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Preview: The Adventures of Stacy Without An E

The NEW Adventures of Stacy (Without An E)



Three kidney transplants. A decade of Dialysis. One ailing soul. This is my respite, my haven, my intellective cove. This is where all the damaged bits scatter in hopes of becoming whole. I'll rave, I'll rant, I'll offend & hopefull



Updated: 2017-02-26T16:13:32.125-08:00

 



Fitfully, Frightfully, Frantically

2014-09-07T00:54:15.807-07:00

I'm trying to make sense of it all.  Everything.  Completely.  Without regret.And yet, it escapes me.Dialysis has been rambunctious lately.  He waits, diligently, counting the ever prsent minutes until my forlorn return.  For he knows I will; I can't, but I must.As the miles roll by & the minutes click by I make my way to Dialysis, four days a week, three hours at a time.Some days I'm having a gloriously entertaining time.  A smile erupts, a laugh ensues.  For a mere shred of a moment of a sliver of time, happiness shines joy and frivolity in my direction.But Dialysis rips that from my existence with frivolous glee.  It struts and frets its way upon the clinic floor, laying waste to everything I hold dear.The lidocaine burns.  The scabs prevail.  And as the needles infiltrate my helpless access, I submit fully to its overhwhelming strength over my life.That's when the giggling begins unabated.Dialysis mocks and murmurs his cursed language of pain and suffering.  He cowers in the shadows of the recesses of the clinic floor.  Always patient, always present.Around minute forty-two is when he first strikes his imminent wave of relentless burning pain.First my arm, and then my eyes are forced to bear witness to his C-shaped frame, stringy green hair and pointy toothed grin.  He would be comical if he weren't so evil.In the past times, the early years, the times when I didn't know any better, he would bound vertically again and again and again when he witnessed the first signs of my giving in.A bead of sweat would tickle him.  A squeezing of the eyes would excite him.  If I were to suddenly flail about in the chair, he would do barrel rolls in the aisle.This is my life.  This is where I am.  This is what I've become.I will occasionaly glance around the clinic floor and observe that Dialysis never seems to bother with other patients when I'm on the scene.  Everyone else seems content to sleep, or read, or watch TV with nary a twitch to what they're experiencing at that very moment.For whatever reason, I'm "special."Pain is my friend, my companion, my soulmate upon the journey now.  It comforts me and reminds me that I'm still breathing, still thriving, still existing in spite of myself.And yet, that's just not enough.Dialysis is a thief with no remorse.  Friendships diminish.  Careers go haywire.  Simple tasks with minimal energy take hours to complete.  Some days all I'm left with is festering anger and lingering remorse over what might have been.And that's really no way to express one's life.  Hope for the future.  Hope for a kidney.  Hope for a resurrection of titanic proportions.Its really all I've got left.[...]



The Evildoers of Dialysis

2014-09-07T01:04:59.390-07:00

If you're about to start Dialysis, there is one absolutely, positively, unbridaled fact that no one will tell you.Not the nurses. Not your nephrologist.No one in the administrative staff will step up and state this clearly and unequivocally.I was certainly not informed. I wish I had been. I could have prepared more effectively.You're going to be seated next to assholes. And douchebags. Doucheholes and assbags.Think about all the people you meet in everyday life. What percentage do you believe fit into the above categories?Maybe you're nicer than me (most probably) or more accepting of others (I hope so) but after over seven years of forced occupation with some of these cretins, I believe I have become a bonafide expert.Is every patient a jerk? Of course not. I don't tend to socialize at treatment simply because my psyche associates every living creature, every piece of equipment to be pure, bloodied evil.But that's just me. I have serious issues.There just happens to be individuals who will inflict their will on you, regardless of good manners, proper etiquette, or just good old fashioned courtesy.Which brings me to the point of this post:*** The Top 3 Evildoers of Dialysis ***3) The Godfather of FartsSaturdays are chaotic at Dialysis, and its no fault of the staff. Most of the time, everyone is running late because knuckleheads who've missed treatment during the week call at the last minute and whine about needing a treatment.If you missed appointments anywhere else, they would tell you to fuck off and slam the phone down.But not at Dialysis. Unfortunately.I'm usually a Monday, Wednesday, Friday patient, so I know who to expect when I enter the rancid floor.But because my pussy body can't make it through the weekend, I add an extra day to the treatment week.That's right, I allow Dialysis to ruin my weekends.So instead of patients like Neckish Princess and Petite Raven Hair, I'm forced to endure the Godfather of Farts.I am going to make an assumption about this individual, so bear with me.His diet led him to Dialysis.From the moment he enters, he's farting. And not just run-of-the-mill, all-American, I-just-had-Chicken-McNuggets and a loaf of cheese farts. I must take a moment now and quote my hero, George Carlin:"The kind of fart that could strip the varnish off a foot locker. A fart that could end a marriage."The ventilation system at my clinic is non-existent, so clouds of farts hang around him.Hugging him. Cherishing him. Asking for more toxic farts.And if this gentleman walked into any Italian bar, he would be welcome with open arms because he looks just like Marlon Brando in "The Godfather." You'd have to do a double blink and roll your fists into your eyes and glance again. Its astonishing really.He also likes to mock patients when they're in pain, so maybe he should be higher on the list.2) Masturbating Fred FlintstoneIf Raven Haired Temptress hadn't informed me of his behavior, I probably wouldn't have noticed. Once I'm leaned back into my chair, the laptop flies open so I can lose myself in the latest attempt at a blockbuster from Hollywood.He wears plaid shorts and no underwear. Once treatment starts, his rainbow blanket flies over his body, Telemundo gets switched on and this guy goes to town.I feel bad for the staff when it comes to patients like this. How do you even broach the subject?And does he ever wash that blanket?Since his hygeine is also in questions (how difficult is it to shower more than once a week) I'm going to guess, hmm, less than never.1) Jabba the HuttWho could be worse than a chronic farter & addictive masturbator?Welcome to the human form of Jabba the Hutt.From the moment he enters, the flip flops fly off and he's shuffling around barefoot.To those not aware, here's what he could be stepping in:Blood. Vomit. Feces. Spit. And, since the masturbator is on my shift, apparently semen.I understand taking your shoes off because your feet are swollen. Occasionaly, I'm forced to do that. But prancing around barefoot? He also eats the entire time he's there. Candy a[...]



The Pain of Lidocaine

2014-09-07T01:06:07.530-07:00

I am a wimp. A fool. A terrestrial being with nothing extra about him.For what seems like an exponential lifetime, I have been a Dialysis patient. There is no B.D. (before Dialysis) anymore. Its been too long. Too hard. Too infinite.Childhood, college, the beginning of my career. They all seem like chapters from a book that I checked out from the library ages ago.All the facets that melded those memories into one cohesive whole: happiness, joy, triumph; they're all just forgotten words now.But its about to become tremendously worse.For ages, I've used lidocine to ease my pain. You're right. I'm one of those geniuses of the highest order who receives two needle sticks.Before two needle sticks.Excessive? Sure. Redundant? Definately.But totally, and without a doubt, necessary.When the lidocaine misses its intended target, the main needle shrieks in terror as it enters my helpless arm.Every. Single. Time.You would think any normal human being (i.e. not me) would adjust to this psychologically. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.My Fear of needles has become a massively disgusting mass of burden upon my shoulders. It festers there, cowers, whimpers in pain whether a Tech knows their business or not.Word was given to me on bleach white paper that lidocaine is "not allowed in cases where a buttonwhole access is concerned."It was highlighted in colorful, mocking orange. As though I would have missed it otherwise.Chatty Cathy Nurse walked to my side and asked if I had read this."Yes," I said as I gathered my crappy possessions. "But I don't believe in it."As if that would have ended it right there. I could only hope.She was bounding with verbal, anxious speech. That's actually how she always speaks."We had a meeting and that rule is supposed to be followed."I grabbed my items and shoved the strap over my shoulder, knocking Fear from its perch."No lidocaine. No Dialysis. I'll stop if I have to."There was no emotion in my voice. No waver in my step.Chatty Cathy Nurse made that sound she always makes when she's not sure how to respond: "Aaah...ohhh..."I'm sure Happy, Smiley manager will lose those adjectives from her face when she hear this, but Lidocaine has been my only friend in the fight against Fear.My psyche is held together with second tier Scotch tape and fractured, muddied shoelaces. You take away one of the few friends I have in that Haunting Haven of Hell (TM 2011) and my edge will have been reached."I'll stop if I have to."That isn't an empty threat filled with shallow nonchalance. It is the truth as I know it on this day, the twenty fifth of July, two thousand eleven.[...]



