The past few years, starting the day before Christmas in 2008 have brought me many new things. Not one of which was a good thing. The first new thing was a heart attack. This was followed by another new thing…. Kidney failure. I had never been seriously sick for a day in my life before this. Yes, I’ve had colds, even a few severe colds, but nothing kicked my ass this badly.
All this medication screwing me up is something I cannot get used to. The only medication I ever took in the past was cough medicine and aspirin. Even when I broke bones, I refused the pain killers. When I had teeth pulled, I refused the pain killers. When I had surgery on my wrist, I refused the pain killers. These pills are slowly killing me, I am sure.
The latest new things were brought to me via Hurricane Sandy. The first new thing was losing all of my belongings. this was hard enough to deal with, as I have an emotional attachment to my “stuff”, like so many others do. This was not the worst thing visited upon me by that bitch of a storm. My Mom, whom I lived with at the time became sick. It started with pneumonia, which was fairly common for her over the last few years. Again, medication…. Enbrel. It weakens the immune system. Having no heat, hot water or electricity in the house for almost a month didn’t help. Even when we got the generator, thanks to my brother-in-law who spent days driving around looking for one, we had trouble getting gas to run it.
The pneumonia caused a rapid heartbeat along with atrial fibrillation, which can cause strokes. People can live for many years with this condition. In fact, we have a family friend who has had it for nearly 20 years. As our family luck would have it, Mom had a stroke exactly one week after being diagnosed. It was a massive stroke. She lasted another week. I won’t get into all the things the hospital did wrong, but that could fill a book.
As if dealing with all of that wasn’t enough, the latest new thing to be sent my way is I need to find a place to live. I spent my entire life living in 3 places. The first place, which is also the third, was a family house, built by my Great Grandfather. 4 generations of the Geremia family lived there. The second was a temporary move to Richmond Hill when I was a baby. After moving back to Ozone Park and growing up on the second floor, I moved from my room to a basement apartment that I still miss. It was beautiful. All wood, handmade trim, etc… (all done by my Grandfather).
Then, in 2003, the family moved to Howard Beach, where Mom always wanted to live. She bought a fixer-upper and I took a year off from work to re-do the house. Rooms were gutted, ceilings were vaulted, windows were removed, replaced, moved, etc…. The only work done by outside contractors was the roof, the siding and the kitchen cabinets. I did everything else myself, including removing the pool that was sinking and replacing it with and inground. This house was made in Mom’s image and it is still very much her.
I never got to fix up my apartment downstairs. After 10 years, I was still living out of bins and boxes, for the most part. It was partly due to life getting in the way and partly due to the fact I was sick and didn’t know it. My heart attack on Dec 23rd, 2008 was the first warning that something was wrong. The doctors told me, normally the first sign of a problem is….. you drop dead. I was lucky, they said. I got the warning and survived it. I was not so lucky that my kidneys failed, however. I place the blame for that squarely on Dr. Simon Prince.
When your kidney doctor (can’t spell nephrologist…..) puts you on a water pill that dehydrates you, makes you dizzy and pass out, makes you walk into walls and gets you sent straight back to the ER, then tells you the water pills killed your kidneys, the kidney failure is his fault. End of discussion. I am on dialysis because of him.
Back to my current problem. I need to find an apartment before Dec 20th. In fact I need to be moved in before then. Time is running out fast. All of this is new to me and I am over my head.