II. a. Final 6 months in the ICU

Written by Anne Marie Ward
Art by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

(Imagine they/you lost the bet—[through some bad luck on a genetics x  environment x lifestyle x lack of healthcare roulette, your kidneys get fucked by IgA proteins and immunity]—then are struck w/ the contradiction of a persistently rising fever after a significant brain bleed [from high blood pressure from fucked kidneys] after one weekly dialysis sesh: your body attempts to protect you, kill invaders climbing the walls. It begins to pull out its own bricks, a hyper reaction of shivering and sweating, like a cassette frantically spitting out its tape—denaturing its proteins, I mean—and hospital-grade ice blankets cost like $10,000 in intensive care to force the fever down, like taking a $10,000 pencil and trying to re-spool the cassette’s tapes before it is lost. Chilled lobes and systems on ice as manual reset, chased by drug-induced coma that lasts days/weeks/months longer than the doctors can explain… All of this, to preserve your life in increments of the next 15 x the next 15. Avoid multiple systems’ failure as cause-of-death typed on their copy of/your official certificate, tucked in a binder for your adult daughter to find as she goes through old paperwork before a move.)