Tuesday, Vernon had an appointment in Fountain Valley with Dr. Duong, the vascular surgeon, who checked up on Vernon’s arm and it’s healing. It finally had come down from the swelling that began three weeks ago to a nearly-normal size. Dr. Duong looked it over and pronounced his fistula ready to use in two weeks time. I can’t imagine he is mentally ready for it (what with all his twisting around to get comfortable in dialysis) but this seems to be one of the hoops we have to move through. I just looked back in the blog for the date, and its been nine months since the dialysis fistula was first put in his arm. I have some dark thoughts about it all, but have felt I have no choice but to allow this to happen to him. It’s just another reminder that I really want him to have a kidney transplant so he can avoid all this. Dialysis takes a ridiculous amount of time and energy from his life (time he could be working on recovery) but it keeps him alive. So there is that.
Long mornings like this are always difficult, but Vernon was especially uncomfortable on his gurney, the straps in which he had gotten his arms and legs twisted and tangled. By the time he got to dialysis, he had been on that gurney for almost three hours. I suppose the hard chair was a welcome change. Lois and Marsha, my mother’s good friends (and mine!), changed guard with us a little later. Vernon seemed happy for the distraction.
On Wednesday, we sat with him during dialysis again. I was so thankful for Julia’s energetic reading to him (I’m sure he was too) while I was able to finish editing a batch of photos from a wedding I shot recently. If anyone reading this has thought about giving their time to sit with Vernon for a two-hour spot (five opportunities a week!) but has been nervous about getting started, I do recommend bringing a friend, doing it as a team. It’s easier and makes it more fun. He is easily distracted but loves the company, so two can make it easier. We still have the signup genius option—so if you’d like to sign up, click here. It tends to be the same group of about seven people, which includes both of my parents and myself. I’m thankful for the time and care of those people, but I want to extend the opportunity to others who may have been trying to think of ways to help out. (Wishful thinking on my part, perhaps, but worth a try again!)
On our way up, we stopped by the coffee stand at Mission Hospital, hoping to catch my old friend from the coma days, David. Sure enough he was there, bringing his unique service of a smile and a little psychology to his customers: patients, family, and staff. Just being there for a few minutes made me realize how much personal time has actually passed in this journey…though on paper its a mere 20 months. And he still gave us coffee for free, just like old times.