Wednesday, May 19th – Friday May 28th 2010
Waiting for Marco (with apologies to Samuel Beckett) – Well, I still didn’t get the extent of the problem. However, I did keep going in and out of sleep, and my dreams were becoming more and more surreal. I should say here that for my whole life, I could only remember having had about 2 or 3 dreams. But now I was dreaming quite clearly and remembering things. Only problem was that those things were….. well…… they were plain ridiculous. And I’d speak and apparently make no sense. I say “apparently” because I sure made sense to myself.
And then we spent hours waiting for the new doctor to arrive. And every single visitor who entered the ward, well I thought it must be him. Especially one guy, who just turned out to be a son visiting his father. I was sure that he must be the doctor and I kept asking Helene and the kids to make sure that he doesn’t leave without seeing me.
(“What are we doing?” “We’re waiting for Marco.” “Ah! You’re sure it was here? “ “What? “ “That we were to wait.“)
The Nocturnal Doctor – They – Helene and the kids – all eventually went home, and Marco did arrive….. at 4 o’clock in the morning. I discovered that that was his normal time. He’d see me at around 4 am, and then again at around 6 pm. That way he could really keep tabs on me. And before he’d see me in the middle of the night, I’d be woken by a nurse to get a full blood test, so the results would be ready by the time he got there. But more about that later.
The Problem Revealed – We finally found out what was going on. I had gone into severe renal failure. In other words, my one remaining “good” kidney, had basically packed it in and stopped working. You’ll notice that my precision with dates and times has now also packed it in – those 8 or 9 days were a bit of a blur. At some points the following happened (in some order):
- Helene spoke to me earnestly and said “Moshe, you have to fight for your life now!! This is serious!!! You have to have that kidney work!!!” My response was something like “Whatever!” I could see that she was serious, I could get the seriousness of the situation – like a concept, I just couldn’t get the seriousness like a reality, if that all makes sense.
- The doctor told Helene, my kids, and my parents that he had a dialysis machine standing by and that they should all hope that we wouldn’t need it. He said that a major concern now was that with the kidney so weak, I was at high risk of having a heart attack. He said that I had to fight. He pushed litres of liquid through my veins. And he promised that he’d get it all handled!!
- They moved me into a single bed private ward right next to the nurses’ station so they could monitor me thoroughly and continually.
The routine – I got into a routine which went something like this. I’d fall asleep around 1 am. Then a nurse would come in around 3 am and wake me for a blood test. Every 2nd or 3rd time, it would take more than one shot to actually get that needle into a co-operative vein, by which time I was wide awake – and sore – and hungry. So now that I couldn’t sleep, I’d have to find something to do, and, confined to bed, on my back, the choices were to read or watch some TV.
Now here are the isss-ews I had with this.
Reading: I couldn’t concentrate or focus enough to read any of the 3 or 4 good books that people had brought me. I couldn’t even handle reading The Age (Melbourne’s “quality” broadsheet newspaper). So that left the Herald Sun (Melbourne’s tabloid newspaper). Problem was that by this time of the night, I’d pretty much already read the whole damn thing, from page 1 through to page 110, including the death and funeral notices, the legal notices, the used car classifieds, the childrens’ pages, the comics, the womens’ beauty tips, even the ads for department stores and supermarkets. I was in danger of going into severe cerebral failure here too!!!
Watching TV: All they had were the three commercial network channels and the ABC (which for all you American readers is actually the Australian Broadcasting Commission – a Government channel not too dissimilar to NPR). And guess what was on these channels? Hour-long infomercials, religious programs, and Question Time in the Australian Federal Parliament. As you can imagine, some of these were as interesting as watching paint dry and others were akin to watching grass grow!! I am proud to say that I am now an expert on cleaning your house with a shamWOW, cooking your meals with some contraption which allows the fat to drain out the bottom, and listening to 175 CDs of Country & Western music. I sure was blue since ya went away, baby!!!!!
Sometime between 4 and 5 o’clock, Marco would come in. Five minutes talking to a human being, and then he’d leave again, and again I was back with the shamWOW brigade, the childish politicians’ questions and “answers”, and Pastor Bob and Brother Rufus and Sister Mary Sue.
Finally, around 6 o’clock, I’d fall asleep, only to be woken a few minutes later by a new shift nurse all chirpy and happy and “rise-and-shine-ish”. It’s time for your morning meds!! I’d quietly and earnestly ask them to just close the blinds again, and please just let me sleep for a little longer, which they always would do. But then half an hour later, the catering staff would come in all – you guessed it – chirpy and happy – with breakfast. Again, please just let me sleep for a bit longer.
Anyway, L.O.S.T. C.A.U.S.E. So now it’s around 7:30, I’m up, eating breakfast, getting my 6 or 7 pills, and my daily blood thinning injection. And it’s a brand new day!!! Now I’m all chirpy and happy too, because I’m glad that the tedium of the night has passed, I’m glad I’ve actually made it through to another day, I’m still not really present to the danger I’m in, but most of all, I now have the new day’s Herald Sun, and the morning news programs have started on TV.
HELLO NEW DAY!!!! More about the routine in my next post – stand by!