Sep. 11th, 2014 08:24 am
abrynne: (Default)
Things kept falling and making big bangy noises, waking me up. Curse you, bottle of TUMS!

Since I'm awake let me describe my current situation:

Right now I am sitting up in bed. It's still semi-dark in my bedroom. I've been up since about seven and decided to open up Harold (laptop) after dilly-dallying around on my phone in Candy Crush, waiting for the next set of levels to open up. I have just finished answering some messages on FB and decided to make this entry because I am literally stuck in here for at least another hour.

I would like to go to the bathroom, but unfortunately I am connected to my cycler. The cycler is a machine that I hook up to every night and basically does my dialysis for me. It has a pump that puts fluid in and out of my body at certain intervals throughout the night. That's probably the simplest explanation for it.

In the spirit of naming all of my devices and appliances I have named my particular cycler Legolas because it is essential for my survival yet constantly states the obvious.

There is a ten foot line of tube that connects me to Legolas, so I am "free to move about the cabin" as it were. But I can only go as far as my bedroom door, and that's about it. I'm kind of on a leash. A leash that's connected to my insides, but a leash nonetheless.

Having woken up early today, I have to wait until Legolas is finished before I can disconnect from it and go to the bathroom. Maybe take a shower.

The good thing about Legolas, however, is that my days are freed up. I don't have to do any treatments during the day because Legolas handles them all at night. So, that is nice.

My relationship with Legolas has not always been so peachy, though. Oh no. When I first got Legolas, he was set to drain as much fluid out as possible before he filled me up again. I don't know if I can accurately describe what it feels like to have something hoovering out your insides, but I can say that it is not pleasant. It was very painful at one point and I was sore during the day.

Now, after my nurse changed some settings, Legolas and I have an amicable relationship. Very give and take. Well quite literally, it's give, wait for an hour, and then take again.

Mom bought me a notebook at my request, and I've been scribbling in it off and on. Going back to the beginning (This is where I am, this is where I'll stay! I will nobemoved!) and writing by hand again is kind of refreshing. It's slower, but then again, I'm slower right now, so it fits. I do feel like some of what I used to be is coming back. Sounds dramatic doesn't it? Yet I can't think of another way to explain it.

I still get tired easily. Don't know when that's going to go away. I did some laundry yesterday and helped Mom and Dad and Sean can peaches. And that basically wore me out. Even though I slept in really late I was able to go right to sleep last night because of how tired I was. It still feels like a work out taking a shower.

But I'm helping out more. Mom doesn't go downstairs much because of her knees, so the laundry is officially my job. I also try to help cook and stuff. Standing at the stove to cook something is a challenge because I get tired and have to sit down, but a couple of months ago I couldn't really stand at the stove at all. Progress! I guess. :P
abrynne: (Default)
It's been pouring rain outside all day long. Perfect writing weather.

I've had the itch to write in the back of my brain for the past week or more. But my fear of diving into it again has trumped the itch so far. I'm not sure what exactly I'm afraid of. I suppose I've been away from it for so long now, it's hard to get up the courage to try poking at it again.

I went into the hospital at the end of March. It is now the end of July. Maybe it's the idea that my motivation is completely gone. I can't even come up with a reason to pick up a book and read it. What with all of this change in my life, I've been having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it's difficult to see the point when all you do is sleep, try to eat, make sure to get your four dialysis treatments in (Don't forget those!) and then go back to sleep again.

Yet, there has been this itch.

And I still don't know what to do with it. I think I'm also afraid that this whole medical experience has sucked all of the creativity out of me. Yes, that may be an irrational fear (fear itself is typically irrational) but I've been trying to come up with a reason for my complete lack of motivation to do anything that I used to enjoy.

With that though, I'll just be talking myself in circles. I want to try waiting on it a little more. Writing was the only thing that I really wanted to do. Now, I'm very afraid that that's not the case anymore.

I've been living at the parents' house since May. It's been okay. I have my own little bedroom, where I've hung up some posters and where Becca also brought me a life size cardboard cut out of Jared Padalecki. He stares darkly at me from my closet. For a while I had a scarf wrapped around his head so he'd stop staring at me while I put my underwear away.

Living at the parents' house comes with the instinctive "helping out" feeling. And I try to when I'm feeling good. Mom has a hard time going up and down the stairs, so I've been doing more of the laundry lately. I'm kind of a weakling, but stairs don't bother me at least.

I've also learned a lot about Halo and other video games through Sean. He's let me play some, and while I'm not horrible, I would be a major handicap to any online team I joined. But that never bothered me. I just enjoy blowing things up.

In return, Sean's been watching Supernatural with me. He's never seen it before, so I've been very excited about getting him to watch certain episodes. We're in the middle of season six.

