Like many, I have always treasured my absolute freedom; freedom to vote, freedom to practice what religion I want, freedom of speech and once I retired, the freedom to travel.
In fact, that freedom to travel bug bit me hard and my husband and I deliberately chose to not have any pets, a garden or live plants because we lived spontaneously.
We lived so spontaneously, in fact, that I remember one evening receiving a call from friends wanting to know if we were coming camping. It seems that somehow we had the original message mixed up and didn’t realize that people were waiting for us to arrive.
Without second thought we threw toothbrushes, a change of clothes and needed medications in the Jeep and took off in under five minutes. Never mind that the top of the Jeep was off and it was threatening to rain any time.
That was a wonderful time with friends and the mix up did have its advantage – my husband and I didn’t fret and pack for a week in preparation as we are prone to doing. That just showed me that lots of times we put unneeded pressure upon ourselves. For what reason, I don’t know. But I do know now that sometimes simply taking a deep breath and revising the To Do list are great tools.
Yes, spontaneity and the travel bug were very much part of our carefree lives.
Then I got kidney disease. Things quickly changed. In the blink of an eye we went from foot loose and fancy free to three times a week dialysis in Trail.
After that nothing was spontaneous and the travel bug wasn’t satisfied with those three times a week travelling to Trail for treatment. But what can you do?
For us, we simply dug in our heels, put our heads down and did what we had to do with what we hoped was grace and dignity.
Now, almost one year after doing the above the time has come where I will be doing dialysis in the home. Right now it has to be three times a day, every day of the week. That’s not very freeing at all. However, once I have that mastered, I will be trained to hook up to a night cycler in which my dialysis is done while I sleep. I can’t even imagine the sheer joy I will feel when that happens. Although I will always have to be sure that I have my supplies with me wherever I go, the bottom line is I will be able to go wherever our hearts desire.
If I want to go to Timbuktu I simply need to let the medical goods supplier know my precise agenda. It’s amazing that once again we will be able to travel. Once again we can become the “winter visitors” in warmer climes. From where I am currently standing that looks like pure heaven to me.
The point which I am inching towards in this column is that my husband and I didn’t reach this point in isolation. It was with the help of many people, organizations and companies that made this dream come true.
For example my health care team must number in the 30s, if not 40s or more. When I contemplate that, I find it absolutely amazing. All of those people working together all for the good of my health and understanding at the same time that health encompasses more than what the body needs.
I can’t say I will be sorry to not have to go to the renal unit in Trail for dialysis, but as I walked out of that doorway last Saturday, my last day on that unit, I couldn’t help but fight back my emotions. Those people were not just my support team they had become my friends. The very best part is that I know that while I had invested in them, they too invested in me. I was not simply a patient.
Now I sit here ready for a new adventure and I know that without their care and direction things could have worked out so differently for me.
Thank you to all who have helped bring me this far. Sometimes it truly does take a village.