“Looks like you have warpaint Momma J,” Sam laughed as he grabbed my delivery items. It was my second trip to dialysis today. I was grateful to have four wheels back on my car – minus 16 below zero is hard on vehicles – compounded by ice chunks and potholes.
I had picked up breakfast sandwiches for a hungry Sam, a package of extra wipes for Liz, and retrieved the forgotten foot elevation pillow. I quickly massaged the coconut oil into the couch to return with the missing in-action dialysis pieces.
The living room looked like a make-up war zone. Melted coconut oil pooled on Liz and Sam’s leather navy sofa. A rainbow of powders, liquids, and glues had landed like fireworks – now settled in places and spaces on the floor and hospital bed. The mirror, unbroken, was disconnected. The hospital sheets and white chucks brown pooled from squirting make-up – after changing 16-20 diapers a day, the make-up made me smile. Our daughter just beat back c-diff – a hospital superbug erupting after the antibiotics given to save you. Humor changes when you are immersed in the muck. Two bright purple stripes lined my forehead. My gray pant leg was brown from the makeup foundation missile.
I understand. She is a 36-year-old vibrant female, and your previous lively life is snatched away to only breathing and heartbeats. Five months ago she laughed and danced. Four months ago her fatigued body departed leaving only breath and beats. She whispered 3 words – maaaa, hehhhh, and waaaa.
It takes chutzpah to again choose life. Too many times! She chose life as a prenatally exposed infant. She chose relationship as a failure-to-thrive baby, AED revival as a young adult, refeeding from starvation, and stabbing on the street versus rape when offered by a street gang. Liz is my daughter. She is one tough human. Thirty-five years ago, my husband, Karl, and I chose to be on her childhood team. Sam joined us in her adulthood as a committed partner. The game of life we embarked on is not easy – overwhelming is an understatement.
Life is messy. Being a human is hard. My unintended facepaint was a nice touch, and since it was bright purple, it matched her hair for the day. Once again, medication sent patches of her carefully regrown hair down the drain and a pair of scissors earlier in the week, which fetched us a new plumber. On the morning’s first dialysis trip, Sam had collected Liz kicking and screaming, “I am not going,” as he settled her into the car. She arrived barely late, still needing to change clothes in my car before going in to do hygiene and weigh. I was thankful for a good heater. I was thankful the metal and velcro boots were already attached over the compression socks. Would she live to reach dual organ transplant?
My mind ponders – life or death – as we cross the boundary line of no restraints.