Monday marks three weeks since I started this crazy ride called peritoneal dialysis.
The first week was marked by training at the clinic on manual exchanges, where either I or gravity do most of the work. I only dialyzed during the visits themselves; in other words, I only kept on the fluid that helps suck out the toxins that my wretched, lazy kidneys won't during the actual clinic visit. It wasn't really enough to notice any significant change.
During the second week, I began machine training, and also carrying fluid during the day when I left the clinic, emptying it myself by manual exchanges at home. I had also begun manual exchanges over the weekend at home from the first to second week.
The Wednesday of the second week, I brought the machine home, or rather my nurse, Joseph McIntosh - a Clarendon Hall grad - brought it to the house for me. That night, I hooked up for the first time and used the machine throughout the night.
This Wednesday will be two weeks on the machine nightly and, therefore, dialyzing every night.
During an eight-hour period my machine cycles me through five exchanges - a drain, a fill and a dwell. The dwell, where the liquid remains in your body and essentially does the work of your freeloading kidneys, that's the longest part. Mine is one hour and 14 minutes.
I was told it would take up to a month to notice any changes in my overall health, but I'm already seeing some improvement. I've had only one morning of nausea, as opposed to being nauseated most every morning. I've had no cramps. I've even had a few days where I've had no hiccups.
I've also regained an appetite, and now instead of having to make myself eat, I actually think about what I might like to eat instead of just shrugging my shoulders and thinking, "This or that will do."
Still, no medical treatment, no miracle from heaven, not even Jesus himself could give me enough of a stomach to tell you that green bean casserole is anything but disgusting.
It's the red-headed stepchild of the pot luck, and I say that as someone's red-headed stepchild.
Seriously, the relative that brings it to your home for any holiday, or the church lady who brings it to any Southern Baptist or Southern Methodist after-service fellowship, should have their pans and spoons taken from them, get smacked on the hand and told "No!"
As if asking people to eat green beans wasn't bad enough - seriously, they're the worst of the vegetables - you want to soggy them up even further with cream of mushroom soup and then top it off with French fried onions?
Who thought of this? What person having any right to be in a kitchen looked out into the ether and uttered the question, "How can I make green beans even more terrible?"
Whoever did, congrats! You succeeded.
Thankfully, at my home during Thanksgiving, no one made this travesty or brought it over. We had turkey, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, butter beans and rice, barbecue and dresing with gravy.
The green beans were left at the store where they belong, along with that nasty cream of mushroom soup. Had anyone brought that monstrosity to the house, it would've sat in the garage in the corner like a child who stole from the store.
I remember the first time I heard about a green bean casserole. I was in college, and I had a group of friends at the University of South Carolina who decided to have a big Thanksgiving shindig at their home. This home was our so-called party house.
My friend, Camille, squealed that "Someone has to bring the green bean casserole."
I inquired about its ingredients and, when told, gagged like I drank bad tequila.
But being the good sport I am, I said I would try it. And I did. And it tasted just as gross as it sounds.
Sure, I suppose I'm never going to like a dish whose main ingredient is my most hated vegetable. Not even my stepmother, Debbie, who can pretty much cook everything, can make those green nothings palatable.
But people absolutely seem to love it. I did a Google search and there are millions of recipes out there for essentially the same dish.
I suppose I will never understand what makes people love it, anymore than I will ever understand how Nickelback sold millions of albums only playing three chords in basically the same key in all their songs.
I read somewhere that green bean casserole most popular in Kentucky.
That explains a lot.