My parents make the three hour drive from the farm, to my house so they can come to the specialist with me. The show up at my front door before I am even dressed.
‘We can take the tram.’ I say as we walk out my front door.
‘No, we can drive.’ My father insists.
‘Dad, seriously, the tram is so quick and it is literally 13 minutes.’
‘No they have free parking.’ He replies.
I make a loud exasperated groaning sound as I get into the back seat of the dusty and cluttered car. I have been groaning in this manner at my father since I was 16.
Once we are all squeezed into the small windowless room with my kidney specialist. Jeanie gets my results up on her computer. My father is sitting on the examination table with me and my mother is on a chair sitting directly opposite me. Jeanie is at her desk sitting in a swivel chair so she can easily turn to and from her computer.
I am listening to her talk to my parents as I try and think of a way to ask her something I am burning to ask. Two things actually but the lesser of the two evils blurts out before I can stop it.
‘Jeanie, did your results from my blood test say anything about, ah, STDs?’
I can see my father is looking directly into his hands that are resting in his lap. My mother sits looking very much like an alert and dedicated pupil, ready to answer a question.
‘Yes, Jess, all that came back clear.’ Jeanie answers. She then turns around to face us. ‘Why don’t your parents go out and speak to Emma, the transplant co ordinator for a bit?’ Jeanie suggests.
My parents leave the tiny room and go out to the waiting area. The door is closed behind them.
Jeanie scoots over to me and places one one of her hands on the bed beside my leg. She looks at me kindly.
‘What is really bothering you?’ She asks. She plucks some tissues from the box on her desk and hands them to me. Already the tears are beginning to pool in the corners of my eyes.
‘It is so stupid and silly really.’ I say. ‘It shouldn’t matter so much but is does.’
‘It all matters.’ Jeanie assures me.
‘I do not want to have sex with my boyfriend.’ I say in full tears now.
‘I look at him and I can sleep next to him, but, I never desire sex. Not with him or anybody. I do not know what to do. I feel broken.’
I blow my nose and wipe my eyes free of tears.
‘Jess, listen to me. Your body is under a lot of stress. You are relatively healthy in comparison to my other paitients. But, your kidneys affect everything including your sensory system and neurological alignment. Your body is protecting itself and using all your strength to allow your body to do the general everyday things that are compulsory. There is not anything left for sexual desire.’
‘I keep pushing him away.’ I say.
‘You feel guilty and that just perpetuates the feelings of stress and inadaquecy. This is a big deal and she not feel like it is silly.’
I pull myself together and throw all my snotty tissues into the bin that Jeanie holds out for me.
When the appointment is over my parents come with me to get a ECG scan. My face is red from crying and the harsh lighting of the hospital does little to flatter my present state of facial expression.
‘I remember walking like this so many times when you were a little girl.’ My father comments. ‘I would hold your tiny hand.’
‘I am not so old now.’ I reply. I hold his hand for the rest of the walk down the hospital hall way.