Monday, August 6, 2007

Blood Work

“Dialysis is a method of removing toxic substances (impurities or wastes) from the blood when the kidneys are unable to do so. Dialysis is most frequently used for patients who have kidney failure, but may also be used to quickly remove drugs or poisons in acute situations. This technique can be life saving in people with acute or chronic kidney failure.”

I walk into the treatment room. Ba has 13% of her kidney functions. Her body is broken, but her heart remains as solid as a good heart should be. I see the back of my dad. He sits at the foot of his mother. When we were young, we were told to bow at the feet of our elders, as a sign of respect. “Puge-lago,” means to bow in praise of an elder, wiser. He sits at his mothers feet.

At her side, my sister stands. I take in a deep breath. Just breathe. My dad leaves the room, and us sisters are at Ba's side. Tubes hang from her nose. The incision from which they drain her blood pierces her gentle, delicate neck. She looks so tired. I look at her for a moment. The machine steadily sucks the blood from inside her battered body. I see bruises all over her, from all the poking and prying they have done to her over the past few weeks.

She lays still, on her back. Her eyes are mainly closed, but there is a slight gap of grey light. A powerful grey light. She occasionally flutters and squeezes her face. I see and hear her pain. I powerfully expel the energy of hope that if there is such a thing as mercy and salvation, the universe will now allow her to be set free of this lifetime.

Ba is so tiny and sweet. I stand beside my sister and look at her with such tenderness and admiration. I hope to be half the woman she is one day. I wish to be half as strong as she is one day. I wish to have the will of her blood applied to the healing of my broken heart.

My dad leaves quietly. We look at each other and acknowledge the mutual concern. No one wants to see her suffer anymore. I stand at my sisters side. I watch her tenderly stroke Ba’s forehead, to try and ease the severe pain she feels from the tubes inserted into her neck. The blood coldly is devoured by the greedy tubes. They need to remove 3L from her body just today. Today, there could be more treatment needed. My sister asks me if I wanna trade places with her. I do move closer to my Ba.

I place my hand on her head and slowly rub her head in comfort. She fights to open her eyes and says a few random words in Gujrati. My sister tells me to softly tell her to stop speaking, it hinders the blood from draining quickly. Then I hear something clearly. Ba speaks, “oh God, please take me now. Enough.”

I have a tear drop from my eye, down my cheek and into my broken heart. I take my sister's hand and grip it tightly. She has yet to give up. Why do I feel like sometimes I want to ?

After 3 hours of treatment, Ba emerges. The difference in her appearance is remarkable. When back in her room, she eats for the first time in 3 days. We pass Ba her dentures, my aunt warms her food. Us. Children, son-in-laws, brothers-in-laws, grandchildren, great-grandchild. We wait in the lobby and rotate to give her our love. Ba always smiles at the sight of my niece, her great-granddaugher. True to this routine, Ba lifts her sunken face and smiles at her innocence, her youth, her compassionate gaze. Beautiful. Ba still manages to find a reason to smile.

I watch Ba eat from a distance. I watch every mannerism she makes, every breath she takes. I cherish every moment I see her. I entirely admire her courage and refusal to succumb to the pain. Her sheer resistance to allow her soul to be shattered. Her sheer refusal to have her faith bow in disgrace.

I am told that she is the blood from which I come. Allow her blood to flow through me now. I gotta find some peace of mind.
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