Aiming for freedom (part one)

So through some miracle I have both landed and managed to survive for one month in this great land of America, that in itself is a true shocker.

Ofcourse however to commemorate my one month here my body decided to develop an infection and send me into what the doctor described as septic shock … and here I was stupidly thinking I wouldn’t have much to write about health or otherwise.


So, before I get into what happened exactly on my one month anniversary here I should probably tell you what this experience has been like thus far.

Up until about well yesterday I was dreading this whole thing, I was not excited to come here nor was I the least bit ready. I was scared and fighting an internal battle with myself because there are so many parts of me that neither I nor you could truly understand. On the one hand I knew that this was going to be an incredible opportunity, the thought of going to America, my america as I have come to know, has been festering itself in my mind since I was very young and I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that this wild dream came about  but regardless of any catalysing event years passed and the dream turned desire and longingness to be in this country has fruitfully developed and at the same time lost all meaning. I couldn’t tell you why I wanted to come here, I still can’t tell you why I want to live here one day.. honestly it makes no sense this country is just as much forward as it is backwards (I say as I sit on a bus passing a store titled “guns guns guns!!”).

So anyway there I have been, carrying this unexplainable dream with me and also talking about it non-stop, ask anyone that knows me and I would have mentioned New York and my loft apartment overlooking central park. The main point I am getting at is that dreams are termed that way because its safe, its always safe to call something a dream and by doing so I feel that we all unconsciously create a subconscious safe cloud barrier preventing us from reaching it because as you should know dreams are made up of the subconscious dabbling with our realms of memories and thought. So calling something a dream is almost like taking it and categorising it as something that will and can never happen because lets face it in my last rem endeavour  I swear I was flying next to Harry Potter…

If I am not making sense, feel free to close this page.

So you take an idea of yours, you call it a dream and in the process you’re safely leaving it in a place where it can’t be touched,  like a book on a shelf you will keep revisiting it longing for the words on the page and the characters to be real but knowing all true and well that a book is a book and once you flip through the pages once more it’ll be over and back on the ‘dream’ shelf it’ll go never to truly manifest itself and you my reader are simply okay with that.

That was America for me, it was a dream, my read the book every night talk to people about it but put it back not the shelf dream, because the chances and opportunity for me to get here felt virtually impossible and even when I could imagine it being possible it was always beyond my reach as a kid, as a teen and then as an adult pinned to a dialysis machine.

What no one tells you about dreaming though is that there is so much fear wrapped around in it and at some point those very few of us that actually choose to instead of reading other peoples stories, write their own books upon that metaphorical shelf, are pained with struggle trying to make something of what was once a longing thought.

I want to convey that this was not something that came easy, nothing ever is, but this to me felt like the biggest internal and physical battle and I questioned what I was doing at every step, even as I sit here I am unsure what I am doing or what the point is. You can’t begin to imagine what it was like to face this particular dream, knowing that not a single person was behind you doing this, not my friends not my doctors especially the people calling home beggging my parents not to let me go. I was not only carrying  my own fears but the fears of every one around me that something would go wrong and I had done enough I have nothing to prove by doing this.

There are certain people where but that there was a moment for a second where you took matters into your own hands and felt a pull that just made sense to you. I feel that there are signs and often I think I make these up when I walk around but if I see something probably more than three times theres a chance I will do something about it. That is the stupidest non-plan ever because naturally walking around a university I will see signs for student exchanges every 5 minutes as posters adorn every other second wall – so I set myself up for this actually. I knew that date it was ringing in my head, midnight 13th september deadline for interest for student exchange.

So I had come home after the worlds best and worst date (the guy ended up having both a girlfriend and a baby on the way), when there was 10 minutes left to send an essay about why I should be picked to represent the university on exchange.

I wrote swiftly, words almost ran between my mind to my shaking fingers within milliseconds, I could never tell you what I wrote only that I was not in control in those minutes feeling as if this essay was filled with frustration at wanting something to change and for ‘life’ to start and taking a leap but not believing for a second that it would ever work out.

Forgetting what I had done months went by and I wasted time enjoying my freedom not really knowing what was about to coming knocking. When the offer came I accepted it very quickly all the while knowing that this was never going to happen there were too many obstacles, my grades, my new job, but most importantly my health, knowing how strict America is with letting people in and my continued inability to obtain any form of insurance. So i sat tight, joked about it with my family and continued to fill all the forms saying well whatever I have no desire to go. I left things to the last minute, I never talked to my doctors about it, I never told my boss this might happen, I played with fire all the while wanting this escape button to exist so I could run away.

There is nothing wrong with my life in New Zealand, I have amazing friends/family and the best support people not to mention endless things to do/places to explore but I had reached a point where I had become accustomed to helping everyone with whatever they needed and feeling as though I never took risks or chances purely for myself. I’ve learnt now to not ignore gut wrenching feelings and my biggest advice is if you feel something just a tad inside of you telling you something, its probably just the right thing to do. I dont mean the inclination to be erratic but you know the one an almost painful reaction telling you or warning you of something. While I had one to say get out of Auckland, another told me I might not make it, so I never booked a ticket just pretended I was going and said goodbye.

I spent my spare time calling insurance companies over and over only to be denied insurance at every level “yes we can insure you for maybe 10 days for everything but kidney issues or diabetic issues” …. so basically the only reason I needed the damn insurance.

However right before I was aabout to give up hope – a miracle came calling when at the last second before I was about to quit I was told about a plan that Indiana University offered which exact words said  “cover all post kidney transplant care, including all blood tests, appointments and anything needed including hospitalisation as a result of or including prior kidney disease”.  I had no idea about this and strangely one of the insurance companies called me back and said okay we will cover you as well for medical and travel but on the condition that if its kidney related its not covered, but if you get a cold you call it a cold not a kidney issue. I got this news 3 weeks before I was about to ‘leave’, but for some reason I never booked my ticket – think now you can understand how doubtful I am about my life.

Then.. as always at the last minute as all movies go … the biggest plot twist. Packing to leave a week before (note: still for some reason had not booked my ticket, something told me not to)… my arms were sore, my breathing became harder, my face looked swollen and my body began to hurt. I knew these signs. I stared at the mirror seeing a face two kilos larger than before and as I stepped back and onto the scale my heart sunk. I was very overweight, now mostly thats just sad news but for me this means my body is not producing urine so I was storing all my fluid in my body. I could have screamed at that moment but I had no choice than to face the inevitable. I walked into the hospital, sat in a chair where my doctor gave me the saddest look. Denisha you’re going into rejection, the kidney is not working, the biopsies look bad and you need to start 10 days of a chemo-like treatment, pack your bags…  for isolation.. not America.



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