Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

The initial aftermath

Home. Safe.

 Aunty Em, Aunty Em! Please stop the world from whirling around me!It was, too, every time I stood up.

I was so weak and disoriented that Mom, who’ll be 89 in November, pulled out her second walker so I would be more safe traveling the hallway to the bathroom. It seemed one of the longer journeys of my life to shuffle from the living room to the bathroom clinging to the walker for support.

It was a long, long night, too, as I drifted in and out of a restless sleep. Finally morning came and I was on the telephone talking with a friend and nibbling at some canned peach slices when it hit. Nausea. Big time nausea. Nausea so strong I broke into a cold sweat.

I stopped eating. I stopped drinking. I stopped taking my medications except for the insulin I administer through shots.  Moving wasn’t necessary to trigger the nausea, it was there all the time. For 32 hours before I called the ambulance to take me to the hospital.

At one point I’d managed to make to the bathroom and sat on the stool. My mother came to the door saying, “let me help clean you up a little. Maybe you’ll feel better.”She came into the bathroom and moistened a washcloth with cool water. Mom used to be about 5-feet-5 tall, but age has shortened her stature and bent her back.  But she was still trying to care for her child as best she could. 

She took the cloth and tenderly started to daub at my face. Up close her skin looked like rice paper but her face and her stance, oddly, looked like a concerned mother chimpanzee. I remember in the mentally altered state I was in thinking: “Bonobos…we’re like chimpanzees, the mother caring for her child” and how there seemed to be little difference in the cherished care tendered.  

That mother-child bond truly transcended species for me in that moment. Of course, as poisoned as my body was, it was only the first of many odd observations I explored during the next week or so.

The friend I was talking to when the nausea struck is a nurse. She’d been telling me for weeks that I was “under reporting” my symptoms. Her husband, a doctor, unbeknownst to me or my friend, after hearing my symptoms, did the unthinkable: He called my nephrologist to tell her he thought I was sicker than I knew and perhaps she was unaware of the fact since I was a new patient. Bless him.

I had called the  nephrologist Sunday to tell her how sick I felt and she asked if I thought I could tough it out until the next treatment on Tuesday. What did I know? All this was new to me so I said I supposed I could.

On Monday, the nephrologist had the dialysis charge nurse call me to ask how I was doing. “Do you think you should be in the hospital,” he asked. “Yes,” I said and told him I had been just about to call 911 for an ambulance when he called. “I’ll call the doctor and have her arrange for you to be admitted right away,” he said.

Finally, about 4 p.m. that Monday, I was in a hospital bed with a shot for nausea and the side rails up to keep me from falling out of the bed.  About midnight, about 40 hours after the nausea began, it started to subside. I was in the hospital for a full week as they monitored me and adjusted medicines, etc. as my body struggled to rid itself of the toxins in my body.

Add to that my blood sugars soaring from highs in the mid 200s to sinking so low I started to go into shock. I was so light sensitive that I sat in my room with the blinds drawn wearing my sun glasses and my eyes still hurt.

Enough for now. I’ll tell you more in the next post.

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

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