Sunday, July 10, 2011

Switching Gears

Peritoneal cavity...nephrology..catheter exit site...these are all words I'm using more often. Someone close to me has advanced kidney impairment and started peritoneal dialysis. It's a great treatment that can be done in the comfort and convenience of one's home. However, in the beginning, it needs to be done four times a day, and takes an hour for each cycle, not to mention the preparation and sterile conditions required. On top of everything else to do, this is quite disruptive.

Looking at the situation, I decided to move back in to my folks' house and take FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act of 1993) for nine weeks to help out. Some people may question this, how it would affect my career progression, if I would even have a job. FMLA guarantees a role upon return, so that wasn't really considered. Part of me wondered if I would even want to go back after a break or how my peers and superiors would view the break. In the end, I decided that family is more important right now that work, and that I would appreciate spending more time with my loved one down the track. People in our current society place so much emphasis on career focus before anything else can transpire, but life doesn't always work that linearly. Having worked straight through college and consistently afterward, what could be the harm in a break?

Not to say that I am sitting on the couch eating bonbons. There is driving to doctor's appointments, changing dressings, carrrying dialysate bags upstairs, schlepping used solution to the nurse practitioner for testing. Having more time at home and more people in the house allows me to cook more too, allowing me to go through my archive of Chow recipes of the day, such as beet greens and feta pasta and shells with arugula pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts.

In addition, I have taken it upon myself to clean my parents' house (read: get rid of junk). The living room is done, onto the kitchen. It pains my mother to part with Danish butter cookie tins and glass jars, but I'm warming her up to it. When the furniture gleams from orange-scented polish and the cabinets can be opened to well-organized, non-expired foodstuffs instead of an avalanche of plastic bags filled with God-knows-what. So far so good. Now if I could only tackle my room....