Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Ramblings of a Transplant Patient-- Sticking to What Matters

After going through something like a kidney transplant, one would hope to emerge with a much different outlook on life, a brand new approach to dealing with complicated situations, and deeper appreciation for the things that really matter.  But our old selves do not disappear that easy.   While planning my wedding, it was easy to not throw a fit over the same things that would send some brides over the edge.  And it was easier for me to get over and accept the things that I could not change because of my situation.  Of course, I’d say, I don’t have any more money, because I have medical bills.  I don’t have time to worry about programs, because I’m in the hospital.  I don’t feel like getting stressed out over details that will end up stained, in the trash can, and forgotten, because my organs are failing.  

It’s much more difficult to remember those times when nothing mattered and walk down that same path of nonchalance when you’ve reached the mountain top of your struggles.  On the way up, all you care about is making it up there. Once you’re up there, everything else that you “should have” cared about begins to flood back into your thoughts.

I catch myself all the time, in these moments where I’m asking myself, “Why do I care about this?” Because you see, I know that life is short, and that there are things and people worth using thinking space and worrying space on.  It’s nice to say that I don’t put too much stock in many superficial things, now that I've experienced having someone else's kidney put into my body in order to survey, but I’m not going to lie.  I’m human, and I still get caught up into giving two sh&*s about stuff that doesn’t deserve it.  I still care about—

Being accepted, something I’ve struggled with since I was five-years old.  Even though I moved around a lot growing up, I wasn’t that good at making friends.  I attribute it to some combination of me being weird, smelly, quiet, and, quite possibly, a bitch.  Why do I care about this?

“The Joneses.”  I couldn’t find anything else to describe the feeling of wanting to have it all and to keep up with the people who do.  I’m not big on material things really.  Ben and I JUST started incorporating buying clothing into our budgets, and I could stand to replace all if not most of my make-up.  It’s more about reaching goals.  Seeing the most sights, buying a house, or having the most fun doing whatever I’m doing. Why do I care about this?

What Having a Kidney Transplant Taught Me About Acceptance:

--that I am weird, smelly, quiet, and most definitely a bitch…sometimes. 

--that I don’t need 50 sometime friends; just one always friend who will visit in the hospital. Or call to say they’re thinking about you.

--life’s too short to pretend to be something you’re not…or to pretend to like something you don’t…or to try to fit in with people who just don’t get that you’re weird or smelly or quiet or a bitch sometimes. 

--life’s too short to not spend as much time as possible with the people who really truly get you.

What Having a Kidney Transplant Taught Me About The Joneses:
--I shouldn't compare myself to others. I have no idea what someone else's journey in life is.

I know that change takes time, no matter what you've gone through.  It takes weeks, months, sometimes years to realize what lessons you could have learned from any experience.  Not all of our inner demons disappear when a part of ourselves is replaced with something else.   Not all of our insecurities run scared when faced with death.  But I guess the difference is now, I know better.  And when you know better, you tend to do better, think better, and act better...when you remember.