The typical college dating world was never on my radar on dialysis. Having tubes protruding from my body – I jokingly referred to as “my piping” – the thought of going on a date didn’t appeal to me: even now since I’m off dialysis the idea of going on a date doesn’t exactly tickle my pickle. At what point during a date do I mention I hardly drink, I probably won’t be able to eat most of the food on the menu and my kidneys are the size of the olive in my date’s martini? Hmm… should we save this for before or after our first course…maybe never?
Perhaps I’ll just subject my organs to even more biological dissonance for the sake of my date so that they don’t cast me as “fragile goods”. Yeah that’s right, maybe I will eat this phosphate-filled-kidney-killing carbonara in the hopes of having some normality in my life. I mean we can hardly call it normal if I’m referring to it as phosphate-filled-kidney-killing carbonara, can we?
Turns out asking someone if they want to see your catheter doesn’t quite have the same charm once said aloud
So let’s say I’m on a date and things are going well, in fact very well (wink wink, nudge nudge). I ask myself, do I take this potential lover back to the place “where all the magic happens”? As in the magic of modern medicine and the life support machine in the corner of my room. Um… I think not. Yep, absolutely not.
There’s no hope in hell any guy I’ve just started seeing wants to hear “Excuse me, do you mind plugging me in for the next nine hours?” (oi oi). We all know young men can’t resist it when she gives you that look and hooks herself up to a 3 litre sack of saline solution. Yeah baby, give me more of that life-saving medicine!
In spite of my cynicism you might be surprised to hear that I did manage to go on a single date on dialysis. I mean this figuratively and not literally: we weren’t actually sitting in my bedroom listening to the not so distant bleeps from Betsy (my dialysis machine, obviously). In fact, we ended up watching a film and grabbing a drink, as in he bought me a Corona and I didn’t even think to buy him one back. If you’re reading this you know who you are: next time I’ll buy you two, I promise.
But let’s be pragmatic here, it’s been almost 4 years and there’s no way he’s ever going to go on another date with me. Turns out asking someone if they want to see your catheter doesn’t quite have the same charm once said aloud, but…call me maybe? Anyway, as we said our goodbyes I wondered if he would be shocked to learn that whilst he was running off to the club I’d also be doing some hooking up of my own… oft Betsy you’re some machine!
Dating as it is in college is replete with self-consciousness and insecurity, but when you’re as sick as I was, things get even more complicated
Looking back, I’m glad our date didn’t go anywhere. The thought of dating someone whilst there is so much discord in one’s life is unnerving. Is it worth introducing someone else to your illness? I chose to avoid men like the plague. Often whispering “run woman run” under my breath whenever I saw a fine looking fellow. I desperately tried to prevent my illness from taking hold of my life but my kidney disease continuously triumphed. At Trinity Ball I sewed “my piping” to the seam of my dress so no one would see it. God bless any man that came my way, I was busting out all sorts of dance moves so no one would feel my tubes. I had to be careful though…that night the sprinkler wasn’t just a dance move, it was the reality of my catheter.
Jokes aside, dating as it is in college is replete with self-consciousness and insecurity, but when you’re as sick as I was things get even more complicated. Imagine having to tell your date you can’t go to his favourite Italian because you can’t bear to look at an olive.