The Countdown Begins – Day 7

Kage Baker frequently despaired of my health.

Not that it was that bad. I seldom got colds or influenza or even migraines; I don’t have a bad back or trick knee or compulsive shin splints, or any of the other problems that can accompany an (often violently) active life. Outdoor theatre in all weathers and every season is arduous – but I dodged most complaints.

What drove Kage (and all the rest of my friends and family)  nuts was that I seemed to save up my sick days for disasters, and then fall over in throes of something improbable. In her own last days, she ordered me not to try living alone, lest I collapse some day from dengue fever or an alien parasite, and end up as tale of horror on the evening news.

The longest-enduring of my few chronic problems has been – as I have frequently mentioned – the shenanigans of my right kidney. After putting up with it for 50 years, I finally found a doctor who agreed it had outlasted its usefulness. I’ve been technically in kidney failure for months now, but the Final Countdown began today!

A week from now, I’ll be recovering in my hospital room in USC Verdugo Hills, free at last from my evil kidney. The last 3 weeks of waiting have been a trial and tribulation. but now the end is finally in sight!

I’ve been off the grid for these weeks because I have a Crazy Straw lodged in my right ureter. It’s actually a ureteral stent, but it looks like a Crazy Straw – and feels like one, too. Imagine this as part of your personal plumbing:   crazy straw


Pro: it connects my kidney to my bladder and forces it to drain; left to its own devices, my kidney just pumps out urine into a dead end in my blocked ureter until DYI disembowelment begins to seem sensible. Con:  it irritates everything to which it’s connected. I haven’t been able to sit up for very long; nor to walk very far; nor to stand up for more than about 15 minutes.

It’s meant to flexible, but also to lodge itself securely in place. Wearing this thing has been a minor hell. Also, I’ve gone through 3 cycles of Cypro to keep down the inevitable UTI’s, and have again lost my fingerprints … though I assume I could kick the ass of any anthrax bug that tried to infect me. That’s the other thing Cypro is for, besides unrelenting UTI’s – anthrax. Small wonder Kage didn’t trust me to maintain my health.

I would have been as merry as a grig if this stent were anything like the 5 in my coronary blood vessels. Those look like tiny Mexican finger traps, made of platinum – I wish they glowed through my chest, like Iron Man’s reactor, but at least they are painless. They don’t show, but I know that my heart of surrounded by these:   coronary stent








Now, that is elegant.

But now – it hardly matters! Today I had my pre-op blood tests; Friday I have my pre-op registration talk with the hospital. And on Monday morning at 9 AM, I shall be blissfully asleep in the knowledge that my nemesis kidney will soon be gone …

So, here I am, Dear Readers, back to blogging. Thank you for your patience. These last 3 weeks, I have been just clinging on, sitting as still as possible, waiting. The wait is finally some fun, because the end is near! Time to count down the days until I am free!

This Halloween, my own personal monster loses.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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8 Responses to The Countdown Begins – Day 7

  1. Luisa Puig says:

    Best wishes, Kathleen!


  2. buggybite says:

    I hope it all goes well and marks the start of a better phase of your life, health-wise. You’ve rather been through the mill, haven’t you? And put a brave face on it as well. Fortunately, there’s a good end in sight, and you’ll get your life back.


  3. Lynn says:

    All our thoughts will be with you on Monday, Kathleen.
    An awful thought, if you haven’t been able to sit up, have you been able to knit? That seems to be almost half your leisure activity. Thank gods the Kindles of the world will work in any position!


  4. Cynthia Olsen says:

    All our thoughts are with you, Kathleen. May it be over quickly and may you have recuperation with no complications!


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