In the Beginning

2014-09-07T01:07:08.315-07:00

There was a rambunctious Sperm and a reclusive Ovum. The Sperm was charming and funny. The Ovum, quiet, yet intelligent. And a little wacky.

There were rivers of Sperm and islands of Ovum, but these two particular individuals felt their pairing was bathed in the bastion of Fate.

The Sperm felt comfortable and welcome in the warm embrace of this particular Ovum, there was no denying it.

At the moment the Ovum decided that no other Sperm would venture into her womb, something electrical happened that was quite unexpected.


Life began.

It was undeniable that these two forces of unapologetic nature would come together to create another. Fate deemed it so.

And so Fate, with all its immense power and glory over the futile lives of man, shifted ever so slightly.

In the grand scheme of Creation, it was so minscule as to be unwarranted for further moments of discussion.

But we shall. Here. Now. Without regret or blame.

For something went horribly wrong.

The fusion of love and happenstance should have fused together to create something joyous and pure. Something innocent and unfettered.

Something the Universe could tower proudly over and declare, "At least I got this right goddamnit!"

But Fate had other plans.

Fate deems all other rules negated by its own.

Fate vomits on hopes, dreams and possibilities.

Fate trashes those it deems unworthy to live a life worth living.

Many will point and mock and deem Fate non-existent, for they can't grab it with their pudgy little fingers and shove it down their ungodly throats.

I am living proof that they are so very, very wrong.

What began as bursts of frivolity, splashed upon the face of an unblemished young boy, quickly morphed into discovery of the true nature of Pain.

The first piercing needle was never as bad as the last.

Fate determining that I should experience that about 127 minutes ago.

One rambunctious Sperm. One reclusive Ovum.

Nothing but Fate in-between.

And so, it goes.



The Terrific Tale of the Transplant Listiversary

2014-09-07T01:09:00.731-07:00

Through the folds of imagination and misery, please travel back with me to the wily time of March 2004. Spring was blossoming into a ravishing young woman, about to use her comely wiles to entice Winter to leave his magnificent throne of Weather. Down upon the skin of Planet Earth, humans were battling one another continuously over who could acquire the most meaningless mass of material, not realizing each acquisition was biting away at their ever deflated Soul.It is within these constructs that we join our Protagonist, Happy-Go-Lucky Stacy.For what he lacked in stature and mass, he made up for in personality and whimsy. Every day he would use technology to broadcast his thoughts over magical airwaves of sound, infuriating and entertaining at every possible turn.Evenings were especially rambunctious, for Happy-Go-Lucky Stacy filled them with ravishing women of beauty and brilliance, giggling and dancing as they ransacked the town.But as Fate struck midnight, all would change. And not for the better.Statements on-air became forgetful and rambling. What was once food both tasty and vibrant, exited just as quickly, vile and unwanted.A doctor both portly and friendly, brimming with knowledge and depth, thrust a tiny sword into Stacy's reluctant upper arm and gathered a massive amount of Blood Red Soul.Happy-Go-Lucky Stacy knew the answer, for the Doctor's face was mired in doubt."Your CKD has caused CKF. So I'm recommending HD, ASAP, before you end up DOA and don't PAY."Apparently our Mighty Doctor was in a hurry, for she felt that acronyms would suffice for her Tiny Peon Patient.Happy-Go-Lucky Stacy had created, unwillingly, a wonderfully tasty soup of Fear and Loathing and allowed it to brew for eight weeks before giving in to the horrific creature known as Dialysis.Upon entering Dialysis' Castle of Forgotten Souls, Happy-Go-Lucky Stacy felt his adjectives becoming weak. "Happy" scurried away with tears in his eyes. "Go" bolted for the wrong door, slammed himself into a closet, and stayed there until the custodial staff arrived. "Lucky" instantly burst into a million forlorn pieces and hasn't been seen or heard from since.So with each step lonelier than the last, Stacy entered the cavernous dwelling of disaster, and was met by his twisted host.He was shaped awkwardly like the letter "C" with a tiny, slender frame. Barely noticeable hands and miniature feet jutted from each end of his alphabet frame. They continuously moved and gyrated, begging for the use of appendages that were never to be.At the top end of his body, an oval mass of flesh served as his head. Wiry and dry, his green stained hair whisked in all different directions when he spoke. When he smiled, every tooth was shaped hopelessly like a sharp letter "V", giving way to stains from colors not yet named.With every step Stacy made closer to the dungeoned chair, Dialysis would bound from wall to wall, laughing and screaming with unmitigated delight."Yyyyyoooooouuuuuuuu...." Its as though each letter of the word possessed its own syllable."...wwwiiilllllll NEVER, HA! NEVER, never...NEVER MIND! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"Stacy would have spoken up, and called him crazy, but that seemed utterly redundant.Stacy finally reached his Over Sized Clown Chair, and Dialysis stopped moving for just one moment. He planted himself right at Stacy's feet and slowly moved his excuse for a head from one end of Stacy's body to the other. Stacy could finally peer through Dialysis' hair to find there were holes where eyes should have been."The women, ha!" He could barely contain himself now."The women. The happy. And all between, are now, ha!"The chair reached out and swallowed Stacy whole. Every inch of his body melted into the fabric so he couldn't escape. Dialysis' raised his hands in the air like an epic conductor. Two needles, brimming with fire and tubing, snaked their way across the dungeon floor.Once they reached Stacy's chair, Dialysis motioned for them to strike his arm with unr[...]



My Soul, Is Bled

2011-01-10T22:20:42.368-08:00

My Soul bleeds for Red Kisses from formidable women. The passionate kind you take to your grave.

My Soul bleeds of Childhood, once rich and fulfilling. Yanked from my existence with a diluted expression of nonchalance. The years stretch the moments, ignoring their intimacy, and unending value.

My Soul bleeds upon the Present, so stale and unaffected. Every moment a photo, faded with embers and dust. I desperately try to grasp them together, but they crumble through my fingers, forever gone.

My Soul bleeds Anger, thick, with resolve. For those who torment me with ignorant rantings, contained within their spews of verbal diarrhea.

My Soul bleeds through Needles, long and foreboding. My last resolve from the omnipresent Harbinger of Death.

My Soul bleeds Indignation for those festering with complacence. The ones who treat patients like pennies in fountains, disposable creatures tossed aside without care.

My Soul bleeds for the Future, so daunting, so uncertain, so mired, so true.



