was irate. My initial anger was not because of his undue actions but more so at her acquiescence to his bullying. At one point had I attempted to jump in to her aid. At best I was ignored (just the body on the table, folks!) and at worst, I too, was swiftly hit by one of his abrupt and demeaning remarks. This guy was good - whether unconsciously or not, he knew how to play power.

Further, after the completion of the test, while the tech and I were yet tackling the ample mess of goop left on my torso, he leaned his head back in the room and unexpectedly inquired of me: how old are you anyway?

Distracted, I answered. Then, standing in the doorway, he made some remark about my last name, and how it had reminded him of The Daniel Boone Show that he used to watch as a young lad. It was an oddly placed sweet moment, an unexpected band-aid over his otherwise abhorrent behaviour. He re-entered the room and spoke fondly of another mid-60's show that he recalled, one apparently about Davy Crockett. Since the tech was unfamiliar with the frontiersman in question, our time together in that darkened ultrasound room ended by the Doctor of No Name and me jointly squawking out a verse from the Ballad of Davy Crockett

It was a strange day.


*as relaxing as laying down on an examination table with belly both exposed and goop-covered, while a stranger in a white lab coat spreads said clear jelly-goop around with a medical wand, can be.

**I was fasting. Not for religious reasons. I am not holy enough to skip my beloved bowl of morning Mini Wheats for that. Nope. The test required it.

***I'm just calling it a career now. Really, I have been at this for thirty-seven years. I think I qualify as a professional.

****some slightly more than others. But still.

*****to apparently prevent ultrasound gel from getting onto clothes and nether regions. It doesn't work. If goop wants to grossly invade such areas, it will.



I have an ultrasound appointment tomorrow.* I'm not terribly excited about it,** but this kidney sure is. He has been primping and mucking about in front of the mirror since early this evening. It is quite ridiculous. I mean, it's not like he hasn't had his picture taken like fifty times before, not including any occasions for photos that I am not even aware of from when he lived in the his original owner. 

Seriously, kidneys these days.


*ordered as a precautionary thing, to make sure that nothing structurally is causing these re-occurring urinary tract infections. 

**okay, I lied a little bit. While not excited to be at the hospital, and especially while dressed in yet another lovely (and unfortunately posterier-revealing) blue 'ties-in-the-back' gown, I will get to lay down, in a dark and quieted room for at least half an hour. For free. Why, that's almost like a massage, but cheaper. And a little goopy-er. But I can pretend.