Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Pit stop

Saturday’s dialysis was uneventful. It was pretty quiet in the unit so much so that it made me wonder a couple of things: Where all the elderly patients were and how long the unit is open on Saturdays.

My nurse answered both for me. The unit within the Mayo complex itself — or at least the Eisenberg Building — is basically for Mayo clients like me, here for assessment or transplant. They do have a few “regulars,” she said, but the community dialysis center is elsewhere and that’s the center that serves the nursing home patients.  Of course, that means the average age of the Eisenberg unit patients is much younger.

How late are they open on Saturdays? Basically as late as it takes, it seems, though all of Mayo’s seemed on a much more relaxed schedule: Desks were not manned, no escorts were available, no human traffic jams in the hallways. Somehow I thought there would be more activity on weekends.

My treatment finished about 12:30 (I reported to the unit about 7:05) so I had just enough time to get to the lobby across the street from our hotel to check out before we were charged for another half day.  I walked a wheelchair to and from the appointment for a little support and security, if I felt a strong need to sit and rest a moment.  I would really think there would be more areas along hallways for people to rest.

Dr. Amer, I’m sure will be happy to know I walked the wheelchair. He asked me Friday what I was doing with one. When I replied, “conserving energy,” his response was, “Oh, no, you have to be as active as you can be” even if it hurts to walk, which it does. So I’ll be trying to be more active in general and increase my time and frequency on the treadmill.

When he told me Friday that some narrowing of the vessels to my legs might be increasing the pain I feel, I asked him why my calves, shins, etc. feel so tight and hard all the time. “Edema,” he said, “that has been going on for so long that it’s turned fiberous.” I have never heard that before. I knew edema was bad and bad for you, but never that it could turn into fiber.  How does that happen? How does fluid in a body turn into fiber? I guess that’s a question to ask whichever unsuspecting doctor I meet next.

We got checked out of the hotel and headed toward their small cafe for lunch before we hit the road. Not in the cards.  The cafe was closed.  Seems strange to me but then several things in the hotel seemed strange to me, too.  Low chairs and benchs in the lobbies (but that was true at Mayo, too); the kitchenette that was supposed to be a part of the “mini suite” wasn’t (a microwave and a small fridge does not a kitchenette make in my eyes); the “free continental breakfast” didn’t start serving until 6:30 a.m. so it didn’t do us much good to have that available; the parking garage was completely full when we arrived so Jean had to park in another garage and schlepp across the streets if she wanted to use the car; the housekeeping wasn’t that good, in fact I didn’t leave a tip; there was no ice machine on our floor; and we both began to wonder if the “green” concept they were pushing (use your towels more than once, please use your sheets through your stay, etc.) was more to save money than the environment. The rate was good — $99 a day — but I expect more for that kind of money.  Maybe I’m just getting old and maybe the hotel is a tad slipshod because they know they’ve got a captive audience because of their proximity to the clinic and buildings.

We stopped at a Wendy’s on the outskirts of Rochester for lunch and then on to Wabasha where I got to see Jean’s boys and their families (my surrogate grandkids). It’s so nice to snuggle a nose into the neck of a newborn and color and sing Jingle Bells with an exuberant 2-year-old.  Rylie, Taylor and Kenny Jr. were great therapy after a week of hospital hallways and test cubicles. Their mamas and papas and Boppa Lynn were fun to see and talk with, too.

I slept in until about 7 Sunday morning.  Lynn made scrambled eggs and one piece of bacon for me (boy, did that taste good…it’s a good thing I had my willpower on high. I could have eaten a half pound it was soooooooo good.

Kenny, Jen and Kenny Jr. — less than a week old — came visiting mid-morning so we had some newborn snuggling again then went to visit Mel(ody), Jean’s best friend and so, by extension, a friend to me, too, for a few minutes.  By the time I looked at the clock, it was 2:20 and past time to leave for home.

I had packed all but my suitcase in the car so the goodbyes were at the back fence at Jean’s house.  I called Mom to tell her I was getting in the car and she could start worrying anytime but to give me at least 41/2 hours before she began pacing.

Home to Cedar Rapids by about 7 p.m. The last hour and 45 minutes of driving in the dark really got to me as far as being tired. I partially unloaded, got inside, changed out of my clothes and talked the week over with Mom.

I also called work to inform them of the changes in my appointments and that, if it was all right, I just wanted to take today (Monday) and tomorrow off as a pit stop before I get up to be on the road back to Rochester by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

More later…


November 12, 2007 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, health, kidney, transplant

1 Comment »

  1. There’s a lot to this, for sure … a lot more than any of us may have realized.

    But sounds like you’re doing well. Hang in there. Sounds like there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

    Comment by richardpratt | November 13, 2007 | Reply

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