Hopefully Hopeful Hope

2010-11-10T22:14:39.229-08:00

Hope can be a perilous thing.Too little, and Despair crawls out from the depths of your Soul and mires you downward.Too much, and you're a delusional fool.On Tuesday, November 9th, I was invited to take a trip to the beating heart of the Bay Area, San Francisco. The UCSF Medical Center is roughly two miles southeast of Golden Gate Park.Once inside, I made my way to the 7th Floor of 400 Parnassus Avenue. I took the stairs because elevators are home to body odors of unimaginable strength and duration.The Surgeon, Social Worker, Financial and Transplant Coordinator's seemed pleased to see me.After six and a half years of Life Crushing Dialysis, Hope had made its presence known.I'm at the top of the UCSF Transplant Ready List. Fucking go time.When I arrived home later that day, I heard something whimpering in the far corner of my bedroom, under my Fortress of Solitude. (That's what I call my bed, for obvious reasons.)I knelt down and pulled back the comforter that was blocking my view underneath. My computer bag, duffel bag, and veteran backpack were all resting comfortably in their usual locations.But the whimpering continued. Louder. Filled with suffering and pain.I moved my meager possessions aside and grabbed my portable flashlight. I had to find out what the hell was going on.His eyelids cowered in the direct light. His body moved side to side abruptly, attempting to avoid the invasion.He was a round little fuzzball, about the size of a regulation baseball. He appeared to be originally snow white, but years of neglect had darkened him with the dust and dank of time."Hey, I remember you," I said in my softest voice possible. "Its okay. I promise I'll be nice."His eyes widened and he turned his back to me. I hadn't been very kind to him in the past."Listen to me very carefully. I...won't...yell. I...promise."I reached my hand slowly under the bed and placed my palm upward. My fingers acknowledged it was okay to approach.For what seemed like an eternity passed before he budged an inch. Trust was being formed, but it would take time.Eventually, but slowly at first, he rolled his frail figure closer and closer to my hand.Finally, success.Once in my hand, I could feel the caked on dirt. It smelled of neglect.I slowly brought him into the light. We smiled at one another. No other words needed to be spoken.Hope was alive. Less than healthy, but alive nonetheless.An hour later, Hope was on the top shelf of my bookcase with an incredible view of the room. I had gently, with great care, cleaned him. Before I was nearly done, he started to giggle. Apparently it tickled.Suddnely his face furrowed and he looked as though he might finally speak.He wanted to know where I had been.The story spewed out of me. Recklessly. Furiously. With abandon and hate.I spoke of Dialysis and His resurgence in my Life. His macaroni shaped body, covered in lesions and sores, had reappeared with a vengeance this past year.Each treatment was the same, creating a tapestry of woe and misery I keep to myself. Every evening, roughly an hour in, He would clamp down on my fistula with His razor sharp teeth and leave me blinded by insufferable pain.There was no relief.In times like these, Asshole Stacy resurfaces. He's not a pleasant guy. His weapons are words filled with vitriol and spite.Much like a sobering drunk, once treatment ceases, he fades into the seams, apologetic and shamed.He's the one that brings the Evil Thoughts.Over the years, I've experienced many, many comic books and superhero films.When I was a child, the division was so easy to understand. As a young boy, I rooted for the hero and pitied the villian. That was the way of things in my young, naive brain. I could never quite grasp how the antagonist could be so very bad.Dialysis has taught me otherwise.I understand Evil. I've basked in its shadow and thrilled to its strength. It can be so very delightful in its unending machinations.[...]



An Open Letter to the Parking Lot Criminals @ Dialysis

2010-03-22T21:52:12.057-07:00

Sometimes I have incredible timing without even trying.Sometimes the Universe seems like its on my side, if only for a few fleeting moments.One of those occurrences was tonight.Post-treatment turned out to be better than I expected. For the last five excruciating days, no one could figure out why I was having equilibrium issues. My world was spinning, or dizziness was rampant.Once your blood has been removed and replaced for three hours, you certainly don't feel right.In fact, as the months and years bleed together, they create a river of memories that seem to flow against what the mind can remember clearly.Its another sacrifice you make for staying alive. Sometimes its worth it. Other times, it never will be.But a moment of happiness gave me a fleeting hug as I rose from the chair. I felt better.Better than I have for over a week.I quickly gathered my belongings and hightailed it out of there.You don't want to give Dialysis a chance to see you happy. He deplores that.The glass encrusted clinic doors has just returned to their original position when I see an elderly Winnebago crawling past my baby.I start walking slower toward the parking lot because I want all my faculties concentrated on this particular moment.As the vehicle blocked my view of my little defenseless truck, someone in the passenger seat shone a very bright flashlight into the cab.I continued my trek toward my truck at a normal speed.Damn. The driver spotted me.The light was quickly extinguished and they sped off as fast as a poorly maintained Winnebago can.There is a giant sign in front of my clinic, and one over the entrance.They knew who they were fucking with.There is a special layer of existence below Hell. Its called Super-Double-Probation-Hell.Hitler is there. So is Idi Amin. Pol Pot seems to enjoy it.There's even a spot reserved for every cast member of the deplorable "According to Jim."But stealing from a Dialysis patient? That's famously, ridiculously, mind numbingly low.First off, its stupid. Most Dialysis patients have very little, and stealing their meager possessions won't net you any income.Secondly, the individuals housed within the walls of that section of office park have experienced enough indignities in their life. Why would you tempt Fate with such an action?I got lucky this time. But any time something like this occurs, I do my best to ask myself, "What have I learned from this particular moment?"So tonight, and only tonight, I have to thank you.Because I walked into treatment around 5pm and left my wallet in the truck.You would have had over three hours to use my debit and credit cards until they were depleted.Most days I'm hanging on a by a thin thread of composure, ready to be broken by any sudden downturn in circumstances.But now that I know individuals like you exist in this particular neighborhood, I can guarantee you if you decide to break into my Blue Bombshell, you'll be walking away with gauze and a can of WD-40.And when you are caught (and you will be caught) I'm hopeful your life will become that very deplorable episode of "Oz" where your body is used as a human pin cushion and the inmates can't stop poking you.If you catch my drift.But again, thanks for the heads up.[...]



The Dialysis Crystal Ball

2010-03-21T22:30:55.163-07:00

I am really disheartened by my Dialysis clinic lately.And, as usual, it comes down to the Almighty Dollar.I imagine the Clinic Manger and the Board of Directors sitting around a giant conference room table, laughing and chortling, sipping champagne and cheering loudly. All the while, a nine foot tall, silver and fuzzy Dollar Sign sits at the head of the table smoking a stogy with a giant smile on his face.As every minute passes, another cutback ensues, and the Dollar Sign grows in size and volume.Keep in mind, my center continues to extol their virtue as a non-profit Clinic.To me, that means every dollar earned goes back into the Center.Or so I assumed.Cutback #1:After the first of the year, instead of using anti-bacterial sheets to clean the chairs of feces, vomit, mucous, blood, urine, lice, dandruff, skin flakes, ass flakes, alcoholic beverages and Cheetos, the staff has been informed to use paper towels and bleach.I'm going to glance into the future with my Dialysis Crystal Ball and see this move to its final conclusion. By the end of the year, a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water will be sprayed over the chair and wiped off with one swipe.Infections will run rampant. Patients will corpse up routinely. But God willing, we'll save some money on treatment.Cutback #2:As any veteran Dialysis patient will tell you, Plastic Tape was created to hold needles firmly in place. What they may not mention is, Plastic Tape is pure Evil.Tubes and tubes of Neosporin has been slathered on inches and inches of forearms to cover the painful areas where human skin has been removed.Last month, I started to ask Stilted Accent Tech, Jolly Happy Tech, and Very Merry Tech to start using Awesome Paper Tape on my needles. They were hesitant, because honestly, those aren't the rules. But after six years of soul stealing Dialysis treatments, I do get my way sometimes.Unfortunately, not long after this became routine, Evil Paper Tape debuted.Although appearing the same as Awesome Paper Tape, Evil Paper Tape happily, merrily steals skin from your poor, unwilling body.Apparently there are two tons of this cheap, abusive product in the back offices of the clinic. You can hear it giggling to itself when you use the Far Side Bathroom.I believe its use to be twofold.1) It saves hundreds upon thousands on top of hundreds of dollars to use.2) It is part of a clinic wide venture to steal each patients DNA and use it for military purposes.Somewhere in the middle of the New Mexico desert, there is a hidden complex where each and every patient's DNA is collected, treated, and then repaired to remove the kidney failure.In place of that malady, they place military knowledge and combat experience. Those individuals are deposited in a nearby country whose mineral resources we desperately need.But I digress.Cutback #3:If you are a patient at our clinic on Saturday, God help you.In the worst example of Dialysis Economics in 2010, there is not enough staff to cover all the patients that need to be treated.The last three Saturdays it has taken forty-five minutes to get hooked up.Remember the first years of cinema, where everyone's actions were sped up because the technology of film hadn't been fully created?That's what the staff looks like every single Saturday.The math tells the story. Less staff = More mistakes = Mortality rises.The Dialysis Crystal Ball is now brightly luminous. Dark clouds and sharp lightning fill the interior. The thunder is deafening as the storm of Dialysis Future begins...Dialysis ChairsBefore the end of 2010, Dialysis chairs will no longer be provided. They're too expensive to clean and repair, so patients will be forced to bring their own chair.For those in wheelchairs, that's the chair you will be assigned. If your blood pressure bottoms out and you need to lie back, quite frankly, you're on your own.The [...]



