Friday, August 27, 2010

Keep your Secret

Lots of people talk to me about this book they call 'The Secret'.

It is one of those books that makes promises and is categorised beside the 'Self-Harm' section, under 'Self-Help' (I'm always getting those two mixed up).

Fans of 'The Secret' claim it provided them with the tools they required to pull the universe around to working in their favour. It landed them their dream job, got them through exams, made them a better person.

The trick, it appears is to tell the world what you want and then prepare yourself, i.e. "World, I want a bicycle, look I've bought the gear and everything".

For the single girl, it advises that the way to land yourself a man is to park to one side of the driveway, sleep on one side of the bed and clear out half the clothes in your wardrobe.

In other words, you make room in your life for that boy, and you ready yourself for his snoring, his taking over your closet space and his complaining that you can't park properly.

There are two hopes of me ever reading this book. One involves the unlikely scenario of one day finding there are no other words in the world left for me to read. The other involves being captured and held hostage and subjected to torture methods that integrate the use of it and other books as a means of extracting information from me.

However, I do have some time for a 'Field of Dreams' approach to getting my new kidney. I'm not talking about taking a scalpel to myself to show Beaumont I'm really, really ready for a transplant, but about positively projecting my hope that I will have a transplant by this time next year into action of some sort.

So I have taken some tentative steps in this direction. I have decided to start making plans for next summer. First on the list is to send in my application for tickets for Wimbledon. Maybe I will also make rough blueprints for a long holiday.

"If you build it, they will come"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A good night's sleep

I have referred in posts past to my impatience for gadgetry in all its forms and with all its false promises of an easier life.

If I were present at the invention of the wheel, my initial reaction would have been a shoulder shrug and a 'Meh, what's wrong with walking?'

While some don't like change, I tend to regard it with deep suspicion. I'm not sure why. It is probably an extension of my many insecurities or my general laziness. I do like to find a comfortable groove, nestle in and stay put.

It is for all of these reasons that everyone will one day be taken completely by surprise when I take over the world...but back to my point.

I don't like gadgets and new-fangled items, but I have stumbled upon a dialysis accessory which has revolutionised the way I have been sleeping for the past 400 or so nights, since I first brought Brendan home to meet my mother.

It's an extension set for the patient line - in healthy human terms, it is basically a longer line that connects me to Brendan, allowing me to keep him outside my bedroom if I wish.

I tried it out the last two nights and all I can say is separate bedrooms may be the key to a happy marriage, but it is also the key to a better relationship between one girl and her dialysis machine.

Word has it the health authorities don't tell us about these extension lines because they add extra expense to the already hefty bill rang up by APD patients.

I have some sympathy for this and I don't wish to cost the taxpayer any more money, but good sleeps make for healthier dialysis patients and that may end up costing the health services less in the future.

So if you are on APD and you're having trouble catching your zzzs, ask for some extension sets. It almost makes dialysis bearable.

PS My thanks to Milo Shaper for alerting me to the existence of these lines and to Sonia for providing some samples!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is it all relative?

And so she returned. Back from the front, still in one piece, having done her bit for dialysis patients everywhere.

That's one way to view it anyway. My participation at the European Transplant & Dialysis Games was at its core a mission of sorts, to prove that though the kidneys may have failed, the heart has not.

I emerged with five medals and the title of Best Female Dialysis Athlete of the Games. I cannot put into words how utterly hilarious I find this thought. A few years ago, I wouldn't have run a bath. Now I run distances for both enjoyment and to satisfy my competitive streak. That's what a diagnosis can do. What better time to choose life than when it is being tugged away from you?

It is beyond surreal, this latest twist in what has been two and half years of back to back dramatic episodes.

When I was in college, some philosopher type wrote a piece arguing that the phrase 'it's all relative' was redundant. Nothing, he argued is relative. In the case of his writing, he was referring to poverty. We should, he said compare our manner of living and our comforts with those in the third world. We are all humans, therefore we can make the direct comparison and take the guilt and the shame that would ensue rather than shrug it off with that relativity claim.

I thought he had a point, until last saturday night when I was out on a dancefloor at the ball to celebrate the end of our Games and I felt a happiness that I have not enjoyed for some time.

There I was, in my diminished physical state, thrilled to have had such success at an event that caters for those who are ill or who are being kept alive by an organ transplanted into their body by the magic of medical advancement.

The sheer madness of the moment and my response to it was not lost on me. This is what happiness is now. This is where it resides. Amongst new friends who are or once were in my situation, celebrating victories while living with what has been the greatest loss of my life so far.

So maybe it is all relative.

Monday, August 9, 2010


My writings recently have been niggardly.

Not down to laziness or ill health, but due to the arrival at last of the Transplant & Dialysis Games bandwagon into town.

So far, I've done a lot of talking and little in the way of participating, but that will all change tomorrow.

I don't expect to come away with any shiny objects around my neck, but I do hope to do myself and Brendan proud.

I'll let you know how it goes when I complete my lap of honour next weekend (no mean feat when you're dragging a machine behind you).