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You wouldn't believe where I am. You could guess, if you've seen the gratuitous images of my self-satisfied gurning face in front of an infinity pool on Facebook...otherwise you might find it hard to imagine the paradise in which I currently find myself. I am in Dubai. Bar Abby Clancey and the cast of TOWIE, is is not everyone's idea of paradise - it actually wasn't mine. It is exciting, exotic and fucking hot, but the skyscrapers and traffic, the desert and cultural  deficiency (not to mention the chavs that clutter up the Ritz Carlton these days, I mean honestly...) suggest you'd be hard-pushed to call it paradise. It is vaulted to utopian heights simply because, four-months after the transplant, I am here. My nearest and dearest suffered for seven years as I dreamily aired my wanderlust. Yet the reward of a post-transplant holiday seemed too extravagant a prize for which to yearn - wasn't a life free from dialysis enough? Wasn't having a drink when t
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The phone rings Part III: The Final Chapter

Two weeks ago today, I was in surgery receiving my new kidney. The hospital kicked me out in less than a week and over the last seven days I have divided my time between the transplant clinic and my sofa, with the occasional shuffle up to Sainsbury's to ensure the muscles in my legs don't atrophy. I've had the pleasure of a steady stream of visitors, all of whom have bought me yet more wonderful and totally unnecessary gifts – I have been royally spoilt and I am stupidly grateful to all of you. The kidney itself appears to be going great guns. I was initially attending clinic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and was committed to doing so, but the hospital are so pleased with me they are happy to start seeing me just twice a week. The pivotal result they test for is my level of creatinine, a substance that occurs naturally in the body as a result of muscle break down. The kidney filters out creatinine through the urine, therefore if there is lots present in the blood it is

The phone rings: Part II

Anaesthetic can do weird things to you. It makes you sleepy (clearly) but in the past I have arrived back from surgery giddy as a chipmunk in spring. When I was wheeled back onto the ward after the transplant, I was not so much giddy as...suffering from delusions of psychosis. This was how I announced myself to Mum and Sam anyway, scaring the shit out of them in the process. I spent a wide-eyed half-hour protesting against the poison in my body before declaring, "I don't feel a shred of hope and I shall never be happy again".  I remember only:  1) being told the kidney was not producing urine, and consequently thinking the transplant had failed  2) that I had to stop myself asking the doctors to take the kidney out and  3) despising myself for my ingratitude. It was the first in a range of unexpected emotions I would feel over the coming week.  After half an hour of drug-induced ranting I finally - mercifully - passed out. Tuesday When I wake up, a

The phone rings: Part I

When I open my eyes, I'm not sure where I am and I can't move. The last thing I remember is having an oxygen mask clamped over my mouth and being told to inhale; it was quick and traumatic and now I feel as if I have awoken in that very scene. I am freaking out. "Where am I? What's happened? What have you done to me?" "You've had a kidney a transplant," says a genial Irish voice, as though this sort of thing happens every day. Sunday, 6:10pm It is 6pm and I am on my sofa, writing on my laptop with one eye on  Dinner Date . I feel peckish, so I decide to make myself some bulgar wheat and peas (don't ask) and watch the Strictly results - it's about time Dave goes, the joke has worn thin. The phone rings. A man with heavily accented English asks to speak to "Rosa....Rosymend....Edwards?" and I am about to tell him I am not interested in whatever he is hawking, the words are about to roll off my tongue, when he introduces himself


I decide to go for a run. I decide to go because when I undress in front of the mirror all I see is my rotund belly and bulbous thighs. I grab at them and pull, as though I am trying to rip off the chunks of flesh. This, in contrast to the tired, dry skin on my face, etched with deep lines like carvings in rock. It has not recovered from the eighteen months when it was not nourished, but elsewhere fat is sprouting. I lace my trainers tightly. I don't know the time, I have stopped wearing a watch. I start running, and soon I am fleeing. It feels good: I haven't been able to run recently - thwarted by low blood pressure. Every rusty muscle is in movement, together, sliding back and forth in tandem and I feel slow but I feel fluid. I pull up from my core. I think I am the best runner you will see today because once I watched a tutorial on YouTube with Paula Radcliffe. I run alongside the common, not on the grass; I prefer the solidity of the ground, the heaviness that rises

The Balancing Act

Roll up Roll up! Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, step forward and prepare yourself for the most un-nerving, topsy-turvey show on earth! Your eyes will be deceived, your mind won't believe, you will never be the same again! Your thoughts will be tattered, your soul left shattered, enter only if you dare...behold, if you will, the most wondrous spectacle of the 21st century to date...I give to you.... The Home Haemo Balancing Act! Standing room at the back. That's right, ladies and gents: I am currently engaged in a one-woman balancing act in which I try to manage my nocturnal dialysis schedule alongside something much more closely resembling 'normal' life. Everyone's life is a balancing act to some extent: kids, money, work, home...all the elements that make up daily existence need to be juggled, prioritised and considered. My problem is not that I have more  to balance than anyone else, but it seems I am profoundly worse at finding the middle ground tha

The cold creeps in

I have a problem: I'm becoming cold. I don't mean emotionally frigid (though my ex-boyfriend might disagree) I literally mean physically chilled. In bed. I should probably explain. Ah, summer. Remember that? It happened (I think) over eighteen days some time this year and snuck in between the chilly spring and bleak autumn that is now upon us. It was warm once I believe, but now it is freezing and it seems twas ever thus; it is freezing in my flat, it is even freezing in my cosy little bedroom-cum-medical depot, and dialysis is like roses and old people: it doesn't do well in the cold. I'm a snuggler, you see - not with men, let's not be ridiculous - but I like to burrow down under my duvet like a hedgehog when the winter months encroach. At least I did, until Dermot arrived. When I started nocturnal dialysis, the weather was warm and lying prone on one's bed was a prerequisite for a good night's kip; now you have to get yo' wriggle on to avoid waki