Glomerulonephritis: The Musical

2010-03-21T22:31:26.703-07:00

As the final guests envelope their seats, they have no idea they are about to bare witness to something extraordinary, finite and beautiful.Whether you believe the theater to be nostalgic or classic, it doesn't matter. It dates back to an earlier time, when stage performances were fully appreciated.But for now, the lights have dimmed and an eerie silence blankets the audience into submission.Before anyone can catch their breath, a single, solitary spotlight fills the middle of the stage.It is white and bright and gives life to our setting.The curtain opens to find the stage empty, soulless. Except for a single, generic hospital bed.To the left of this metaphoric coffin, an IV pole with a fluid bag dangling helplessly from the top.Cradling the right, an EKG monitor with a screen large enough for the entire audience to see the large chromatic BLIP dotting the video's landscape.The figure lying perilously in the bed, his upper torso angled up thirty degrees, is STACY WITHOUT AN E.A low hum can be heard emanating from the orchestra for what seems like an eternity.No movement. The mood is uneasy.Slowly, and effortlessly, STACY'S torso rises from the bed, resting in a position perpendicular to the bed.The spotlight moves upward from where it had been placed the entire time, the bottom portion of the bed, to reveal the face of our protagonist. His eyes, closed. The face, unremarkable.In perfect falsetto, he begins.STACY(slow and deliberate)Glom...er...u...lo...neph-right-is.Its...so...wonderful...to...say.The bed slowly wheels itself, along with the accompanying equipment, to the front of the stage.The orchestra begins to follow the syllables, using as few instruments as possible.(slightly faster now, still in falsetto)Glomerulonephritis.It will stake your day.STACY flings off his hospital assigned blankets and slidSe off the audience's right side of the bed.The BLIP of the EKG begins to increase in speed, if only slightly.STACYGlomerulonephritis.Its a curse, not a blessing.STACY moves in front of the bed and we observe that he's only wearing a hospital gown. His upper left arm is wrapped tightly with gauze and its soaked with blood. He motions toward the reddened part of his arm.STACYGlomerulonephritis.Just take a glance at this rude dressing.The orchestra begins to slide all their instruments together, building toward an inevitable crescendo.The full stage lights rise to reveal a giant, six foot tall, fully formed DIALYSIS FILTER to the left of STACY, beginning to dance to the full musical power of the band.STACYGlomerulonephritis!My body's filled with hurt!From the right side of the stage dances an equally giant, six foot tall, fully formed HYPODERMIC NEEDLE. All we can see of each character is the lower portion of their legs, jutting out from their bodies, dancing in sync with the music.STACYGlomerulonephritis!How long before I'm dirt!?As STACY danced in unison with the characters on stage, he spins around to reveal the back of his hospital gown.And the fact the he's not wearing anything underneath.The continual BLIP of the EKG is keeping in pace with the music as joy and despair fuse into one incredible, unified dance.STACYGlomerulonephritis!You'll wish for cool, clean Death!Suddenly, two six foot tall, fully formed KIDNEY'S enter from each side of the stage.STACYGlomerulonephritis!You'll beg for your last breath!STACY instantly stops dancing. The TWO KIDNEYS, once dancing with the DIALYSIS FILTER and HYPODERMIC NEEDLE, have pushed them forward into the orchestra. The instruments create a voluminous crashing sound, bringing the entire show to a halt.As STACY begins to crawl back into bed, the TWO KIDNEYS dance slowly, arm in arm. The EKG BLIP returns in sound to a body fully at rest.Its beautiful and shocking simultaneously.STACY(his voice returning to falsetto)Glomerulo[...]



The Stacy Dialysis Patient Awards 2010

2010-03-21T22:33:33.367-07:00

I often have people of the internet persuasion ask me why I'm so angry at the patients at my clinic all the time.For those of you not on Dialysis, let me answer hypothetically:Imagine you're wandering around the downtown of your city. Gather forty-seven of the nearest people you can and plop each of them into a giant, oversized chair. They must each stay in the seat they're assigned for the next three hours. They can't move. They can't change chairs.And neither can you.Some will mutter endlessly about nothing in particular. Others will go to the bathroom right in their chair.A few haven't bathed since the Bicentennial. One seems to have a wonderful stale anchovie, burnt Spam musk to him.The entire time your senses are on overload. Wasted flourescent light from above will bathe down upon you mercilessly.Being placed among forty-seven other strangers isn't fun, is it?And that ladies and gents, is why we're here tonight. And why these awards are necessary.Each winner on tonights show will win a FAPA."Fucking Annoying Patient Award."Once awarded, each winner will be handed a doll-like Dialysis chair. In said chair will be a figurine with its head up its ass.The entire award is wrapped in gauze and stained with my personal blood, sweat, and tears. All wonderfully excreted by me because of your intolerable actions.Good luck to all of our winners.WTF Are You Thinking AwardAnd the winner is: Chippette Voiced Goon.I have a regimen I follow every single, stinking (and I mean that literally) time I enter the clinic. Once I forcefully place my items in the ridiculously oversized clown chair, I proceed to the bathroom. I can still urinate once or twice a day, so I like to empty it before I weigh in and get started.What has happenned the last six times? Miss Chippette doesn't lock the door.Imagine having that image burned into your memory for the remainder of all existence. Tiny, shriveled frame seated on the toilet counting God knows what on her fingers.The best part is when she walks past my chair. Her nose is slightly elevated and her spine is straight, straddling by like I should be proud of what I've witnessed.Nose Thumb of the Year AwardAnd the winner is: Bushy Moustached DudeOnce the needles are inserted and my blood is being ripped from my soul, I like to settle in to a great movie or well crafted TV show to take me away from this torcherous cave.I'll admit. My first mistake was glancing upward.Bushy Moustache always sits perpindicular to me, about four chairs away.Every single time I make the eternal mistake to glance up in his direction, that thumb is jutting in and out of the right nostril.Its worse when he finds something.He likes to place said nasal Gold on the side of his chair.Does he bury them in his garden at home? Does he create a Lego hut for them in his living room?I don't really know and I couldn't care less.And people wonder why I don't bring food to the clinic anymore.Dirty Look of the Year AwardAnd the winner is: Raven Haired Temptress.RHT is a petite little thing with jaw length raven hair, full pouting lips, and a sour look on her face every time I have smiled in her direction.You may remember Angelic Blonde Babe used to do the same thing. She received a kidney from her sister, so I don't receive dirty looks from her any longer.One day they seated us directly across from each other. It seemed like every time I looked up, she was staring at me.I imagine she was thinking, "Who is this skinny fucker across from me? Fuck off with your appreciative, yet harmless glances."Yeah, that's exactly what she was thinking.Once she was finished and was sauntering out of the clinic, she shot me the Dirtiest Look Ever. She took extra effort to crumple up her face completely, her eyes dripping with anger.As her punishment, or due reward, I haven't glan[...]



The Precious Toll of Dialysis

2010-03-21T22:34:11.533-07:00

5 years, 9 months and one week.

Such an arbitrary amount of time.

Its all mine. And yet, it isn't.

It was ripped from the fabric of my life and morphed into an alternate time line of insufferable suffering.

Through the power of regret, lets travel back to the fall of 2004.

I was thirty-four years old, in good shape and enjoying the lifestyle afforded me by my radio career.

Translation: I was at the top of my game.

Her name was Rene and I had stopped dating other women to spend time with her exclusively. She was an enchanting little redhead who drove me literally insane. She was sarcastic and silly and could have been the poster child for quirky.

My favorite kind of woman.

"You've just got a little flu bug. It'll pass."

That was the last time I saw her smile.

When I finally tried to explain my condition and all the wonderfully annoying idiosyncrasies involved, she bolted.

The last words I spoke to her were "cough, cough" as her Road Runner smoke filled my once pleasure filled bedroom.

At the time, I was angry. Today? I believe she's one smart cookie.

Little did I know that 5 years, 9 months and one week later, she would be the first of many luxuries that would slip through the tattered fabric of my life.

We now return to Stacy Prime, already in progress.

