Friday, October 21, 2011

Attitude is Everything!

I'm not much for motivational posters.  I think they're fairly trite, cliche', etc.  But sometimes they're true.  Attitude can be everything when it comes to dialysis.  Yes, dialysis is not fun.  Needles hurt.  Cramping, nausea, queasiness, etc., can all happen.  Long hours.  Early mornings.  Going when it's rainy or cold.  [Someone once told me to think of it as a full-time job.  It's turning out to be a lot like that!]  And yes, I grumble a little in the mornings, and I always tell me mom to keep driving past the center and take me to the beach.  But overall, the place is really nice.  The people who work there are great and really care.  It could be a lot worse.

Once I get hooked to the machine and on my four-hour journey [when I'm feeling good--yesterday, I was queasy most of the time] I like to think of that time as my personal retreat.  I can just zone out, or watch TV, or play games on my phone, or read, or a little bit of all of it.  When someone comes in with an overtly bad attitude, it really messes with my Zen.  Yesterday, one of my fellows came in throwing her stuff at her chair, and saying very loudly, "I hate this place!".  Ugh!  What a downer!  I could see her attitude affecting the staff and patients around her.  Now, some people can't help how they show their emotions.  There are some people there who don't really even know where they are or "when" they are.  I understand that.  But this person is my age, otherwise healthy, and should by capable of controlling herself.  Sometimes I feel like ripping the needles out of my fistula and running away, but I don't do it.  As long as I have to be there, I might as well try to make it go as well as it can.

For the most part, when I talk to people about being on dialysis, people are very sympathetic or encouraging, mostly positive.  But I've come across a few people who have to share the worst possible dialysis story they've ever heard.  The other day, someone volunteered her friend's husband's nightmare of having bleach pumped into him instead of bicarbonate solution.  Aaargh!  That's given me something new to have running through my mind when I go.  Thanks!

Before I started dialysis, I came across a blog entitled, "I Hate Dialysis".  It was part of the inspiration for my blog.  I wanted mine to be different.  I understand the need to rant.  I do it sometimes myself.  :)  But I can still remember a lot of the negative references the person made, and I read that months ago.  I can't afford to focus on the negative.  It is a luxury I indulge in now and then, but to keep doing this, I have to remain as positive as I can.  It is a conscious decision.  I am a person who has mostly run on feelings most of my life.  That is how I'm geared.  

I battle depression and anxiety, and sometimes I lose those battles.  There are times in my life when I haven't wanted to live.  I understand the lowest depths of self-destruction and hopelessness. I've been there and back.  There have been times in my life when I couldn't control my feelings and couldn't get out of the "funk" I was in.  I couldn't just "get over it".  I have been fortunate to have friends and family [and Zoloft] who have helped me through those times.  Dialysis has actually helped me feel better emotionally, too.  I'm not sure exactly why, but I truly don't feel as depressed as I used to.  It probably helps to get some of the toxic mess out of my body.  

When I think about how the dialysis machine cleanses my blood and helps me to live, it puts all of the rest of it in perspective.  I can withstand a few needle pokes and nausea and a screwy schedule in order to live.  It's not a cure.  It's really inconvenient and sometimes unpleasant.  But I'm feeling better.  I'm alive.  I have gained even more people who care about me.  I'm getting to spend more time with my mom.  I'm back home with people who love me.  I can't ask for more than that.

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