My family has always celebrated Christmas Eve together at the family home. This year would be no different. But I had no energy to bathe, much less walk. Jeff asked me if I wanted to cancel our trip. I couldn’t. That would scare them beyond belief. I didn’t want to burden my family or cause them worry. So we drove the couple of hours there, and I went right to my aunt’s bed. She said she thought right then I was on death’s door. I was sick. There was no doubt about it. I played it off as best I could, saying I was just really tired.
Mom made my favorite pork roast, and I couldn’t eat it. I couldn’t eat anything. We stayed for a while. I don’t even know if I saw the kids open their presents. And we went home. I forbade Jeff telling my family about the impending surgery. It was outpatient, no big deal. Jeff honored my wishes but told me again and again that the doctors were going to keep me.
December 26, we went in for the procedure, and the labs came back with bad news. I was too sick and anemic to have surgery.
I required a blood transfusion. This can complicate the chances of a transplant because every antibody the body receives is another reason for a donor not to “match”. Jeff called my family–of course. I was mad but understood his dilemma after the fact. My family was distraught. Mom came up immediately, and the others visited after I was “more comfortable in my surroundings”. I was not happy to be in the hospital, and no one could resolve that.
I remember being livid that the hospital staff was late coming to get me for surgery. And Mom and Jeff both assured me I had already been to surgery. Maybe. I remember something about lying on my bed in the hallway, in the way, as people walked by. Yeah, maybe they were right. There was a bandage on my stomach. Meanwhile, I had to have emergency dialysis to remove the toxins from my bloodstream. That required another procedure I could not have anticipated. Dialysis was achieved using a vein or artery in my groin. (See image below.) Yes, between the pubic area and the high thigh. It took hours. And it required me to be nearly motionless. Coughs and hiccups set off alarms. Fortunately, my mother was allowed to go into the treatment area with me. Apparently, that’s when the fun began, but I don’t remember much of it. So come back Tuesday to see why my friends make fun of me about that hospital stay!
If you or someone you care about is facing dialysis, please share your experiences and concerns. This is a forum for learning and inspiration.