I've taken a long vacation from blogging, mostly because I sort of, I don't know ... ran out of words at some point. I'd been writing for a living, writing as a hobby,writing writing writing for about ten years, and eventually I felt all used up.
My sentences seemed recycled and lame. Nothing I had to say felt interesting, or necessary.
So I stopped. I started talking for a living, which was new and fresh and hurt my brain a little less. I missed writing, but not enough to get back to it. I had a novel under construction, and I kept poking at it just enough to keep the embers glowing. But, really, I was on an indefinite hiatus from writing.
But now I'm back here --though not back here back here, since I've foresaken my six-plus-year LiveJournal account for this format -- because I'm pretty sure I'm going to need the outlet. I need to get back to writing for a living, and also need to put down words for my own sanity.
Background: Six months ago, my husband Patrick fell ill. He ended up in the hospital, no one knew what was wrong with him, he ended up losing a gallbladder and being diagnosed with high blood pressure, and after he was released it seemed like life would then go on as planned.
But things didn't go on. Patrick still felt tired all the time, and would become nauseated and vomit unexpectedly, and occasionally came down with headaches. He's underweight, and he looks haggard. His speech would occasionally get slurry. He feels cold most of the time, to the point of sometimes shivering in a 65-degree room.
Then, last week, he was admitted to OHSU with phenomenally high blood presure. They also found that his kidneys weren't working. They got the blood pressure under control, made appointments for him with doctors, and sent him home.
Which brings us to now.
Now: Today, Patrick had an appointment with a nephrologist -- a kidney doctor -- and got the basics on what lies ahead. He's lost 90 precent of his kidney function, and you don't come back from that. Once you hit that point, the kidneys are toast.
Patrick's going to have to start on dialysis. You can Google it for more information if you like, but the choice is essentially this: He can have three-times-a-week dialysis that lasts four hours each session at a clinic, or he can have do-it-yourself-at-home dialysis that he'll have to do every day, and that lasts from 4 to 8 hours.
He'll be doing this for the rest of his life, or until he's perhaps lucky enough to get a transplant.
There will be operations to put in ports/shunts/fistulas/whatever you call them.
There will be machines and bags of liquid and tubes and even more medications.
And there will be bills. Even more bills than the ones we already can't afford ... and right now, we don't know how he'll be able to keep working.
And I'm sitting here, like a jackass, blogging.
Because writing is what I do. I'm not writing this for sympathy, or offers of help, or for anyone to think that I'm troubled and brave. No, I'm writing this because, when things become overwhelming, I put stuff into words.
And I'm doing it because right now, this minute, I'm looking at a fork in the road that's going to change our life together, permanently, forever.
A few months ago, we were two painfully immature adults who loved geeky stuff, and movies, and each other, who were terrible with money, and who bickered over practically everything but then laughed, got over it, and moved on. We were a couple with no kids, a dog and a cat, a lot of in-jokes, and a future that we hadn't planned for at all but, you know, we'd figure something out and get our shit together eventually.
I guess we're still those people. Except now we're also people who have to talk to a social worker, and get Medicare, and deal with medical procedures and chronic illness and probably bankruptcy. We'll be on a list for a kidney transplant, and we'll go to classes on disease management.
Our lives changed during one conversation at 4:30 this afternoon, in an examination room with a very nice lady doctor who said it was okay that I started crying, she didn't mind.
I'm not prepared for any of this. I don't know how to be prepared for any of this. I'm grieving for Patrick, who was always the strong, hearty, never-sick one of us, as I watch him deal with illness and fear. And I'm terrified about so many other things that I don't even know how to prioritize what to be terrified about first.
So I write about it. Because it's what I do. And because I know that I'm going to have a lot more days like this in my future, and that writing will keep me from sticking my head in an oven.
Today? Today kind of sucked.