Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If only...

When I look back on Chris and my time together, I have few regrets. We were lucky, we lived in the moment. Not necessarily because of Chris' condition but in spite of it. But of course there were things that I wish had been different…
  • if only we’d known that it probably wasn’t mysteriously persistent heartburn but perhaps early signs of aortic pressure which led to the dissection that killed him
  • if only an angiogram or even an ultrasound had been done of his arm before he underwent surgery to create a fistula that took months to heal, was painful to access, and ultimately unusable
  • if only he’d started on a high dose of prednisone last fall
  • if only he’d never developed encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS)
  • if only we’d started home hemodialysis last year
  • if only he and one of his doctors had had a more communicative and respectful relationship, his fluid overload would have been addressed sooner when his blood pressure was already sky-high
  • if only he hadn’t had to wait 14 months before being assessed to be put on the transplant waiting list after moving
  • if only he hadn't had a bout of peritonitis, perhaps no EPS?
  • if only one of the two transplant calls in Ottawa had been a good match
  • if only he had been offered home hemodialysis instead of peritoneal dialysis, perhaps no EPS?
  • if only my parents hadn’t been in poor health and lived so far away, I could have been tested to be a kidney donor years earlier
  • if only his drug dosage had been more carefully monitored when he got his first transplant, he wouldn’t have suffered toxicity and the kidney might have lasted years longer
  • if only his blood pressure and kidney function had been more closely checked as a youth
  • if only his condition had been diagnosed at age 2 or 3 instead of 9 or 10, his kidneys would have suffered so much less damage, he might not ever have needed dialysis
  • if only he hadn’t had a fluke birth defect
  • if only…
But all these things did come to pass and none of us – Chris included – can take the blame for them. Because despite any second guessing and misplaced guilt, all these experiences contributed to making Chris the person he was: strong, patient, curious, tolerant, wry, generous, empathetic, and loving. Were they fate, chance, flukes, destiny, mistakes, oversights… who knows. The only thing to do is what Chris usually did: learn and let go and love.

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