I'm giving the gift of life.
People kept saying that to me today. I'm giving the greatest gift there is.
Thinking back, I think that's what panicked me. As I sat with a social worker after hours of talking with a nephrologist, the transplant coordinator, and the donor advocate I was on edge. Barely holding it together. I could feel the edges of panic creeping into my consciousness.
I had to ask the woman to please stop talking so I could fight back the rush of heat, the stomach clenching, the unbearable fear that I'd have a total breakdown in her office.
The gift of life? That's too huge to wrap my head around. But so were too many of the other topics that were covered. Blood clots. Kidney rejection. Life insurance policies being canceled. Health proxies. Pre-admission cat scans. IV's. Catheters. Post op tremors. Family medical history. My battles with anorexia and anxiety. Probabilities of dialysis for donors.
And, of course, death.
I explained to the social worker that my best coping strategy in life is compartmentalizing. That and not digging too deeply below the surface of things.
Today, they all dug for me.
I don't want to think about what ifs in the same way that I don't really listen to the stewardess's emergency options presentation. I know these things exist but minutely scrutinizing is too terrifying. For me. For right now.
By the time I got down to the lab for 9 vials of blood to be drawn it was a true pleasure to talk to the technician about how her 19 year old daughter doesn't appreciate her. To talk about something that wasn't me.
I'm used to taking care of everyone else. Having all these people concerned only with my well being was unnerving. Disconcerting.
I prefer not thinking about this in such enormous ways. Perhaps I should refer to my kidney as a fruit basket for the time being.