Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

In hospital

Our small living room filled quickly when the ambulance arrived. Cedar Rapids sends police, fire truck and rescue vehicles when they receive an emergency call. There were at least six crew members and officers circling me asking questions, taking vitals and preparing me for the collapsible gurney. 

When you’re full of toxins and sick as the proverbial dog, that much action and urgency can be confusing to an already befuddled brain.  I wasn’t out of it, but I knew my brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders either.  I just wanted everyone to slow down so I could focus.

They got me on the gurney without incident (read that without my retching my empty guts out) and plopped my bag of meds on my belly. Mom lent me a polar fleece robe to keep me warm. I asked for my sunglasses because my eyes were so light sensitive I felt I was living in a world lit by a constant strobe light.

 My teeth, I realized a couple of days later, were still in the denture bath on the bathroom shelf at home. I really didn’t care.

The only way out of the house with the gurney was out the front door and down the slope in the front yard. It was tricky for the crew and for me.  I felt safe, but sick, once inside the ambulance.

Why are there no shock absorbers on ambulances? Or was it just me? The short three or so miles to St. Luke’s Hospital felt rougher than a jetliner experiencing major turbulence. It also seemed hours instead of minutes long.

There was no ER screening since my doctor had called ahead. I – holding my upchuck basin — was admitted straight to a nursing floor and the processing began.  High on the list, though, was a shot to help ease the nausea.  It did begin to help in a few hours though the nausea returned spasmodically, literally, for the next few days.

I sat, propped up in the bed, side rails firmly in place, wearing my sunglasses in the darkened room and clutching the basin. I was miserable.

When my doctor came in that evening she told me first that my “friends had snitched” on me referring to the phone call from my friend’s physician husband. I said I hoped she wasn’t offended by his call.

“Not at all,” she said. I actually was more than a little touched to think he would take it upon himself to intercede in what can be very delicate territory and grateful he did.

Dialysis would take place in the hospital the next morning, the doctor said.

I have to admit I was a bit fearful at the thought of a second treatment considering the effect the first seemed to have on me.


October 24, 2007 - Posted by | dialysis, health, kidney, transplant

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