Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Finally here

 Excuse the typing and possible errors. My fingers aren’t used to a laptop.

I started from Cedar Rapids about 9:45 this morning and we got to the Kahler Inn and Suites about 7:20. No stop in Wabasha.

I was tooling along, making pretty good time. I noticed Jewel (my 1993 Turquoise Toopaz) was working really hard to climb the steep hills, but she often does on those hills, so I just shifted down to give her a little more oomph. Seemed to work all right.

I stopped at Chatfield for lunch and just north of town — about 18 miles from Rochester — I started to cut east toward Wabasha.  I had decided rather than go the back roads I’d take Interstate 90 to Winona exit and then do the 30 miles to Wabasha on 61 along the Mississippi.  I love that drive.

About 22 miles from the Winona exit, Jewel started acting funny. The motor was revving and the shift light was going on at strange times. At that point, I discovered I couldn’t shift her into gear.


I called a Winona garage — Volkman’s — and arranged to have a tow truck come to get me and Jewel. It was about 1:30 or so. I called my cousin Jeanie and told her I was stranded along I90 but had called a tow truck. She said she could pick me up in Winona and we could use her truck to get to Rochester. Whew!

It took an hour and a half for the tow truck to arrive. He’s stopped on the way to help someone alongside the road. As he got the car positioned for the tow into Winona, I called Jeanie to tell her we were about to leave and gave her the general directions of Volkman’s on 5th Street.

22+ miles is a longtime in a tow truck so the driver and I were talking. He volunteered, when I told him I needed to be in Rochester by 6 p.m. to check in that he’d had akidney transplant there in 1997. The donor was his son, almost a 100% match. His kidney failure though was from Polycystic Kidney disease and, he said, he’d done his research and had decided not to go on dialysis. Dialysis, he believed, could be more detrimental as time went on. Luckily, the son who donated the kidney did not inherit the disease that plagued his dad throughout life.  Two of his four sons do, though.

He couldn’t help me with repair for the car, he said, his garage was fully booked for this week and the mechanic he would have wanted to work on my car was booked for the next two weeks. He did call around to several other garages but no luck.

Jeanie’s husband, Lynn,  will be trying to find a mechanic for me tomorrow and Volkman’s will tow the car wherever I tell them. Volkman’s gave me a great deal on the towing, much appreciated, and I told Lynn I was going to let him work his mechanic-finding magic for me because I have a few other things on my mind.

Good things today:

  •  Jeanie is once, twice, three times a grandma.
  • Volkman was very, very kind to me
  • The farmers with their harvesting equipment were kind enough to pull to the side of the road when I approached — and they didn’t even know what kind of a driver I was/am
  • Most of the semis that passed me on 90 pulled to the far lane
  • Jeanie had no problem rescuing me

Bad things that happened today:

  • The whole clutch thing
  • Some of the semis passing me on 90 seemed to delight in seeing how close they could come
  • I didn’t have my knitting up front with me, it was in the trunk and I didn’t want to chance a semi coming by when I tried to retrieve it.

Things I learned today:

  1. There are still some nice folks (or volks) in the world
  2. Always keep some knitting up front in case of emergencie

That’s all for tonight. Gotta a 5 a.m. wake up call for the 6 a.m. appointment at desk LG of the Eisenberg Building.

Wish me luck!


November 5, 2007 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, health, kidney, transplant


  1. Good grief!! First of all….I cannot believe the luck! Are you kidding me with the car breaking down? Of course you aren’t!! Good grief I say!

    Isn’t it simply amazing how many people you meet with kidney transplants (or on one of the two sides). Since I’ve been going through this…I met 2 people that have donated (and meeting them had nothing to do with kidneys), my father ironically golfed with a man that has received a kidney, AND a friend of mine has a therapist that is a kidney recipient.

    I’ve been thinking about you today! Hope all is going well!

    Comment by orange gearle | November 6, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks Orange — it’s been a long day!

    Comment by iowakitkat | November 6, 2007 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: