Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

A Thursday unlike any other

And so here we are at Thursday in Mayoland’s transplant evaluation appointments. I was solo since Jean stayed in the room for a rest in the morning and later went home to Wabasha to get her crutches to help support her protesting knee and to see her new grandson, Kenneth.

First for the big day, a pap smear, the first in about 10 years. Yeah, I do know that’s not a good idea and I certainly know I deserve more than one “tut tut,” especially since the last I had came back with an abnormal result, but that be the truth, like it or not.

Several reasons come to mind as to why I was remiss: The exam is uncomfortable and certainly does nothing to bolster a woman’s dignity. There is, after all, a fairly good reason people euphemize calling them private parts. And you feel pretty damn exposed.

With arthritis, it can be downright painful just to assume the position, so to speak. And the speculum isn’t necessarily a girl’s best friend when intimate relations are so far in the past you feel like you qualify as a virgin again. Just sayin’ …

But I got through it and so did the gynecologist and his resident. I heard no sharp intake of breath and no exclamation of horror come from them. Test results come back so quickly at Mayo that I have to assume they encountered no cancer or I would know about it by now (Friday evening).

Next on the schedule, a visit with Danielle, my transplant social worker. Very nice, very knowledgeable and helpful. She’ll be one of my contacts throughout the process and will assist however possible to help with dealings with Mayo and with issues such as the quality of life and helping to find financial resources.

I am among the lucky with this visit because my insurance company provides partial reimbursement for travel, lodging and food during this evaluation appointment. The operative word is reimbursement which means I have to stand the initial outlay, but once I return all my receipts, they will pay $60 each a day lodging for me and one “support” person, $15 each for food per day, and gas for the trip here and back. It by no means covers all of the expense, but it helps greatly and made it much easier for me to decide to do this evaluation appointment.

After talking with Danielle, it was a quick lunch and then dialysis. It didn’t go as well as I’d like since I had cramping problems. Left over 11/2 kilos over my dry weight again.

Oh, yeah, that reminds me of a laugh from Tuesday. It was about 4:15 p.m., about 45 minutes later than my normal dialysis time at home, and I was in the recliner in Mayo’s outpatient dialysis unit when my cell phone rang. “This is Lori from dialysis” (in Cedar Rapids), the voice said, “Where are you?”

“I’m on dialysis,” I said, “in Rochester, remember?” You could almost hear the chagrin in her voice. Made me laugh.

OK, it’s 11:13 p.m. Friday and I have to report to dialysis at 7 a.m. so I’m saying fare thee well for tonight. I may not be able to pick up again until Sunday evening.

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November 9, 2007 - Posted by | kidney

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