Blurry Vision

I’ve been home from a mission trip to Peru for about 30+ hours. Re-entry is usually one of the most difficult elements for me. Returning to a ‘normal life’ after the experiences of a foreign life is hard, sometimes to the point of being painful.

Our flight(s) from Chicago lands in Lima. But that’s only part of the journey! We board a bus for 8 hours of winding, twisting, ups and downs thru the Andes to deliver us in Huancayo. This is a difficult bus ride even from the comfy seats of our section. I know myself well enough to know that I will need something stronger than Dramamine for this ride. I acquire the prescription patch for motion sickness and it has served me well! Not to the point of being able to eat anything during the bus ride, but I’m at least not doing the opposite! (sorry for the visual)

One of the side effects listed is ‘blurry vision’. I didn’t really notice it at first, but when I tried to read something after our arrival it was very blurry. For those of you that wear glasses, especially bi-focals will understand. I could not move that piece of paper into a happy place of clear vision. Extend my arm, nope…up close, nope. I could make out the letters enough to guesstimate what I was reading.

I removed the patch upon arrival in Huancayo, but for days my vision didn’t clear. Frustrating is an understatement! Talking with several of my team mates, I found that many of them were having trouble with blurry vision as well. But no one else had worn the ‘patch’.

Naturally, what goes up must come down. Our return trip to Lima was by bus, which means another patch. I kept the patch on for the 2 flights from Lima to Chicago. (For the obvious reasons) But even today, 30+ hours later, my vision is still blurry. I will share more about our day-to-day activities in another post, but this singular malady has stuck with me the entire journey and home again.

It struck me this morning, while my vision may be blurry, my sight has become crystal clear. No event that I had seen over the course of my days in Peru can be unseen.

  • To see a street child, dirty – nose running- and unattended, with nothing of a worldly possession other than the coloring page they just finished at your little table – singing praises to God….your sight becomes very clear about our selfish ways.
  • To know that the cookies and juice box we gave them, may be the only thing they ate that day.
  • To have nearly 100 kiddos line up to hug you and kiss you with no motives or other expectations other than the fact that you came (back) to see them.

Clear, so very clear. Re-entry is hard. Coming back to a life when my ‘normal’ would be to complain about a broken washing machine, or my pool is green. Even as I bring in my suitcase from the garage, and start to sort the filthy clothes of Peru, I can’t help but be sad to wash away the dust of the brickyard that permeated every pore and space of our being and belongings. To wash away the places where the little grubby hands wrapped around us and hugged so close.

Yes, my vision is still blurry this morning. Possibly the remnants of the side effects of my medicine patch, more than likely its from the tears that still fall. But I know,  my sight is clear.

The sound of the kiddos, praising God, still lingers in my ears. “Abre mis ojos oh cristo!” {Open the eyes of my heart Lord} The trouble with asking God to open your eyes of your heart….is that He will do it and it will change you for ever and always.

There! I’ve said it!

My mouth tends to get me in trouble. Perhaps it’s a snarky comment that escapes before my brain engages, or it’s my warped sense of humor that maybe only one or two people on the planet understand. But the other day my mouth said something that shocked even me, in a short brief moment, a revelation was sparked.

I recently heard of a colleague who was having a difficult time with reoccurring kidney stones. I wanted to reach out an offer a nugget of encouragement and inquire if he was under the care of a specialist. I wanted to offer up the name of my nephrologist, as I really respect and appreciate the level of care he gives. As my colleague answered no, he did not have a doctor; he surprised me with a simple question in return, “do you have a problem with kidney stones, too?” My answer was quick, unplanned and blurted out, “no, my kidneys are failing.” Gulp! I said what? I’ve known it. I’ve lived it. But I’m not sure that I’ve actually said it. My kidneys are failing.

Two years ago I went to my nurse practitioner thinking I had an infection (as I’ve had 100’s in my life time) She discovered that the lab numbers were alarming and ordered more tests, and more, and ultrasounds, and..ugh a lot of stuff! She referred me to a kidney specialist and hugged me and explained that yes, she was being aggressive and that I am fortunate to catch it in it’s early stages because  most people don’t get a diagnosis until much later in the disease.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. I’ve had issues all my life with kidney and bladder trouble. I was told that in my toddler years, I spent some time in the hospital with a ‘kidney issue’. I’ve asked relatives if they knew any details, but those who knew it best are gone now. My diagnosis didn’t really surprise me, but I don’t think I really owned it as a reality. For some strange moment, two years later, my words made it very very real. I was given medication and dietary restrictions, rules and regulations. I’ve been pretty good about them. When I have been really bad….my kidney function numbers are really bad. I’ve seen the benefit of being better, and been scared by the bad. My darling husband encourages me, and has been scared with me. But I don’t think either of us has really seen the gravity of what my future may hold.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of girl who will just let this get the best of me. I’m not resigning to the fact that I will have to face dialysis or transplant. I know it is a possibility and being realistic about it. I also know that I serve an amazing God. An awesome healer and great physician. Whatever His plan for me, I will walk in it.

I don’t know which direction this journey will take, I just know I need to get moving. Changes take time, and I am blessed to have amazing cheerleaders beside me. I won’t shed another tear and wonder ‘why me’. I will walk in faith and ask for God’s direction. I won’t simply be a good girl, I will be a better girl and take care of myself.

So today, I will march in to my 2 year ‘anniversary’ nephrologist’s appointment and know that I have a great God, an incredible husband, and an amazing family by blood and heart! I AM blessed!

 

For more information about kidney disease: http://www.nationalkidneycenter.org/chronic-kidney-disease/facts/

{WonderWoman}