You may not realise it, but June 15th is a special day, people. Spechul. For one, it is my dad’s birthday, so yay, Happy Birthday, dad! For two, it’s the day my car goes in for its annual MOT, and I get to spend several hours totally crapping myself as I wait to find out just what the damage will be this time. It’s also the day that I bought gold shoes I really can’t afford but hey, we don’t talk about that…
In addition to all of this, however, June 15 also marks the 6 month anniversary of T-Day: the day Terry’s brother John gave him the kidney we now call “JK” (John’s Kidney. Clever, no? You can tell I’m not a writer for nothing!) and normal life – or as close to normal as you ever get when you’re The Girl Who Fell Off Her Bike Twice in 30 seconds – resumed.
Six months. Who woulda thunk it? Six months ago today I was sitting in the reception area of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, staring at the scuffed bit on the toe of my boot, and thinking that this moment – this horrible, horrible moment – would never end. It felt like it would last forever. It felt like that moment would just stretch out into infinity and I’d be left sitting there, waiting and fearing the worst for the rest of my life. There’s nothing focuses the mind quite like major surgery, let me tell you.
Six months on, and the thing that amazes me most is how quickly I stopped thinking about it. For maybe three or four weeks I’d wake up on dialysis mornings and remember with a jolt that dialysis was no longer part of our lives. Only three or four weeks to wipe out two years of habit, and after that the “new life” we’d been looking forward to became simply “life”, and things were back to normal. Just like that.
It took much longer to shake that feeling of being somehow “other” that we’d carried around with us for two years. To be able to go out for dinner with friends, or bump into acquaintances, and not see that look of pity cross their faces as they asked how we were, and was there any news about the transplant? It took a while to feel that we were truly back to “normal”. Even now I’ll be out walking the dog, or filling up the car, or mowing the lawn, and I’ll be suddenly filled with this feeling of inexplicable joy. It always takes me a few seconds to identify just what it is, and why I’m feeling it, and then it will hit me: this is what “normal” feels like. This is how people feel when there’s nothing in particular to worry about. Wow, again.
I never want that feeling to go away. Six months ago today, I sat on that chair in the hospital reception area, and while I made all of those deals with a God I don’t believe in, the main thought going through my mind was that if you just let this work out OK I will never take normality for granted ever again. Because this “normality”? It terrifies me. More, even than the MOT thing. (The MOT was fine, by the way. A clean bill of health.) It’s a pretty fragile normality. It feels like it could fall and shatter at any second, and I’ve always said, there’s nothing more terrifying than hope.
I hope that this first six months is just the start of many more months of normality. I hope I get to feel that burst of “hey! There’s nothing wrong right now!” happiness at least a few more times before we’re done. I hope I never forget what December 15th, 2005 felt like – and how much better things are six months on.