It was during the small hours of this morning and a soft rain pitter-pattered against the large window that, in daylight hours, grants me a view of the Olympic Mountains to the south of my island home.
I have lived a good many years, my 66th to be completed on the 27th day of this very month, yet my time on our mortal coil seems so much like this early morning’s rainfall. Fleeting. Perhaps that has something to do with my failing kidneys. It occurred to me only scant hours ago that should their function continue to decline at the rate experienced over the past two years, either I shall be hooked up to a machine or dead before the end of the decade. And, since I have already ruled out dialysis, the Grim Reaper might be tapping on my door sooner rather than later.
My specialist, a kind and gentle woman with a motherly manner and a genuine regard for my wishes, has not sounded any alarm bells. There is concern, of course. She is not blind to my GFR readings, which have plummeted from 53 to 32 per cent in the past 24 months. Still, she harbors a stated confidence that my kidneys shall not betray me inside the next five years. But…
“I’ll be interested to see your next (test) results in January,” was her closing, cautionary remark at our most recent visit three weeks ago.
Similarly, my GP, a kind and gentle man with an appreciated soothingness, drinks from a glass that is half full, yet, at the same time, he maintains a sentry-like watch on the downward trend of my GFR readings. I saw him two days ago.
“You should celebrate your 66th birthday,” he suggested. “You’re in fantastic shape for someone your age…except for your kidneys.”
I should emphasize that I am not consumed by morbid thoughts. I only consider my plight on those occasions when I visit my doctors or go to the lab for more blood/urine tests. Having said that, for the first time in my life a sense that I am now merely putting in time has worked its way into my consciousness, like a worm that has burrowed into an apple.
I often catch myself in silent pause for ponder, wondering what I am to do with whatever time that remains on my clock. What to do, what to do, what to do? Get it done, get it done, get it done.
I don’t want to merely put in time, like a disgruntled factory worker punching a clock. I don’t wish to feel like I’m merely putting in time.
Yet that’s how it felt this morning, even after the rain has stopped falling.