The one aspect of Dialysis that those with stethoscopes adorning their necks fail to want to talk about is The Toll. The price your body will pay over and over and over again until you're left with a shell of an existence so abhorrent, you'll beg for Death to come.

Sure, there are certain aspects I can learn to live with. Going legally blind in one eye. Vomiting up at least one meal a day. Giving up jogging because my joints are shot. Ceasing to date because my skin is so revolting.

At some point you simply have to give in and wave the white flag of indignity and realize certain aspects of your life are lost to the grip of Dialysis.

But that isn't the worst of it.

Its that you slowly start to lose the one friend you knew had your back regardless of what Dialysis ripped from your soul.

Your mind.

"Well, at least you're alive," is always the mantra of the Overly Cheerful Psychologist.

Wonderfully whiny pablum. Was that cliche stuck between the seat cushions where so many hopes and dreams go to die?

Until you've endured The Wash. The completely soulless, life crushing, demonizing Wash, I don't wish to hear about "being alive."

Before this escapade into the Abyss, I was energetic, quick witted and prone to bouts of silliness the bounds of which you'll never know.

For he's gone now. Sucked out of my existence like so much toxic blood.

I liked him. I miss him. And now, because of 5 years, 9 months and one week, I can barely remember him at all.

All things being equal, that's the Precious Toll
of Dialysis.



A Raw Nerve at the End of a Bleeding Vein

2010-03-21T22:34:28.416-07:00

Dialysis is abhorrent. A virus upon humanity. A festering cyst of insanity. Disgraceful and disgusting, lacking any and all social decorum.

Its home to drug addicts, criminals, and the criminally insane. Schlubs who were too lazy to monitor their blood sugar. Clinically obese knuckleheads who couldn't stop shoveling craptacular food down their overexpanding gullets.

The stench of regret and loneliness permeates the walls. The toilets cry out in fear from the raw sewage flushed down their throats. Ceilings rise and fall in perfect sync to the ever increasing waves of Death.

There are those with colorful pamphlets with cartoonish drawings that will extol the virtues of the entire process. Their eyes tell the lies for them.

Hope vanished after the final brick was laid. Promise and prosperity evaporated just as quickly. Faith in the future was dead on arrival.

Some nights I awaken to visions of little old ladies begging their families to let them cease this torcher. The echoes of cramp induced screaming bounce off the walls of my memory and make my cells their unwilling home.

Anger transforms into fury as I imagine all those peons in the upper echelon of Dialysis clinics visualizing every patient as a giant, Sesame Street like dollar sign. When questioned as to why there is no cure for kidney disease, these same monetary whales insist they don't know, while browsing through the paperwork for their latest Caribbean retreat.

Dialysis is a ruse, a trick, a bad joke peppered with obscenities.

And I'm in on it.

Many will implore that with great suffering comes even greater wisdom.

To that, I respond with the lowest common denominator of responses.

Fuck you.



Dialysis Uncensored

2009-08-04T20:28:03.556-07:00

You're going to regret reading this entry once you're finished.The smell on the clinic floor is foul, filled with anguish and death and numerous other substances I'd rather not describe.And I'll be featured in this cesspool for the next three hours.As I allow my ritual anal retentiveness to align my possessions on the little side table that mocks my need for more space, I glance around slowly.Obese Gout Dude is dressed in his regular disgusting outfit: stained wife beater shirt and flip flops that expose his gout riddled feet.Blathering Idiot is trying to impress the more attractive staff members with his unremarkable remarks, unwilling to realize that they are all trying to retreat from him as quickly as possible.Hairy Playa is speaking as loud as possible on speakerphone so everyone will know undoubtedly that he is the jones with the ladies. When you pose too long, the cracks start to show and nobody's buying anymore.And the Mexican Twins are two chairs away from one another, so they're jabbering quickly and loudly over the patient in the middle. His suffering is painfully obvious.Its Monday. The most insufferable day of the week at Dialysis.And not just because of these Emmy award winners.I'm really overloaded with fluid.I'm in a foul mood to begin with, so the last individual on the planet I want to deal with is Overly Positive Tech. He's tall and lanky and full of 1950's advice that buggers the hell out of me.But most of the time he's pretty expert at sticking needles, so I let it pass.I've been attending this mind fuck for the last five and a half years. so you'd think most of them would learn by now that if I grunt all my answers, I'm not to be trifled with.Yes, I freely admit I'm an asshole when I'm sick.Takemytempthancuffthebloodpressuredealeyandcleantheareaandforceinlidocaineohgoditburnslikehellfuckfuckfuckfuck...The endless cycle of endless Dialysis.From time to time when people raise their head out of the latest People magazine and what Jon and Kate are doing, someone will always inquire what it feels like to be on Dialysis.This unleashes a flurry of sarcasm they probably didn't deserve.I used to describe it to the unsuspecting inquiree that you take two finely sharpened pencils, jam them into your upper or lower arm (take your pick depending on what access you've been forced to acquire) attach a garden hose to each pencil and connect those to the washing machine. Place machine on Heavy Wash for three hours.Most of the time I look up to find I'm talking to myself and all that remains is a Road Runner smoke cloud.But I ceased to describe Dialysis that way years ago. I have a new fully charged description.Imagine you're a giant sponge. You're full of vim and vitality, vigor and strength. You feel fantastic and everything couldn't be better.Then you're strapped down into a giant chair that smells of soiled underwear and three day ole parmesan cheese. The chair doesn't adjust properly so you will endure awful back pain in three hours. Which is when your treatment will end.As those minutes dribble by, you will be unceremoniously squeezed of your essence until all that remains are the pores of your spongy exterior.Now dry and hollow, weak and shaken, you stumble out of the clinic wondering what you've just left behind.And whether it will ever return.After a while the emptiness never fills, not even after you're loaded with less vital, less potent fluid.Perform this task over and over and over again until all your other organs give out or until you allow yourself to bleed out in the locked bathroom because you've clearly given up.I told you you'd regret it.[...]



50 Random Things About Stacy

2009-07-29T10:36:32.957-07:00

Stacy has lately been sleeping roughly three hours a night, eating one meal a day and losing lots of blood at Dialysis, so yeah, we copied this from Facebook. Stacy will relay the answers and I will type them precisely as stated.Who I am? Doesn't matter really. Just call me the Blog Bitch.1. What time did you get up this morning? --- I remember vividly waking up about 4:30am for a blissful moment, only to subconsciously realize there was a breathing mask on my face. Since Stacy Subconscious is claustrophobic (as well as the Really Annoying Stacy) it was ripped to the floor. I then proceeded to try to sleep without it.I could have just said "4:30am" but I'm in a talkative mood.2. How do you like your steak? Preferably on a plate. Wakka wakka. 3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I attended a midnight showing of "Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince" with two geeky friends at work. Honestly, I love midnight showings, but I can't go any longer. I'm getting to the regrettable point in my life where the combination of aging PLUS Dialysis treatments = Death The Next Day.It was partly a waste of time because I don't remember most of the film. Especially the middle. That's right, the nouget part of the flick.4. What is your favorite TV show? The show I can go back again and again and watch the entire run of the show over and over is "The Office." As far as present favorites, I'm watching "Oz" from HBO and "Mad Men" from AMC. Both excellently written and acted.All three of the above mentioned shows are also fantastic because they devour Dialysis time.5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Give me a 400 square foot cabin right on the beach, far from the annals of the human race and I would consider myself a very lucky dweeb.6. What did you have for breakfast? I skipped breakfast because I threw up. Again. Until there was nothing left in my abdomen. Then I threw up some more and pulled a stomach muscle.7. What is your favorite cuisine? I'm a simple man with simple tastes. Its a very close race between Italian and Mexican. Although I would be Dad's Cuisine: the ever popular Brunch Burger, at the top.8. What foods do you dislike? Stew, because my parents always rammed it down my throat when I was a kid. Processed meals like you find in the freezer aisle. And unfortunately, I'm starting to lose my love for cheese because my roommate puts in on everything and stinks up the house. Ugh.9. Favorite Place to Eat? Crystal's Corner in Santa Rosa. Its this little hole-in-the-wall owned by this friendly Chinese family that makes just about anything. The Two Egg Breakfast special is awesome and filling. The BLT's are to die for. And the eats are cheap.To reiterate, I'm a man of simple means.10. Favorite dressing? Blue cheese. Every time we went out to eat as a family, my parents always ordered it on their salad, and so did I. It feels nostalgic every time I devour it.11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? I drive the Blue Devil, a 2000 Chevy S-10 Pickup. She's a lot like me: sluggish, slow to accelerate and gets horrible gas mileage. But she's never broken down and she's never failed to start.12. What are your favorite clothes? I'd wear jeans and a t-shirt every day for the remainder of my life if certain occasions didn't call for a dressier look.13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? I want to travel to Greece. The history, the culture, the beautiful beaches and amazing architecture. But mostly, for the women.14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Cup was broken years ago and put back together with missing parts.15. Where would you want to retire?A little island that nobody has discovered yet. I've had my fill of humans and thei[...]



