Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The creation of a monster

I am thinking about what I want to do after my tranpslant.

Wake up.

That’s first on the list.

Eat, pray, love. That’s what the book which became a major motion picture advises.

Only I won’t be able to eat for fear of the obesity epidemic that is prevalent amongst the post-transplant community.

And only I won’t pray, because I don’t believe. But I will bear an eternal and enduring sense of gratitude for my donor. I will think often of that person, probably at the most significant moments that await me in the coming years. I will live my best life for them as well as for myself.

I will love, and love better than I have of late, because I will be free of the bitterness that currently colours my relationships with my friends; I will also have shaken off the monkey on my back that has made me selfish and unwilling to give too much of myself to my family.


This is the year dot again. My new life will be one long holiday. The destinations are lined up in my head. Weekends to start with, not too far from home. Then long-haul. All the way to the other side of the world, to places where dialysis has never even been heard of.


To be free to go out for a walk without my mobile phone. Or be free to not worry about the fact the film is showing in one of the lower floor cinemas in Dundrum where there is no reception. Or decide I just don’t feel like talking to anyone today, so I’m going to turn the damned thing off.


On my tummy. Without being attached to a machine. Once the pain of surgery has passed, this will be my single greatest joy.


I will be that proud of my scar and that delighted to be without tube, I foresee a lot of flashing and invitations – nay, commands - of “here you, look at my tummy”.

You have been warned.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes

From the time she got her crawling and walking in gear, and the time she could form all the wonder in her mind into words, Grace has toddled down the hallway when I arrive home for a visit, and she has looked at my machine.

She has seen much - as all kids do nowadays - since she was born in a millennium and a decade with more zeros than sense. She knows how to use a mobile phone and a DVD player and an ipod and her favourite toy for a long time was her Peppa Pig laptop.

But this machine was different to her, entirely mysterious, if only for the fact that as far as she was concerned, I was the only person in the whole world who had one.

And when you're 2 years old, you think you want everything that everyone else has.

She has always questioned, and I have tried to frame all of my illness into a simple answer, using the language of a children's television presenter.

I've never been certain that she understood.

But on Saturday, when I planted my machine down as normal, she didn't ask anything. She gave me all the answers.

"That's your machine, Gina. It'll make you feel better, cos you're sick".

Ya. That got me.

I often find it is when other people speak about my situation that I get most upset. My life is what it is, and I live it, but when it is a story to be told by others who love me, I see it all through their eyes and it breaks my heart.

But hearing Grace say it. Well, that was worse somehow. Maybe because I have always liked to think she was one of the few who looked at me like I wasn't ill, like I was whole.

Now she knows too.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Here I am again

Firstly, in case any of you opened this post, expecting to read glad tidings, I'm afraid the return of my words to these pages has not been prompted by a transplant.

Believe me, I wish it was.

I am back because I missed this, and because I have nowhere else to go with what is an increasingly weighty burden. After two and half years of dialysis, I have exhausted the shoulders to cry on, the sympathetic ears of friends who are leaving me behind.

That's not fair. I am letting them go on ahead.

Old news, that's what my plight is. Everywhere around me, friends are moving on and taking exciting turns into new jobs, new chapters of neatly laid-out lives, births and marriages, travels and experiences.

And I stay standing still.