My treatment is the same as I stated before. I'm doing it at home four times a day. It's not bad, but sometimes it can get in the way of things. Cecily took me down to Ashland for some of the Shakespeare festival a couple of weeks ago and I had to bring all of my stuff with me so I could do my dialysis in the hotel room. Once we were there it was okay, but it took a bit of planning ahead, which I'm not prone to. We also had to plan out or days while in Ashland around the times I needed to stop and ... dialysize.

Hopefully it won't last much longer. Next week, I'm going to start training on this machine they call a "cycler" which will do my treatments at night while I sleep (Hopefully I'll be able to sleep.) so eventually I won't have to do anything during the day.

I'll still have my catheter that goes around with me. I know what I thought of when I first heard the word "catheter" but it's not what you think. This catheter goes through a small hole in my abdomen about six inches to the side of my belly button. The tube inside drains the old fluid and fills me up with new fluid for dialysis. The tube outside is about eighteen inches long. And I have to coil it up and tape it to me in order to keep it from catching on anything.

After having that tube for almost three months now, something interesting came to mind. I thought of that line that Tony Stark says in The Avengers. Tony points to the glowing arc reactor in his chest and explains that it's keeping him alive and then he says, "It's a part of me."

That's what my catheter is too. It's something artificial that was put in to keep me alive. And it is a part of me. It's nowhere near as awesome, of course. And I doubt I could power a metal suit with rocket boots with it. Regardless, it does what it's supposed to. And it's been part of huge changes in my life. It's a part of me now. Although... maybe if I ran into Tony he could think of something cool I could do with it. :)

Hm. Maybe that writing thing will come back after all.
abrynne: (Default)
I just read through my last post. Wow, that is depressing. Justifiably so, but still...

Instead of going to get my blood cleaned three times a week, now I do my treatment at home. I have to drain and fill my peritoneal cavity (It basically holds all of your organs. Yes, everybody has one.) with a special solution, which pulls the toxins and extra fluid out of my body. So I drain the bad stuff out and then fill up with a fresh batch every time I do it.

It took some getting used to. I started on this about a month ago. That was a really hard week, when I first began the training. But I got used to it. I'd say that's been the biggest idea behind this whole process, "You'll get used to it." I can't say how many things I've had to "get used to" within the past three months. But that statement has yet to be proven untrue.

"Home" is also very different now. I moved out of my parents house when I was twenty-four years old, back in 2007. I'm thirty one now, and back in the house with Mom and Dad, and the youngest bro, Sean.

Like with anything else, there are pros and cons to this transition. There is usually someone home with me, which is nice. (I've had a hard time with being by myself since I got out of the hospital.) Yet Sean takes over the TV downstairs almost immediately after coming home from work.

I'm really grateful though. I've been completely dependent upon them since I moved in here, Sean included. He brings the boxes of supplies into my room when I run out; Dad's taken over my car payment and insurance; and Mom's gone to every appointment with me, she brings me food and helps me with my laundry.

I would not be surviving without them.

What's frustrating though is I feel like that's all I'm doing. Surviving. I haven't written a single thing since this insanity began. I don't draw anymore; I just sit and stare at Netflix. It's understandable. But I can feel my brain getting restless because my body is still weak and requires a lot of rest.

I wake up in the morning, thinking of things I want to do. It's usually just simple things - wash my hair, put some laundry in, maybe get out my sketchbook - and, like yesterday morning, my body stopped me. My blood pressure dropped dramatically that morning, and I didn't even have the strength to make my bed. Cec had bought tickets for a One Republic concert ages ago, so I had no choice but to try and rest before it was time to go to the concert last night. Thankfully, I was able to go and didn't have a hard time. It was a great concert.

Maybe that's just what I'll have to do. I need force myself to get back into the things I liked to do. It's so easy to get complacent and just not care anymore.
abrynne: (Default)
Apparently there's been a fuss about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints asking those who support the group "Ordain Women" to not protest a session of the church's semi-annual General Conference which will be happening in a couple of weeks.

The members of this group are (mostly as far as I know) female and members of the LDS church as well. I am also female, single, and a member of the LDS church. So, let me break it down here.

Our General Conference consist of five meetings that take place within two days (Saturday and Sunday) in the fall and spring of each year. There are two meetings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, lasting about two hours a piece on each day. And on Saturday evening, there's the third meeting for that weekend which is generally called the Priesthood Session. And that means that all worthy members of the priesthood are asked to attend. Meaning the men who are ordained priesthood holders, usually from the age of twelve and up.

The Priesthood Session is what "Ordain Women" plan to protest, as I understand it. Makes sense, as their goal is to have the LDS church allow women to be ordained with the priesthood as well.