M.I.A. Stacy

2009-07-12T23:38:51.487-07:00

I've mentioned in an earlier post that I am God's Action Figure.To understand fully what I'm talking about, feel free to check out "God's Action Figure" from last April.In that earlier post, I theorize that God created me from used parts that He simply had lying around Heaven's Garage. Thus, I look and feel the way I do.I hope you understand by now that Dialysis, on its own, for the duration I've endured, is more then enough for any one individual to handle.This year marks over twenty-six years I've been dealing with kidney failure.And now I have created a corollary to my earlier theory on my personal creation.God's actually been trying to kill me.Or push me to the brink so I kill myself.I had the insurmountable luck to be born in a decade when Dialysis and transplantation had finally become viable. Well, that's just dumb luck really.Two transplants and a total of six years of all encompassing Dialysis later, I'm still here to annoy my fellow man.Two years ago I had reached a plateau where I had found a way to balance treatment with what I wished my life to be.That made God incredibly angry.Two years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Sleep Apnea. To state it simply (and because I don't really care to talk about it all that much) my throat closes up over a hundred times a night. It is during these moments that I stop breathing, my throat closes up, my brain wakes me up (but not to full conscioiusness) and the whole process continues unabated.All. Night. Long.Last week I returned to Doughy Sleep Doctor and I took the credit card device that takes my stats on the breathing (CPAP) machine and allows a computer to display and print out the results.Go ahead. Take a guess as to the average number of hours of sleep I've received each night over the past year.Six? 5.4? 3.27302938 hours?Two.This is where God is laughing hysterically and putting another point on the God vs. Stacy scoreboard.The machine works fine for those two hours. I rarely wake up because 9ml of air is being pummeled downostrils with a breathing mask.Somewhere around two hours, the sleep medicine wears off and the Stacy Claustrophobia kicks in.Without my knowledge, my unconscious mind senses something trapping my head, removes it and then throws it into the carpeted floor below.God's shaking his belly with uprorious laughter right about now.My day starts unwillingly at 6:30am when I wake up and discover I'm exhausted. I wander in and out of sleep for the next couple of hours until my alarm shakes reality back into my face.What God also finds entertaining is that the less sleep I receive, the more nauseous I become, the more vomiting ensues.So vomiting has returned as my morning ritual.Once I'm all cleaned out my system makes room for a small amount of appetite. From a strapping 62kg. last year, I'm down to 56.5.And the weight keeps dropping.God thinks He has me on the ropes, but He's mistaken.Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty: The Surgery.It rhymes with "MoveYouUhPlateOrMarniGoNasty."This is a procedure by which tissues are removed from the throat.I know. Sounds like a great way to spend a Tuesday.The following are removed, in no particular order:--- The tonsils.--- The Uvula.--- The soft palate.--- The adenoids.--- The pharnyx.There are many factors in my life that have led up to the possibility of this surgery.I've been on steroids for a majority of my life to save my transplants, so that could have caused my throat to swell.The years of radio have developed my pharnyx, so that could also be a culprit.The fact that my growth was stunted by steroids at the age of twelve could have caused my throat to develop fully while the surrounding area did not. I have small nostr[...]



The Power of Baby Sisters

2009-06-28T22:10:02.431-07:00

My baby sister's name is Amy, named ceremoniously after our grandmother on my mother's side Amelia.The one that had thirteen children, my mother being the final number in that Jon & Kate Plus Eight brood.I call my sister Amos, just because. Over the years, our relationship as siblings has been uneven. Somewhere after I began college and Amy graduating from high school, we really lost touch.I'm as much to blame as she is. But that's not really important.What's important is the here and now, and that is what I speak of today.Over the past weekend, with no personal persuasion involved, my sister visited Sonoma County for the weekend.The English language is not descriptive enough to behold the anticipation I had for my sister's arrival. It was as though Christmas and my birthday had mated and given birth to a new level of anticipation.Many years ago I adopted Santa Rosa and the backwoods of Sonoma County as my new hometown. This leads to the ultimate joy of being able to share one's love for the county over and over and over again.I'm ashamed to admit I'd never been to the Charles M. Schulz museum. We went.Had to show off my favorite hour hiking trail at Howarth Park. Done.We explored downtown Santa Rosa and Healdsburg. Went antique store shopping. Wolfed down meals at Omelette Express, Flavor and Gary Chu's.But best of all was just sitting in the presence of my sister and having great conversations. About nothing in particular.And I loved it.For three days all the frustration, sadness and depression that migrates through my head daily, evaporated completely.A fact I didn't realize until after she had departed.Her plane sped away on Monday evening. I was still feeling pretty good until Wednesday evening.Then Melancholy stepped in. And He won't get out from under my bed.If you perchance had met my sister, you'd immediately like her. Everyone does.She's naturally sweet. Given to flights of silliness and whimsy. Able to speak about anything. Very intelligent. Quite generous. She tried to pay for everything. Generosity knows her quite well. In 1995 when my first kidney transplant was failing and I was headed toward the dreaded transplant list, she offered up hers without hesitation.I like to believe that while it is housed within my frame, my system was able to filter my life through her kidney and somehow grab the best her soul had to offer. At least, that's my hope.I miss you Amy.[...]



An Open Letter to My Fellow Dialysis Patients Regarding the State of the Bathroom

2009-06-14T23:34:21.290-07:00

People often ask why I rail against the patients of my clinic so harshly.To put if succinctly: they're neandarthal pigs.The following is a list of random occurences that have randomly occured at random times, occuring on the occurence when I begin my treatment:--- Pool o' UrineGentlemen (and quite possibly ladies...and I use both terms extremely loosely) how difficult is it to aim liquid at a cylindrical bowl? Did you never water a garden properly? Play the water shooter into the clowns mouth at the carnival. Sheesh.I dearly love my Converse. All four pair. I wear them every single stinkin' day to Dialysis because they're comfortable, they're rocking the cool and they make me happy.Sticky pools of urinary wastes delving into the pores of my favorite feet accessories make me incredibly angry.And vomit a little in my mouth.--- Lack of Lever UseThis happens nearly every day. Some nickel and dime IQ dweller doesn't have the common sense or class to dispose of their biggest accomplishment of the day. So there it sits, clogging up the bowl, teetering on extinction.And now it becomes my job to send it on its way.Unfair. Unwise. And totally unnatural.--- Feces ControlIf you're eating something presently, I would avoid the next few sentences.Feces on the floor. Hanging off the side of the bowl. On the wall. In the sink.And my personal all-time, five years on Dialysis favorite?Stuck to the wall next to the lou with toilet paper.That one was just a few weeks ago.I thought it was just monkeys that played with their excrement.No, Dialysis patients do too.Until I have the Catheter Succubus removed, I need to use that little room to change into my "Dialysis Shirt." (i.e. the flannel shirt I bought in 1988 from Millers Outpost so I don't care what substances are left remaining on its fading cotton)I beg of you fellow Dialysis zombies: use our treatment bathroom as though she is a fine, delicate woman. Handle her with care. Gently. Don't abuse her. Or throw her around like a rag doll. And don't leave her with the check.Just one final word to my fellow patients:Feces is not a toy.[...]



The Totally Original and Blissfully Exciting Stacy Alphabet Game

2009-06-14T22:56:23.239-07:00

I'm most likely not the first to invent the above mentioned game, but since my name is in it, one of my bretheren may have.

