Whew! Thanks to eight brand new scars, I made it! A year ago today, I was in the hospital fighting for my life. I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I spent the holidays in a hospital bed, convinced that they would never let me out. My muscles had atrophied. My legs and lungs fought for every slow step. I couldn’t swallow. My nourishment came from a feeding tube. I truly thought it would never end. But the worst of it did – eventually. My last surgery was August 2014.
Kidney failure was a complete blind side. Dialysis, like a thief in the night, had stolen everything. There was a lot to be upset about. When I left the hospital I had lost the ability to work, had lost my faux business Lara Lazenby Designs, and was unable to do simple tasks like cooking dinner, taking care of my orchids, or driving a car. I still brush my teeth sitting down or I’ll fall over. Heck, the slightest breeze can knock me to the ground. Sadly, dancing is still out of the question. I spent the entire season of So You Think You Can Dance popping and doing leg lifts on the couch. I could ramble on with a list of complaints – of gripes and groans and reasons why it’s not fair. Having said that, I wont pretend to be a saint. I have complained plenty. But this holiday season, Gratitude, has come in the strangest, most peculiar little things.
I have come to love the blue handicap placard hanging from the rear view mirror. Some days I can barely walk across the room, let alone the parking lot.
I love the wheely-carts at the grocery store.I used to think they were for old people. I’m eating my words now. Humble pie is sweet when I’m just too weak to push a big cart around the entire store.
The stool my husband set up by the stove. Now I can stir and sit. I’m telling you, this was bloody brilliant. I love that freaking stool. I used it today while making pumpkin pie. Mm!
When my scars healed up, Steven and I went on the hunt for a rescue dog. After leaving several places in tears (I’m emotional that way), we found her. This little dark brown dog sat in my lap and draped her head over my arm. We’ve had her two months now and I can’t imagine our lives without Shanti. That is the Sandscrit name for “Peace.” She has brought that to our lives.
Five days a week, Steven saves my life, literally. It was his idea to start home hemo- dialysis training in October. I’m looking at the machine right now. It sits in the living room next to the television. A constant reminder to me of how life changes on a dime. In-center dialysis was hell three times a week. Barely enough to live, to drag myself through life. Now we do it at home five times a week with this machine. It’s no miracle worker, but I have a few more good days than bad. This machine made attending the FWA writer’s conference possible, by lugging it along. So, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if I hadn’t gone. I don’t particularly like this machine, but I am learning how to be grateful for it.
Steven, has never complained about the time he sacrifices to be my caregiver, not once. He helps me set up and tear down the machine , he orders all the medical supplies, pokes bad-ass needles into my arm, regulates the numbers and vitals during treatment, and pulls the same bad-ass needles out – all of this immediately after or before a twelve hour shift at the hospital, 35 minutes away. Steven has put things on complete hold to take care of me. ” In sickness and in health” has never been an issue for that man. Ever. Being married to me? Well, that is amazing. He is amazing, and I am eternally grateful for that kind of love.
This Thanksgiving I will treasure every minute with him. And Shanti. Yes, life is good, even when there is plenty to gripe about.
PS. My heart weeps for the loss of my friend Harold Wilson who passed through the veil late last night. Stage IV lung cancer. I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to visit you one more time so we could swap bottles of homemade chili. I got my love of Snoopy from my grandpa, Harrold Gnarini. In some ways, you remind me of him. All my love and hugs, Lara