Ivy and Noah


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The problems with renal failure.

In case you don’t know -

because I didn’t, acute renal failure is no walk in the park.

Just when you think that things are going to get better

they get worse.

The doctors say things like ‘she will turn the corner tomorrow’ and you wait and hope as you watch your child writhe in pain

and vomit until there is nothing left

but nothing changes.

Her lethargy leaves you with barely enough to do (rinse out sick bowls, apply cold face washers) except watch the clock as she tries her  best to compensate

for whatever damage is going on inside that little body.

You start to wonder if  she will ever be okay  again.

Some blood results come back looking better but then in the next breath you are told that others look worse

and that worse thing is poisoning her from the inside out.

It’s causing her to cry out and tell you that she ‘really can’t do this any more’.

It breaks your heart and makes it hard to stay strong.

In case you don’t know -

because I didn’t, kidney damage makes blood pressure go through the roof

and high levels of urea cause the heart to go too slow.

Once the infection has cleared it seems strange to see those numbers

but there they are, flicking up on the little monitor, bright as the day.

I don’t like numbers.

I don’t like monitors either.

Nor do I like that my (almost) eighteen year old daughters are playing mother while we are stuck in the hospital unmoving in more ways than one.

They’re stressed.

I’m stressed.

Their father is at work, bringing in an income.

He drives away at five in the morning and then it’s up to them to run the household.

I don’t like his work or their expectations, although I understand them.

I still don’t have to like anything about them -

especially the fact that he can’t be with the kids when I can’t be either.

So much for the promise I made to myself that I would never have latch-key children.

I have to rely on my kids to look after my other kids.

It’s hard to expect that of them.

It’s hard for me to see that happen.

Suddenly they have had to grow up all at once and that seems wrong to me.

They are doing admirably but I wonder how all of this will mess them around when their real adulthood arrives.

They are angry and frustrated and hurting too.

They are children, after all.

It’s close to midnight now on day six of this hospitalisation and I look at Ivy and wish for a different life for her.

I do that often theses days.

Tonight she has just had her fifth cannula placed in as many days, with countless attempts before success.

I am angry and beaten and sad and defeated all at once.

Her arms are black and blue and she is as pale as the white hospital sheets.

I’ve just checked that she is breathing for the umpteenth time.

This admission seems as though we are adrift on an angry ocean with no land in sight,

in a boat that is rapidly sinking -

which is no good, when you think you may have forgotten how to swim.





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27 Responses to “The problems with renal failure.”

  • Malady:

    I didn’t know any of those things about renal failure Tiff, and I’m so sorry that you and your family and beautiful Ivy are having to learn.

    Thinking of you all, and what it’s worth, hoping the seas calm soon.

  • Fiona:

    We are all here Tiff, we will all be here to help you in any way possible.

  • Denyse:

    Tiff, have you actually left her bedside to go outside or anywhere other than the bathroom since Ivy was admitted? I can completely understand why you wouldn’t but I also know there has to be a way for you to be able to do this. I’m very concerned for you. No-one is there checking on you. Mama, nurse Mama too. Please, see if you can tear yourself away, for a bit. Even if it’s now, tonight. Breathe it in. The outside needs you for a bit to refocus, breathe & return to Ivy. Nothing is good about anything you have said tonight. Constantly thinking about Ivy & all of you too. But I do not want to see you fall down any future. Love D

  • cat@jugglingact (11 comments.):

    Oh Tiff, my heart goes out to you all.

  • Jodi:

    Wish there was something more tangible I could do. Sending prayers and Hugs. I know it’s hard (my kids had basically no mother for 4 years due to my breakdown) but there are positives to kids having to step up and help out. Some days I wonder if we keep them as kids too long (teens I mean). But that’s a debate for another time and it doesn’t stop the mother guilt. Hope you get a much needed breakthrough soon.

  • Georgia (2 comments.):

    I’m sorry Ivy and your family are going through such a tough time right now. I hope that tomorrow is the day that Ivy turns the corner and starts to get better.

