The Summer is ending. It hasn´t been any good up here in Northern Spain. Rainy and chilly most days and the misty mountains making sure the clouds coming in from the North sea never go away.
This is Atlantic Europe and the rain sucks, it is true torture. Doubly so as you come out of the dialysis session, late in the evening and, as you wait for the ambulance to come, pick you up and take you home you realize that you still have about one hour and a half of travelling through really scary mountain roads, in the rain, before you get home and to a meal and to bed, or TV, or whatever it is that awaits you.
The ambulance service is a good thing. It drives us to and from dialysis free of charge. Most drivers are patient and polite. A lot of them are young, sturdy, and they have this attitude that if you are on dialysis you´re just a write off as a human being, will not produce anything of value any more and have to be treated with gentlenes, warmth and condescendence. Yet if there happens to be a soccer game that evening they turn the radio on full blast, regardless of the fact that they have an ambulance full of dizzy, weak,even nauseous patients. The guy from the radio screams "GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL", endlessly, and we, just fresh from dialysis, feel like soemone just put a screw through our heads.
The ambulance itself is not a smooth vehicle. It hops lke a metal kangaroo up and down those muddy and rocky mountain roads taking home bunches of hillbillies with end stage renal failure, old a lot of them, and then me. I get to see some really sisnister country side, some really remote hamlets which are not found on any map. Most of them only inhabited by a few old people. Everybody else has left to leave in the cities.
The ambulance drivers are really fine people.
Last week a guy who begun dialysis at the same time as I did, in 2008, left the facility and started to bleed from the artery. Instead of returning to the dialysis centre to get help, he just put a towel around his arm. It would have worked if he had been bleeding fron the vein, but it was the artery and he died from blood loss in only a few minutes.
"How stupid can you be?" said a smart ass at dialysis. But I knew the guy who had died had always been weird and had just been waiting for a chance to die, and found it then. He just didn´t want to get help.
I don´t blame him. I don´t blame anybody for doing what they feel is best for them.
When I am hooked up to the machine sometimes I have strange visions. Last Thursday I fell half asleep looking at the great streaks of rain flowing down the big window panes at the dialysis room . I saw a pair of nasty red eyes looking at me savagely from the darkness of my own heart. And then two twisted, long fangs glittering in the moonlight or some kind of light. I was sweating cold sweat and having awful cramps and experiencing a sort of physical and spiritual descent into a maelstrom inside myself. The nurses and doctors came and took my blood pressure and it was extremely low, so they begun to put salt serum into the tubes. I felt like vomiting but I didn´t. I felt like praying for mercy but I thought fuck it.
Later I was told I shouldn´t gorge on watermelon as I had been doing because then they would have to take extra kilograms out and I would suffer episodes like they one I had just gone through. But I will gorge on watermelon . Life is not worth living if I can´t do that. I love watermelon. I might eat enough of it one day to get a potasium overload and croak. That would be an ok way to go, I´m sure.
I told Noelia, the ambulance driver, to be extra careful driving along those crooked mountain roads that night, with such dreadful rain, for I had had a premonition and I had seen The Devil.
She laughed. She thinks I´m funny. I like Noelia. she is a helathy blond girl with a lot of love for all those old people she takes home at night.
We were driving thorugh a really wooded area and to our right there was a deep precipice, The rocky wall of the chasm glimmered in the rain. Suddenly, ahead of us there appeared two bright evil looking eayes out of the darkness. Noelia had to swerve the vehicle to avoid crashing into the beast in front of us. It had a mean looking face, and the sharp fangs shone menancingly while it made some shrieking noise meant to terrify us. We nearly fell over the edge of the precipice.
Later Noelia said she had actually been on the alert because on my warning, and that is why we didn´t all die that night after dialysis, on our way back home, in a collision with a wild boar.