Its rather simple really. Feel free to play along in the Comment section of the Adventures of Stacy Without An E blogfest below.

I'm saying my name so many times, I feel like I have something to plug on a talk show. Or develop into a cool online app that people are excited about for a month but then quickly grow tire of (I'm talking to you Twitter.)

The Rules of the Stacy Alphabet Game:

Simple really.

You create an entire sentence using the first letter of the alphabet only.

Thus, twenty-six total words.

I'm done it before, which you can examine
HERE.

So ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, kids of all shapes and sizes, prepare to be mystified by the verbal linguistics from the vocabularic mind of Stacy Without An E.

Altruistic benevolent custodians dutifully eradicate feces grotesquely habitating insidiously jaunty kabuki's. Laborious mandates negate official pandering quietly, restricting serendipitous training undermining vociferous wisenheimer xenophobes yawning zealously.

Its amazing! Its fantastic! Its nearly comprehensible!

I dare you in the comments below to attempt the same.



My Uncle Tommy 1936-2009

2009-06-12T22:29:32.301-07:00

There is a man I want to take a few moments to introduce you to, because he meant more to me than I'm willing to admit.And yet, I failed him.My Uncle Tommy was the one we visited most as a family when I was a child. Youth sometimes dictates that you don't wish to interact with individuals deemed "family." They won't speak to you like they do the adults. They smell of moth balls and cough syrup. They pontificate when they should be silent.I'm sure you've a few of your own you don't wish to speak of.Uncle Tommy was the antithesis of everything I just mentioned.I was incredibly shy as a child and Tommy would do everything in his power to get me to interact with the family. He never said out loud that you were a guest in his home, because he was welcoming from the start.He was a father, grandfather, husband, uncle, brother, cousin, Marine and policeman.He was quick to laugh, prone to wit and towered over me but never talked down to me.And I'll go ahead and say it, and I don't care who's listening: he was my favorite Uncle.But again, I failed him.Tommy grew up with my Mom in Jamestown, North Dakota. The epitome of unbridaled Americana. He was their eleventh child, my mother, the thirteenth. Six years separated them both, but their bond as brother and sister lasted a lifetime.On June 11, 2009 at exactly 11am, I attended his funeral.My Mom shed tears before the service began. I placed my hand on her shoulder while my Dad put his arms around her. Supporting her grief as ably as we could.I honestly didn't know what else to do. But I knew this was one of the worst days of her life. And I was glad I was by her side.I didn't count, but I would imagine over a hundred people were in attendance. Many, many more wanted to join this somber day, but circumstances beyond their control kept them from honoring my Uncle.Since I discovered the news over a week ago, I have been flooded with memories of my Uncle. And I'm happy to report, every time I think of him, he's at his best.Lanky and strong. Tan and fit. Vibrant and happy.When I was roughly eight or nine, before my illness made its presence known, everyone took a huge family trip to Yosemite.The lands beneath us were so astonished by the presence of Uncle Tommy, we had earthquakes for most of our visit.On one of our many hikes, me and my Uncle were standing side by side as we traveled down the trail to catch up with the others. To our right was a giant granite rock with little flecks of limestone coloring its skin.Another giant rock must have fallen upon it at some point, because it had given birth to a number of smaller rocks, all with the same outer shell.Tommy bent down, without slowing his stride, and grabbed one."Here's a nice one. This one's for you."He placed it in my hand and I sort of just looked at it without responding.I glanced up at him with a shy, meager look."So you won't forget this trip."And off we went. For the last thirty years, wherever I have moved. Or worked. Or travelled to, that rock has followed alongside.And its never lost its luster. Until now.It has transformed from a happy childhood memory to a weight upon my soul.For I failed him.I was unaware of this, but as the years slipped away, so did Tommy's back.Two years ago, he was in the hospital and was prescribed a medication that eventually caused his kidneys to fail.He spent two years on Dialysis until he suffered a heart attack on June 4th, 2009. He had just returned from treatment and was resting in his favorite easy chair. His wife, my Aunt, heard him make a sound similar to a snore.He never recovere[...]



Fistulaleakage

2009-05-27T22:32:35.778-07:00

Its amazing how many how many words you can create using a device that simply doesn't want to inhabit my body.Ok, that's not completely true.All last week was half and half: one 17 gauge needle for the Fistula, one for the Catheter Succubus.Everything went fine all five days last week (yeah, I skipped a day yo)This week, starting with the ever popular Monday, we've arrived at two seventeen gauge needles. Monday's have become the complete bane of my existence. Because of a flavorful combination of tangy sleep apnea and bittersweet Dialysis, I find myself in bed for fourteen to fifteen hours most weekends.Then when Monday rolls back into my life, I must arise five hours earlier to perform a radio show no one listens to on a radio station that is at the beginning of the end.Every Monday transforms my bathroom into a Vomitorium. I don't care if I wake my roommate up because he's a Know-It-All Goon. I take a shower, cleanse myself of the previous twenty minutes and celebrate this accomplishment by vomiting again.Every Monday. Its always the same. No deviation (except for how many times my skinny little toothpick arm reaches for the Snooze button)So lets return to the present, shall we?I don't know which it is, but something likes to fuck with me.Fate. God. The cast of that awful show "According to Jim." You name it.I was eight days into my new Foolish Fistula. Up to two seventeen gauge needles now. Very little pain. My body was not so agitated upon arrival. I was pretty calm during needle insertion.But you see, this cannot last. It never does.Dialysis sits in a corner, waiting to pounce.And tonight was his night.I hadn't seen Him in a while. Maybe he's a fan of "American Idol." Who knows?He's roughly three foot two, barely ninety pounds and his spine has curved so much he resembles a demented letter "C" from Sesame Street. Streaky green hair. Yellowish skin. A bad case of sores and lesions spread across his body like a blanket. His teeth are all sharp and seemingly filed that way every day of His miserable existence.He used to toy with me using Cramps. As any Dialysis patient will admit to, Cramps can sometimes push your body so far that you cry out like a torture victim.It happened the other night to Lovely Petite Patient. As her screams and exclamations of pain increased in volume, so did the uncomfortable pit in my stomach.I felt for her, because I've been in her very same condition.One item of note that Dialysis gives you a break on is learning how to avoid Cramps. It all comes down to math and gut instinct about your eating and drinking habits for the preceding week.Dialysis was squealing with glee, bounding from one counter top to the other, speaking without any spaces."LookwhatIdidtoherI'mamazingwithmassivepoweroverallofyouandthere'snothingyoucandoyou'restuckhereforyearsandyearsandyears."I crank up "Lost" to sixteen in order to ignore his proclamations. His words all slurred like verbal snakes. His grin never leaves His revolting face.Tonight was my turn.As I entered the clinic floor and my nose hair curled at the ever present stench of untreated gout and unwashed ass, I caught a glimpse of Him hiding with the fifteen gauge needles. One of his teeth protruded out a little too far past one of the packaged pain sticks and I knew there could be trouble.Best when you first learn of his presence just to ignore Him. My God and all that is Holy in Heaven, he despises that. Sometimes you can hear a hissing sound, but often that turns out to be him urinating where[...]



