Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Rolling like a drunken sailor

It seemed for the following week as some complications subsided, others cropped up, and others just sat there brooding and mystifying.  The most troubling being my sensitivity to light … well, that and the fact every time I tried to walk I felt I was reeling like a drunken sailor.

My body was full of fluid and full of toxins. If you’re of delicate constitution, you may not want to read the next few sentences. My first few bowel movements — as my body flushed some of the toxins away — were foul, to say the least.  I was happy I didn’t expect visitors and apologized to the staff who had to monitor my urine output. They, of course, said they’d smelled worse…I don’t know how.

The sensitivity to light seemed to puzzle even the doctors. I’d tell them that I felt I was walking around in a constant camera flash, and like inquisitive dogs they’d tilt their heads and mumur, “hmmmmmmmm.” I never did get an answer as to what was causing the daze, but I’m glad it’s gone. It does seem to return to some extent with my low blood sugars or optical migraines.

The drunken sailor question was pretty well answered the Friday before I went home on Monday.  The physical therapist helping me get ready to return home said she believed it was probably because of the excess fluid in my body, some of which, she said, was still sloshing around in my center of equilibrium.

It made sense to me and explained why when I tried to walk a straight line I couldn’t seem to control where I’d end up. I also felt like I was listing to the right constantly.

By Wednesday, I was jonesing for a shower so bad.  It had been the Thursday evening before when I’d last been in a shower.  I had been cleaning myself as best as I could by using the moist bath towelettes the hospital supplied and taking Grandma’s advice to “wash down as far as possible and then wash up as far as possible.” You can guess where possible is.

I also was  in the same nightgown I’d been admitted in. I was too sick to pack for the hospital when I called the ambulance and Mom was unable to get to the hospital to bring me anything. She had a knee transplant that became infected and has had a fused, unbendable right knee for the past decade or so.

Paula, an aide and one of those little dynamo type people, came bustling into my room Wednesday afternoon and asked if I’d like a shower. The answer to my wishes and wants.

She got some latex gloves and moisture-proof tape and created a protective covering for the perma-cath and walked me — careful not to let the drunken sailor collapse — down the hall to the open shower room where she turned the sprayer on me as if I were a mooly cow. She sudsed my hair and scrubbed my back and let the water simply run over my body.  We sang a couple of choruses of “Singin’ in the Rain.” About that time I turned to her and said, “Paula, there’s no one in the world I love more than you at the moment.”


October 25, 2007 - Posted by | dialysis, health, kidney, transplant

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