7) It Started with Synthroid


El Milagro: Tory hooked me up with larger needles today, so it was a bit painful getting stuck. While he was jabbing me, I wondered aloud why it hurt and was it larger needles, to which he replied, “Oh. I thought you were up to larger needles already”. Later when he saw me making these notes, he offered that his name is spelled with an ‘i’ because in Japanese Tori means ‘bird’. The things that we learn when we listen to our environment!

As Tori was finishing up taping my tubes down so I don’t pull them around, Marilyn and Phyllis were talking to me about finalizing my plans for Memorial Day weekend. Their suggestion, since the center in Kerrville isn’t open on Saturdays, is that I come in here early Friday (5:30 – 9:30 am) and then back again at 3:30 pm on Monday. So, I’ll have my regular dialysis on Thursday, then again on Friday morning and then skip two days until Monday. Then I skip Tuesday and go back on the next Thursday. I am sure this paragraph is captivating for most readers… as it reflects the mundane scheduling work that we must all go through in our busy lives. As we read it, we are probably all saying, “Ah yes, I can totally identify with this minutiae”.

There are about 6 patients here right now, and 7 staff. The staff kind of circulate through the place, checking on the progress of the machines and writing some numbers on the patients daily log which is kept on a clipboard on top of the machine. I am sure there is a staff responsible for each chair, but as they circulate, it seems they all check the machines and write on the log. Sometime during each time I am there, each staff will come up and greet me formally and ask how I am doing today. I get the idea they are hyper cautious and that makes me feel good.

There is an older, non-ambulatory Hispanic woman who always finishes up her session sometime after I arrive. Today she is in a chair directly across from me, so I get a good view of her. She is always accompanied by her adult daughter (I believe), who sits with her devotedly throughout her dialysis, giving her snacks, adjusting her covers, shifting her around in her chair to make her more comfortable, talking to her, and being her translator with the English-speaking-only staff. The younger woman is deferential with the older woman and yet she also seems to have great influence on the older woman. This seems to be a symbiotic relationship they have worked out over a long period of time. The older woman seems resigned to her fate but she isn’t going down quietly. She grumbles, in a whispering voice, her complaints and objections to the younger woman and the younger woman works to calm them. This scene reminds me of all that I’ve read about the baby-boomers beginning to care for their parents and having to adjust their typical communication styles to continue the parent/child dialogue.

As a formerly ‘healthy’ person who had little contact with the medical establishment, it is quite perplexing to be so concerned now with my health. For years I only had one doctor and I usually only saw him for physicals and the annual bout with cedar fever. When I took meds it was limited to a specific condition and didn’t last long. And then, in my forties I developed a lazy thyroid and began my slide into the world of pharmaceuticals. It started with Synthroid! At first it was difficult to remember taking my daily synthroid. After meeting Moritz, in ’98 I had to buy one of those plastic pill boxes (that I associate with ‘old’ people) for my 6 daily doses. By the time I started dialysis I was up to 14 different pills a day and thinking of myself as an ‘old’ person. Now, fortunately the machine helps with my meds and I am back down to 9. Another advantage of being on dialysis!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jack: thanks for the invitation. I found your postings quite interesting and provocative! It was also quite intrigued to read your May 5 posting and realizing that it was today – wow! Now that’s just in time communication. I feel like I am learning a lot while “being in the room with you” during the process. You always were a great writer of both observations and what you are experiencing in the moment.

We just returned from a week and a half in Hawaii: I did a week of training for the Kaiser Permanente Hawaii region and then Mel and I spend 5 days on the North Shore, of surfer fame. We were blessed with both the tradewinds to mellow the heat and ready access to the beach until late evening. And it was nice to return to our new home. Please relay my best to Liz. And keep up that fabulous writing of yours. Love, Cecilia

New Haiku:
May 2
Line of cloud puffs dot
The navy blue horizon
Backed by pale blue sky

White froth rushes beach
Hiding flat rocky islands
Ebb revelations

Footprints in the sand
Shadow filled from setting sun
Form the day’s travels

Bright sun hides details
Only sharp rock edges are seen
What is really there?

Squat brown layered rock
Dusted with large grains of sand
Lights up in sun’s rays