The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Living in the Past isn't just a Jethro Tull Song

It's a funny point, in aging, where you get to the point where you realize everything everyone told you when you were a teenager was actually the truth,  and that someday you really would miss the things you took for granted.  Just being alive is it's own ironic award.  Thank you, kidney transplant donor.  I might have never realized this fully if it weren't for you.

Now, I've gotten to the point where I see people in my circles family and friends, and they have kids who are teens - and I find myself spouting the same things to them.  I guess I realize that I am officially "OLD™" and I can actually look back on the "good old days" and realize that they were pretty good, even if they seemed rough at the time.  Then, at the same glance, I can look at things that were good and realize they weren't so great either!

I've lived long enough to have lost several family members, and have had enough time pass for me to really feel the ache of missing them in my heart.  Decades have passed, and yet I can still recall their faces, their laughs, the cadences in their voices, and the times we shared.  It's very funny to think about the youth I was in those experiences, and how I get sad to think they never got to see me grow up and change. 

You know, escaping death several times in your life generates some profound changes - and sometimes you don't even realize until later.  I've said it before, but I'm definitely struggling with finding my footing again in this world - when you become sick at such a young age, at such a pivotal point in your young adult life, it almost feels like a part of you did die then, and is stuck there.  There's part of me that's forever 24, stuck in a time before dialysis, before all the surgeries, before the close calls, before the handfulls of pills every day.  Yet, here I am, 35 years old, trying to move on - trying to start again, trying to move forward with my life.  It's an interesting duality - making progress while dragging an anchor, I suppose. 

There's so many people who say "you need to drop the past", and that's such an easy statement to make, but it's a harder walk to walk, especially given the circumstances.  There's an earnestness and naivety about the me at 24 before kidney failure that I don't want to lose.  That guy was so.... well, head in the clouds, optimistic, lovelorn and dreaming.  I liked that guy, despite his faults.  He had a good heart.  Losing that... well, that's losing myself.  Because there's a lot of fear and anger in the me post New Years Eve 2002.  I don't like it, but I have to admit it's there.  I've seen things.... things about myself, things about the world, things about mortality, futility, hope, despair.... things I had to put aside quickly to survive.  Yet these things made me who I am today - I can't change that.  This is the path I'm on in this life.

So, yes, to the young, the carefree, the dreamers, the lovers, the love-lorn, the hopeless, the hopeful - I'll give that standard advice: you really should appreciate the moment.  Because, yes, twenty years from now will happen - and you'll look back, and remember the time, and something will shake in your soul.  You'll be older, but you'll still remember the youth you were, and how that person is, and always will be, still inside you.



  1. Wow. You speak very powerfully about something that very few of us can understand.

    My daughter was far younger than you when she went on dialysis. She always seems to be coping brilliantly, and it is I who looks back and misses the parent I used to get to be before I had to face the fact that my child could die. But I watch her, and try to guard her heart. Your post helps me see a little of what I need to watch for.


  2. Insightful stuff. You have quite the will to live. At my age (51) I'm pretty sure I'd give up under your circumstances. I'm not much of a fighter. And yes, I'm a huge Tull fan! ;)

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