5 Year Anniversary of Hell

2009-05-18T22:57:02.311-07:00

On May 16, 2009 I marked five years of achingly annoying and highly horrific Dialysis treatments.I was diagnosed once again with my long lost companion, End Stage Renal Disease (all Dialysis patients say "ESRD" because it sounds like a cool show on the Travel Channel) in March and my nephrologist stated it was going to be a quick slide to eventual Dialysis.Year One was pure torturous. Every treatment flames of burning ignited by Dialysis himself. 1000mg. of Vicodin doubled. And then tripled.And still I suffered.Year Two began the habit of lying on my office floor for 30-45 minutes before and after a show just to keep my job. Everyone believes radio broadcasting is easy, but it takes a tremendous amount of energy.Energy that my body no longer befriends.Year Three the staff thought I would never last transferring into a research program and changing my treatments to six days a week, two hour time limit.Again, I sacrificed my sanity to feel 20% better so, once again, I could keep my job.Year Four I tried dating again with little success. "I won't date you unless you always cover up your gross arm."I never even said goodbye.Flirting with a cute redhead at the bagel shop ended abruptly when my graft gauze began to express itself in bloody terms.Everyone just stared. No one even bothered to help.Damn Yuppies-Who-Used-to-Be-Anti-Establishment-Hippies-Who-Sold-Out-and-Are-Now-Fat-and-Worried-About-Their-Cholesterol.Year Five has been a rollercoaster teetering on the top of a wooden hill that should have been condemned five years ago.I had a chance to guest star on Dr. Anonymous' internet show and share my experiences about Dialysis. I even managed to convince the manager at my Dialysis clinic to shut off all the TV speakers so I wouldn't die because none of the tech's could hear me. I even pushed myself to get out of my bed and hang out with friends.That last one's a major accomplishment.Better things are on the horizon. My sister is visiting in a month. I'll see my parents later this summer. My best friend and his family are going to spend a weekend here in Sonoma County.These are all good, positive events that will make Year Six somewhat more bearable.But I have a little secret I've told no one about and it could ruin all succeeding years.I'm getting worse.My muscles screams echo through my entire system, begging, pleading for me to lie back down.Fatigue is my constant companion. If I do the math (and I rarely do because it makes me sad) some workdays I'm in bed twelve to fourteen hours because I'm just too weak.And don't ask about weekends.But its really not the pain that bothers so much. Its a constant companion that whispers its power over me at its own discretion, for sure. Its my lack of productivity. My lack of sparking purpose. And what scares me even more? The fact that some days I just don't give a fuck.I once believed that God was punishing me for past indiscretions. But I feel my sins are minimal at best.Those thoughts morphed into God possibly trying to teach me some grand lesson that I was too dense to comprehend.Yet what have I become? A crazy loner curmudgeon who finds most of the human race lacking in intelligence and grace.I can't do another five years. I just can't.I'm unwilling. I'm unable. And I'm just not worth all the medical expense required to keep me alive.The divisions between Potential Stacy and Present Stacy is so wide, the two shall never meet in my lifetime.And that saddens me to no end.[...]



"30 Rock" Kidney Now!

2009-05-16T12:22:37.872-07:00

Thanks to Kelly Talbert (a fellow Dialysis/kidney patient) for posting this video on her Facebook page. I can't think of a better video to post on my Fifth Anniversary of suffering through endless Dialysis.


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If I ever meet Tina Fey in person, I'm giving her a big smoochy kiss like Adrien Broday gave to Halle Berry at the Oscars.

I'm probably get popped by her bodyguard and dragged away, but it will be worth it.

"What's Die-ale-uh-sist?"

People can't pronounce it, and kidney donation doesn't get the press like the high profile diseases do.

That's right. That's Kidney Discrimination.

So thanks Ms. Fey for the props.

Now how about producing my Broadway show "Glomerulonephritis?"

"Glomerulonephritis, its so wonderful to say. Glomerulonephritis, is will break your day!"

I'll work on it and get back to you.



Fistulatoma

2009-04-29T22:00:29.456-07:00

On March 12th a wonderfully annoying yet totally uncooperative vein in my upper left arm was moved about an inch West.If is now called a Fistula.At least that's what the doctors like to call it.Those high priced experts with their fancy-schmancy medical terms.Once a 17 gauge needle was inserted, allowed to chug for two hours, and then removed, the dialogue changed.It was now a Fistula with a Hematoma.Or a Fistulatoma.Yes, I made up a word. And its mine. You can't have it. And you wouldn't want it.Dr. Drew (I named him thusly because he could be Dr. Drew's twin) didn't think that term was very funny.I've been on a wonderful soup of Vicodin, Extra Strength Tylenol and Norco since the Fistulatoma began, I have to find amusement when I can.The procedure was performed by Dr. Arnett (that's right, he looks just like Will Arnett) and I will remember him for the remainder of my life because he congratulated himself on a job well done when I visited his pristine office a few weeks after the surgery.Yes. Your pomposity has etched itself upon my long term memory and it will remain there festering because once that appointment was over, you said you didn't need to see me again.You also won't refill my Norco.Both Dr. Drew and Dr. Arnett are friends. As most doctors in Nephrology seem to be.They both have extremely beautiful wives who are also doctors.I don't fault them for that. Doctors are much more impressive than guys who tell you who's coming up in the next music sweep.Right after eighteen minutes of commercials, a jingle, a promo and another jingle to get you back into the music.But I digress.I've allowed the anger I had over this whole affair to evaporate into infinity, but I believe I made a good point today and it was tossed aside like all the tubing we patients go through endlessly.Cleaned. Discarded. Recycled. I don't know what they do with it because I'm usually too tired following treatment to care.One thing I don't care for though, is being dismissed.I had my circular graft for thirteen years. Thirteen frickin' years. The last five on Dialysis.It had been used years ago for five months before my second kidney transplant.Since this Fistulatoma has been less than perfect, I brought that up."Well, we don't do those much anymore."I love it when doctors say, "well" at the beginning of a sentence. It means they don't care for the question. And would rather be playing golf. Or riding horses. Or whatever else they do with the money they make managing my illness."Why not?" I asked with a staggered voice. I was pretty dizzy."We just don't."And that was that.So here I sit, in front of you, with a bum arm keeping me from my life.Can't ride a bike. Or my scooter. Or lift weights. Or even swim.All because someone thought it would bea good idea to give me a Fistulatoma.This dollar sign is going to bed now. If I can get any sleep.Remember? You wouldn't refill my Norco.[...]



God's Action Figure

2009-04-22T22:25:06.702-07:00

When I use this phrase to describe myself, some people believe that I am typing offense toward "Their God."Since when does anybody "own" God? Did Wal-Mart sneak up and grab Him as a spokesperson when I wasn't looking? Can you find God in every Starbucks on every corner suggesting overpriced sandwiches? When I'm lost at Home Depot will He find shower heads for me on Aisle 42?Any time I mention my belief (or lack thereof) in the Almighty, I always get e-mail's from devout Christians saying, "You're going straight to hell and I wish to read no more."Hell? Well, maybe. I'm definitely serving time in purgatory, that's a given.Oh wait. I already am. I'm a Dialysis patient. Silly me.But back to the title of this particular post.I have a theory as to why God finds me so consistently entertaining.One lovely Spring day in God's People Factory his duty for the day was almost finished. He had just applied the most succulent lips ever to Angelina Jolie and given John Kerry a head three sizes too big when he had all these random parts just lying around.He could have gone home to his Cloud Formed Easy Chair (designed by Him of course) and flipped on "Lost" and called it another pleasant day.But He was in a tinkering mood.He grabbed a torso that was no longer a boy's, but not quite a man's and placed it in the middle of his workshop table. Since this wasn't skinny enough, he fished out extremely skinny arms and legs to coincide with said Extra Small Man's Torso. A grin came to his face because he knew I'd be wearing Extra Large Boy's Boxers for the remainder of my life.He continued unabated. He was so entertained by his John Kerry head gaffe that he gave me one nearly as large.Bright eyes, slightly larger lips and ears that stick out gently. I should probably thank God for those because women are always commenting on my eyes and lips.All the parts were in place and He was nearly finished when He realized something.The Almighty Master of Creation had run out of functioning kidneys.God, on this rare occasion became a little flustered.He knew that he had a fresh supply earlier, but today hadn't been a great day for kidneys. A number of them had to be discarded and their Inner Energy used for something else.With little time remaining, because my soul was set to arrive any minute, God chose the best of the rest from the pile of mistakes."Forgive me son, for you will know pain and suffering. But you will also discover truth and beauty."And the kidneys that were God's eventually became mine.As my soul, fresh and untouched, began to slowly ride a breeze of fate, God found himself amused by this creation."I must keep an eye on this one. He could be fun."My soul arrived and enveloped God's Newest Creation. My eventual adult body was swept away by the calling of the people who would eventually become my parents.And here I sit today. An experiment gone awry. A body caving in on itself.And still, God smiles.For He knows what I have still failed to grasp.That truth and beauty are still out there.And I need to forge through and make their acquaintance.Before its too late.[...]