Women don't go to this session of General Conference. However, they, and anyone else, have access to read and watch the talks from that session in the church's published magazines or on the church website later on. So to be clear, the Priesthood Session is not a super secret meeting between just the men of the church. Everyone can find out exactly what goes on in there by just opening up their internet browser.

And, interestingly enough, there is also a Women's Session that happens twice a year in the same fashion. It usually happens a couple of weeks before the weekend of General Conference. It's just for the women. This year they are making it open to girls and women ages eight and up. You can also go onto the website or look in the church magazines for all that is covered in that session as well.

Now, for the priesthood itself. I can tell you with complete honesty I believe a woman should be treated with respect and appreciation in her every day life. I believe that women should be paid as much as men are for the same job. I believe that women have a right to as much education as they need/want whether they plan to be a mother, or CFO of Nike. Personally, though, I never have wanted to be ordained to hold the priesthood.

Holding the priesthood is an enormous responsibility. Yes, with it you can be given leadership roles in the church, which are even more of a responsibility. To be a worthy priesthood holder, you have to constantly work at what you know is right. Keep your pride in check, know that it is only to serve God, your family, and your fellow man (and woman). I've seen men buckle under this responsibility. I've seen and heard stories of men, leaders of their congregation even, fail at keeping this up. It has proven to me that Satan works even harder to bring down those men God has called to be priesthood holders and leaders in the church. Sometimes, sadly, he is successful.

But to me, that is also why the responsibility of the priesthood is given to men.
If you look at recent statistics of the LDS church there are more female members than male. Women are more receptive to the teachings than men are when investigating the church and its gospel.

I've been a member of the LDS church my whole life and now, in my thirties, I still continue to learn about it. This is not any official doctrine or standpoint of the church itself, this is my opinion only. I believe that there is a special Priesthood session because the men need specific counsel from the leaders of our church that focuses purely on them as men and priesthood holders. I also believe it is the same for the Women's Conference. I have watched and read talks given in the Priesthood sessions, and I've attended many Women's Conferences. It still amazes me at how poignant and specific the speakers are to each group they are speaking.

I know it may not seem like it but I do understand the motivations behind "Ordain Women". It is about equality. Allowing women into more leadership roles in the church, giving them an opportunity to hold the priesthood as other churches have done. It makes sense from the point of view of equality, which I am usually in favor of.

The sisters who are pushing for this kind of equality in the church - and I say sisters because that's what they are as we are all children of God - may want to think a little harder about their motivations, though. Equality is usually all well and good, but when it comes to being a worthy, ordained priesthood holder you need a little more than that. Remember what I said about keeping your pride in check? Wanting the priesthood just to say that you have it is not what having it is about. If you're willing to serve God, your family, and so forth what's great about being a woman in the church is that you don't need to have the priesthood in order to accomplish that. There are so many other ways to serve that are just as important as serving using the priesthood.

To me, women are equal in the church. We just have different things to do. It is our job to support our priesthood holders whether they are our brothers, fathers, husbands, or crazy uncles. I know that sounds like a very old fashioned thing to say, but just remember that the support goes both ways - equally.

As women in the church we are incredibly special. Our male leaders have said as much and more. We are here specifically to help the men. Because even our leaders know that they would not get very far without us.

And if you still are skeptical about just that one responsibility I have listed for women in the church, I'd like to introduce you to my mother, Kathleen. Mother of seven children, supporter of six missionaries (Five boys, one girl. Two of them overseas.) and married to the same man, a priesthood holder, for forty-three and a half years. She's a musician and taught Sunday school until very recently when she had surgery, and they decided to call her to teach one of the children's classes once she is recovered. All my life she has reminded me how important my role is in supporting priesthood holders. Now that I am older I understand more of what she was talking about. It is super important.

As for other responsibilities for women, there are many. And I'm not only talking about becoming a mother, which is an enormous responsibility within itself. I'm single and in my thirties, as I've said. I also teach a primary Sunday school class. (Eight year old children.) That in itself is daunting enough. There is also helping support the missionaries (sisters and elders), fulfilling your calling whether that is primary teacher or Relief Society President, helping other sisters and families in your congregation.

For each woman her responsibilities are a little different, but they are all so very important to the whole that is the church, no matter where in the world she may be. And that's why wanting more, wanting the priesthood as well seems silly to me. There is so much on our plates already.

The focus of the LDS church is charity, which we are taught is love in its purest form. We strive to become more like Christ, who's love was and is perfect, flawless and told us that "Charity never faileth". Striving for goals that serve to only fulfill your personal pride is the opposite of all of that.

Equality is important. But to those women who are fighting to have the priesthood given to women as well as men, I ask them and whoever is reading this: On top of everything else we do, do you really want it?


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