Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

On second thought …

I’m going to post some more tonight. I’d like to catch up so I’m not writing in the past.

After dialysis Thursday afternoon, I asked the patient escort to take me to the pharmacy to get the GoLytely I need to take for the colonoscopy.  The pharmacist and I were chatting and I said I was going to go get something to eat before I started the cleansing therapy. He gently cautioned me that I needed to read my pre-test instructions again.  He was right.  I was to have nothing but clear, non-alcoholic beverages (no red or purple) the day before the test.

Groan and double groan.  In fact, a moan would not be out of order.

But in the end (pun intended), I was glad for his warning because I don’t care to repeat the prep anytime soon, thank you very much.

Ah, yes, drink a gallon of this stuff that doesn’t taste very good at all, let it roil around in your stomach and exit your body in a near explosive manner.  Repeat every 10 to 15 minutes  until the gallon is gone and then, a half hour later, take a stimulant laxative.  It’s hard to retain your dignity in such a situation so it was good that someone who loves me like a sister was there to help me.

After the last of the nasty tasting stuff (it’s not too bad the first 4 cups of so but becomes more vile with each repeat) was gone and the stimulant laxative taken, I felt as if I’d just been through a bout of depleting flu complete with the chills and shakes.  I was almost afraid to crawl into bed for fear the need to be in the bathroom would hit again and I wouldn’t be able to make it without making me and the bed a mess.  Gross, I know, but true.

Friday morning finally gets here. I still feel shaky and still can’t eat. I didn’t take my Lantus Thursday night because I was worried that my blood sugar  — 118 when I took it that night — would drop way too low during Thursday night

Apple juice to the rescue, but I couldn’t drink glass after glass of that because of my liquid restrictions.

I can see why some people get so angry when they have to go through testing like this. Think about it: You’re probably already scared and confused; being pushed, prodded and poked; feel like you’ve been playing hurry up and wait;  and now you’re not just hungry but bone hungry.  Not conducive to conviviality, no?

Anyway, today started with an appointment with the transplant nurse coordinator and a hour of education about the nuts and bolts (finances, length of stay, etc.) of transplantation.

During my visit with my coordinator, I told her I thought the process they were using to inform diabetics how to handle the test fasting was ineffective and that that information should be presented in writing in the itinerary packets.  She seemed totally sincere when she said she could see the problem and would pass the recommendation on.

At about 11:20, I met with Dr. Amer again. He told me he had reviewed the tests results so far and found “everything relatively OK.”  I asked him if it was more on the OK side or on the relatively side and he said it is more on the OK side. 

The results from my Dobutamine stress test were better than he thought they would be, he said, and again mentioned the idea of putting me on a temporary inactive list.

An appointment Wednesday, Nov. 14, was set with an obesity transplant specialist, Dr. Amer said, and that should give us the answers about what my weight and body mass index needs to be to lower the risk of transplantation.  A Wednesday appointment at the thrombophilia center has been set to address the blood clotting problems I seem to have. Dialysis has been scheduled for me for Thursday because I have another day-long battery of tests scheduled Friday, November 16.

That day starts with a body CT at 6:50 a.m. in the department of diagnostic radiology, then ; 9:30 a.m. for a PET cardiac scan (later canceled by the cardiologists I saw this afternoon); and a 1:15 p.m. consultation at the sleep disorders clinic. 

Winding all those appointments up by the end of next week should put me on the list of those potential kidney recipients to be reviewed November 28.

Dr. Amer emphasized that I need to be more active, especially since there seems to be a narrowing of the blood vessels to my legs, something that probably exacerbates the pains I feel in them so often.  And exercising can only help my circulation and any weight loss I attempt.

We talked about several other things before we ended the consultation and Jean and I headed to the cafeteria where she ate and I had a “high protein clear nutritional drink.” Kinda yucky, but at least kept me from bottoming out on the blood sugars.

Then — Oh, Happy Day! — time for the colonoscopy. Not as uncomfortable as I thought it could be, but enough, thank you. To turn an old phrase, what goes in must go out, and that includes the air they use to open the intestines for better viewing. Talk about cuttin’ the cheese!  

For sure, the worst part of the test was the preparation.

Once that was over, it was on to a cardiologist appointment where I was told they saw nothing that would preclude me from a kidney transplant and because my dobutamine stress test was so good, they canceled the PET scan.  Good news!

So about 5:45 p.m. Jean and I hailed a cab at the Charlton lobby entrance and went to Michael’s for a steak dinner, contrary to all the good, healthy intentions, etc., but oh, so good. If you’ve been to Mayo’s and been to Michael’s, your mouth is probably watering at the thought.

A long, long week is down and I am one tired guinea pig (oink, oink) and the bed is beckoning to me in a none too subtle way.

Tomorrow, dialysis at 7:15 and checkout before 1 p.m. Then to Wabasha via Kellog to pick up my car. After a too short visit with the rest of the folks in Wabasha, I’ll return home Sunday to return to Rochester early Wednesday mroning to ride the Mayo merry-go-round another time.

More later…

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November 9, 2007 - Posted by | kidney

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