This year marks the 4th year anniversary of my dialysis. My life has changed exponentially, in ways I could not have imagined since I began dialysis in 2015, after having visited my birthplace and met all the places and people I never remember because I never forget. I had no idea (I still don't) when I will be able to visit again, or even travel to an overnight destination again. My fears have proved prophetic and I find myself frozen here.
Besides my inability to travel, my life style has been compromised in many other ways. I cannot walk for long; throwing out the garbage is one of the major chores; I cannot keep my house picked up; I fall asleep without being aware of doing it, irritated at my unawareness when I awake. It is getting frequently more rare for me to finish a movie. You could say that I am defeated by fatigue. Sometimes, I just have to close my eyes, no matter where I am, and wait for the clouds to lift away. I cannot imagine a world in which I can schedule a dinner with friends, or attend a play or any gathering that could go on beyond 7 pm. This, unfortunately, does not mean that I can reschedule my dinner to breakfasts.
I could go on, but anyone who has been on dialysis knows my condition and it is not my body's desertion that ultimately deflates me.
I am defeated by boxes.
Yes, patient reader, boxes.
The situation with boxes is unimaginable. It is not as though I am living out of boxes, that I have to dive into a box any time I need a spoon or a scarf. This is worse. I need the boxes only to remove solutions, tubes, and paraphernalia from them; this takes me less than two minutes, and I do not have to think of locating things in my head before I reach for them. So I do not really think of boxes. But at the end of a dialysis session (by morning), I have one to two boxes emptied each day. I am always surprised to see them because they form no part of my conscious routine. These boxes squat in the middle of rooms, being of assorted shapes and dimensions, trip me up, and no matter how many boxes I deflate and throw away, there always are more left over. They stare up at me, their mouths obscenely wide, mocking me, challenging me to guess where they are from, what action caused them to be in their present condition, and now, what I am to do about them.
The cats, who once used to strut confidently through my living spaces, protest when I turn out the lights. They have had to learn to be even more nimble-footed to navigate the ever-changing landscape of my floors. Sometimes, they protest when I attempt to throw out a few boxes; these have been morphed into living spaces and I am not allowed to move them even an inch from where they are. It is not unusual that the dark hours in my house are punctuated with booms and splats as the cats leap and land on various boxes in the night. I tell myself that that would either be a robber or a cat and knowing my house, a cat is the more probable culprit. If it is a robber, then the prospect of human conversation glows promisingly. Perhaps the robber, being of sound limbs and not given to fatigue, might obligingly throw away a few of the boxes, even if only for ease of robbing.
This situation with the boxes becomes even more unmanageable during weeks when the rains refuse to let up. I like to think of myself as being largely benign, therefore deserving of good things and kindnesses; the idea of trudging through the rains, my hair limp and stringy, my shoulders and arms tangled up in heaps of flattened cardboard seems like an undeserved punishment. Also, it smacks too much of melodrama, even for me, who is addicted to Hindi Saas-Bahu serials. So I wait with the boxes for the rains to let up. The boxes begin to mount at an alarming rate; once, I counted eighteen of them huddled in a corner, glaring balefully at me. I seriously considered paying someone to take care of this problem for me. But then whom would I ask? Even at my most frustrated moments, I do not wish for a helpful robber; the gods know I have lost enough to keep such wishing at bay. And when I cast my glance at the lean numbers reflecting my bank balance, I know that paying someone is an improbability beyond fantasy. Now, I only fantasize about a horde of elves, birds, ants, and other helpers of fairy tales swooping in, and in a single tornado, clearing my house of all boxes, visible and otherwise.
Aye, there's the rub. Even in fairy tales, nothing is for free. What would I pay for such a wish to be realized? The answer, of course, is nothing! Not sleep, nor salt, nor coffee! My imagination is better served in accepting the protean nature of my floors. And yet, if you stop by my house of a Saturday afternoon, you will see me, Sisyphus-like, stripping and deflating boxes in never-ending piles and heaps.