  • Jeanette (3 comments.):

    ((hugs)) I can only imagine how stressed you all are. Praying that Ivy recovers quickly

  • Jodie:

    Much love xxx

  • Hall:

    I am so so sorry that you’re going through this… praying for you all.

  • Carol:

    Hang in there tiff.

    You’re doing an amazing job and the other kids are too – good on them for stepping up, the responsibility and courage they are developing will strengthen them and give them solid foundations for their grown up lives.

    So so hope it all gets better soon xx

  • Jan:

    Dear Tiffany – It is, of course, not ideal – but it is what it is. I agree with a comment above that maybe we keep teens as kids too long. Your teens will no doubt have developed a profound maturity and that cannot be a bad thing. Thank you for the update – I can only imagine how much courage it must take to write each post. So many thoughts with you all every day.

  • Trish (42 comments.):

    Heartbreaking , I just want to come and hug you all, do something. I admire your strength and I’m so proud of your daughters tenacity to dig deep too.

  • Rhianna (11 comments.):

    Oh Tiff, I am so sorry. Hang on in there lovely. Sending lots of fairy wishes and butterfly kisses your way and hope it picks up a little today xx

  • SassyCupcakes:


  • anne:

    my thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful daughter and all of your family. anne in ny

  • Jen (71 comments.):

    I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better. Fingers crossed for you all. xo

  • river (194 comments.):

    one step forward and three steps back is not the way life is supposed to go. :(

  • Elaine:

    Thoughts and hugs to both of you.

  • BW aka Barbara from Boston:

    Praying for a miracle for all of you, especially Miss Ivy. This is no way for you all to enjoy life. Lots of love hugs…

  • mum:

    No wonder you are feeling all at sea, despair engulfing your ability to swim, with feelings of futility and neglect of family and Ivy not faring as well as was expected and a prolonged treatment regimen with so little results. Try to take heart in any response or signs of improvement, however small they may be, even with all the negatives. Above all else, don’t give up hope that Ivy will recover, however long it may take,

    Despite their weariness and stress, your teenagers are doing exceptionally well holding everything together at home because they understand the need and because that’s where they want to be. They are coming to realise even more, all that you have done as a parent and continue to do. Albeit earlier than hoped, they are gaining the experience and life lessons that will always stand them in good stead, making them even yet more appreciative and responsible adults.

    Stay brave dearest girl, as well you can and rest assured that all healing thoughts and heaps of love are with you all through this heart wrenching ordeal and always. xoxo

  • Rebecca Van Hout:

    Oh Tiff :( Tears just flowing for you and your family. I wish I could make it all better. Hugs and prayers that Ivy starts to turn the corner soon!

  • jeanie (226 comments.):

    (((((((((((((Tiff))))))))))))) – I wish there was more. I wish there was a miracle. I wish that you could be both places at once. I wish that your husband’s work needed him less and still paid for your family to be able to be together.

    All I can do is pray – which I am doing – I wish that there was more.

  • Kathy 2 (7 comments.):

    :-( Oh Tiff. I’m so, so sorry this is all happening.

  • Multiblogging Mum (3 comments.):

    Sending lots of positive vibes to you all.
    Hoping that some good changes happen real soon.

  • Jennette:

    I’m so sad for you all.
    But please don’t keep beating yourself up for what your teenagers are having to deal with. It is moulding them into the wonderful caring adults you will be proud of. The sorts of people our society need more of! All our childhood experiences shape us, and what they are dealing with will have many positives in the long run. All families are dealing with different issues and it’s just part of life. Some look like perfect childhoods others are obviously far from it. The rest of us fall in between. Your kids have 2 strong, loving, caring parents that are doing the very best they can for all family members.
    I’m proud of you all, although my heart goes out to you for the hand you have been dealt. Ivy is always in my heart.

  • Malady:

    I’ve been thinking of you all daily, and hope that you are well on the road to recovery and far too busy being happy to write here xo

  • Jennette:

    Those eyes….

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