a new song

The kidney’s role is to filter blood to remove waste products from the body. I was twenty-one when my kidneys stopped working. My doctor told me that I had end stage renal failure. That I needed dialysis.

Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body’s needs. Because of the rate of buildup of the waste products, it may be necessary to perform dialysis as many as 3 times per week.

So here I am. The tangle of cords in my forearm chains me to the chair. I have nothing to do but listen to the whirring and beeping of the machine that is filtering my blood.

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In each one of us there is a song that sings our true feelings. Often times mine is like the whirring of the machine. I’m dying. Perhaps everybody already thinks I’m dead. Do they even think about me anymore? Perhaps I am already dead. I’m dying. Perhaps everybody already thinks I’m dead…These are things I think about while chained to the dialysis chair. I count on my fingers the months left. I tap my toes. I shift uncomfortably in the chair, and think about all the time I’m wasting here. How do I even begin to live, when all I can think about is dying? I wait for the dialysis machine to filter these thoughts out of my mind.

In each one of us there is a song that sings our true feelings. I walk into class the next day. I feel better. I decide that it is OK to “live like you are dying.” I sit down next to a sleep-deprived classmate. He scrambles for a pencil. I hand him one, smiling. He sees my bandaged arm and understands. Sometimes a pencil is all it takes to write a new song.

In each one of us there is a song that sings our true feelings. Whether it’s heard by others or not depends on our choice to filter our lives, just like kidneys filter blood.

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