If you have ever known someone who lives with complete renal failure, you know about urine. Until recently, I have never known anyone living with complete renal failure. I knew that there was a thing called dialysis that kept them alive, but that was about it. Now, I am a person living with complete renal failure. It’s better than what I imagine being dead is like, but it definitely sucks. In case you are like I was and know next to nothing on the subject, I am going to educate you on urine. Mostly because I am working to build a platform in anticipation of trying to sell books and fudge to you and your friends, and I thought urine would be a perfect subject with which to accomplish this goal.
So I am a diabetic. I found this out when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa. Until then, I was just your normal, beer-swilling fat kid. Suddenly, I became very thirsty. At the time, I was working part-time as a clerk for a horrible gas station. I was dying of thirst, so I walked across to the fountains and helped myself to a Mountain Dew. 27 gallons of corn syrup beverage later, my undiagnosed body was debating about whether to go into a diabetic coma, or find some other way to colossally fail.
One Saturday, I was working the register and I started to feel really horrible. It was like I had tried to swallow sand paper. I finished my shift and went and got a giant Wendy’s Frosty to sooth my throat. After consuming the pure sugar treat, I parked my car and walked to a house party. $5 for a cup, all you can drink. I felt so horrible, I could only get one beer down.
I finally convinced my best friend, Mitchell, to loan me his car so that I could go to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The biggest problem with borrowing Mitchell’s car was that he had recently lost a pound of hamburger somewhere in the car about a week and a half earlier. Somewhere under the back seat was festering, rotting flesh. We honestly tried to look, but no one could find it, and the smell kept driving us away. People literally vomited trying to help Mitchell with his rotting meat car. It stunk like nothing I have ever encountered since, and I have worked murder scenes.
I drive this murderstenchmobile across town to the hospital while gritting out the worst pain I had ever felt up to that point in my life. I finally get there and walk into the emergency room.
Right after telling them my name they said, “Sir, how much have you had to drink tonight?”
This would be a common theme of the evening. They would ask how much I had to drink, I would tell them,” one beer.” and they would roll their eyes. They gave me Kaopectate, for fuck’s sake. Meanwhile, the lady in the room next to me actually was super drunk. I was laying there, contemplating death while she was tearing things off the wall, throwing them, and threatening people at the top of her lungs. It was a crazy scene.
After an hour or so, my bloodwork finally came back and they saw that I was not drunk, my blood sugar was just in the 600s (it’s supposed to be 90-130). My untreated diabetes had chosen to manifest into pancreatitis. Sadly, there isn’t much to be done about pancreatitis. It’s extremely painful, and the medicine is to lay there for a week and take it. I think back to this night (along with what happened after I tried to get a vasectomy (which is another story)) whenever someone threatens to beat me up.
“I’ve felt Hell motherfucker. Nothing you can think of can match what I have already been through. So swing if you’re feeling it…”
After that, I was a regular fat kid with diabetes. However, I wasn’t good at it. I wouldn’t check my sugar like Wilford Brimley told me to. I would just jack myself up with plenty of insulin and then head out for the night. After marriages, careers, kids, and various other shenanigans, it finally caught up to me.
I go to hemodialysis three times a week for four hours a pop. It is exhausting and crampy, but it’s probably an appropriate penance for being a less-than-ideal diabetic. However, 33% of the time, someone asks me, “Do you make your own urine?”
See, a person’s kidneys filter the waste out of the liquid in their body, then waste liquid is released as urine. If one’s kidneys are broken, no urine is produced. If no urine is produced, no fluids are released. If no fluids are released, the person will blow up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. It is not pretty. The only way to get it out is dialysis, which both removes fluid and cleans the blood.
So far, my answer to the urine question is yes…but my output is decreasing by the day…and my weight is skyrocketing. As a result, they put me on my first fluid restriction last night. I can’t have more than 24 ounces of liquid per day. 24 ounces?! We live in the goddamned desert! Everywhere people go here, they carry some ridiculous hydration system from the Target corporation. What’s worse is that I typically drink 40 ounces of coffee every morning. Today I have had zero.
If you guys thought I was a dick before, hold on…you’re about to experience decaffeinated metten. Please, I am begging you: Please give me one of your kidneys so that I can drink again!!!