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.


  1. I love it. I didn't know about the 'Best Female Dialysis Athlete of the Games' - that's superb.

    Who will play you in the film? Sean Penn is attached to my life story, though the fact that he's twenty years older could prove a problem.

  2. Did Brendan get 'Best Dialysis Machine in a Supporting Role'?

  3. Reggie,

    Add on two extra medals for bravery and honesty. Saw your photo in the Tribune today, during my two week visit home to the wet and windy old sod. And all I can say is 'well done' on a million different levels. I've been 'sailing away from the safe harbour' this year, but you've been exploring far scarier territories and your honest reporting of your fears and frustrations, hopes and glories, has been phenomenal,


  4. Radge - It has been said that only one person could ever do justice to me on the big screen. Emily Bishop.

    Holemaster - Brendan is now guaranteed a good home after I'm done with him. As the machine that launched a champion, he will be much sought after.

    Ciaran - Thanks a million. I was amazed that I got to grace the pages of the Tribune. Few enough Mayo people are granted such an honour!
    I have been keeping up with your blog. Great writing. Sounds like you're living the dream. Fair play. I didn't have a choice to 'sail away from the safe harbour'. You did and you took the required leap. I reckon that takes more guts.

  5. "wouldn't run a bath" - I'm robbing this, tis only polite to let you know. Nearly forgot about you for a bit there, delighted for you and all them medals (the weight must be killing your neck). Off to catch up on the player half now, toodle pip.

  6. KFS - Rob away, my friend. The medals have not left my person since I stepped off the podium. Attracting strange looks. A tube in my tummy and a hunk of metal around my neck. Can't wait for Hallowe'en ;)