A week before the decision was made to put me back on dialysis, a very close friend of my family died in an accident. It was a pretty horrible time; I come from a large family and we all came out in support of our lost friend. I wasn't doing to so well, and I must have looked it because at the wake a bunch of people asked me if I was "okay" and not just in the emotional sense. I knew my time off dialysis was numbered, but I smiled and pressed on. Jordan wasn't there with me; we'd been "seperated" and her absence was noted by my friends and family, who asked where she was. I just mumbled some kind of excuse - I didn't want them to know that I'd messed things up with her and pushed her away. I knew it was a bad idea even then.
But the loss of my friend, and the comfort of my family made me realize I'd made a mistake. I know it seems cliche to let the death of someone bring you closer to someone, but add that and the death of a working kidney and you re-evaluate what's important to you.
So, I went back to dialysis. Back to the good old center off of James street. I walked in the doors, again, trying to hold my head high. I was greeted with a "Steven!" The co-ordinator of the "pod", Frank, came over and gave me a great handshake. Frank was there the last time I was on dialysis, three years ago. In fact, there was much of the same staff - and they were all so nice to me. A lot of "We're sorry to see you back, but it's good to see you!"
If I can say one thing about my dialysis experience, it's that the staff at St. Joseph's Regional Dialysis Center in Syracuse are awesome. I've heard horror stories about some dialysis wards, but mine was well run with good, competent people. I was always well attended to - both physically and emotionally. I was made to feel like a person seeking treatment, not a number and some kind of insurance code. When you go through these things, sometimes you feel like you're just a social security number and a husk that fills out forms.
My return to dialysis was a pretty smooth transition. I didn't have any problems with the treatment, though I did get a little dizzy on the first round. Also, My kidney was still making urine - and I peed a LOT during treatment, which is no easy feet. You can't get up or move during the treatment, so I'd have them bring me over a portable urinal, which is basically like a bottle you pee in. They'd close a curtain around me, and I'd have at it. I used to pee out about a liter of fluid a treatment, which made the amount of fluid the machine would take off a hard number to come by, so I had some cramping at first. Now I have the skill of being able to pee in a bottle while sitting down and not getting any on me, so when I get a new kidney, I plan to use this skill when I go camping. Now I never have to leave the campfire. Ha ha.
So, there I was, doing dialysis, on the outs with a girl I was truly in love with, and feeling down about it all. One day, after dialysis, I walked out into the parking lot - sitting on the trunk of my car was Jordan. I lost it; we cried, hugged and made up.
She's been by my side ever since. Through the thick and thin of it all - she's been tough, and right there with me. I didn't think she could get any more involved with me, my life and my treatment - in a good way.
Then, the opportunity to do home hemo dialysis came our way. And, wouldn't you know it, the girl insisted on learning how to do it... and suddenly, dialysis came home.