Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life, the Kidney & Everything.

In recent years I kidded myself my life wasn't yet half over, that the best was yet to come, It's harder to do now. It presupposes I would live to 124, and that life would go on pretty much the same. The operation to remove a kidney and the potentially malignant growth attached should have been a wake up call.

I ignored it, I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep.

It is I suppose human nature to forget the pain and the fear. The growth on my kidney, predicted to be 95% cancerous, turned out benign. The relief brought tears to my eyes. I was not going to die. I felt saved, in total ignorance of the salient facts:
  1. I was left with one kidney
  2. It was polycystic.
  3. My post op function was 23% and decreasing.
My specialist had predicted (even before the operation as I remember it) I would need dialysis in 2-5 years. I ignored that too. It wasn't going to happen to me I told myself - but I knew it was bullshit. The ache in my side which led to the discovery and removal of the growth never really left me. Pain from the operational scar disguised it. As I got further from the op the ache receded became so gentle that any other minor pain or mental distraction could hide it. I can now sometimes convince myself it has gone or that it is unrelated to my failing kidney or that it was never there except in my imagination. Such is the power of self delusion.

I have at the same time become sensitive to every nuance of health, wondering if this or that slight change is a sign of the coming end for without doubt the end is coming. At 17% function I have been counseled to look at the future scenarios, transplant, dialysis or death. The last is not negotiable - I haven't finished my novel yet.

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