Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Where the dear and the antelope roam

I don’t know about the antelope here in Cedar Rapids, but most of my dears roam around this area and I’m home again for a few days.

My dialysis in Rochester started about 8:30 Saturday morning. Snow was swirling outside and the nurses were all chattering about whether they were happy or not to see the flaky weather.

I dozed through about two hours of the treatment — the restless leg medicine seems to make me sleepy — listened to a little classical music and then watched the Food Network. Time drags when you have some place to be, which for me was Wabasha.

The treatment should have been over about 1:30 at the latest, but my blood pressure went fairly low (we took off 5.5 kilos in an effort to get me closer to my actual dry weight) and it took about a half hour to get it above 100 so it was 2 p.m. before I left the dialysis unit.  I opted for a patient escort to the Charlton lobby since I didn’t want to chance a literal crash to the floor.

I made it across the street safely and stopped in the sandwich shop just off the hotel lobby for a quick lunch and soda. Then for my first R&R of the last two weeks, I got in the car and stumbled into the exact area where a nice little knitting/quilt shop sits.  Kismet, right?

So I spent about 45 minutes in the shop and came out with a pattern for felted clogs and a couple of skeins of wool, some wool and bamboo sock yarn and a skein of cotton sock yarn.

I’d been carrying knitting with me for most of the appointments (a small plastic bag with a single skein of yarn, a 16-inch circular needle, and an in-progress simple stocking cap).  It proved to be a real conversation starter several times with both the Mayo staff and patients.

Once I finished there, I took out on Broadway to 63 North then turned onto 21 and, I thought, on my way to Wabasha.  It ended up being a scenic route. I somehow made the same mistake — in reverse — that I made coming to Rochester Thursday morning: A wrong turn leading me to the middle of Whitewater State Park and a tiny hamlet called Elba Valley.

I still don’t know how I did it.  If it happens one more time, I’m going to assume the fates are telling me I need to stop and poke around the hamlet to find why it’s calling to me.

It was, of course, a beautiful drive even though the leaves are gone and the park in a state of semi-devastation from a recent flood.  The stark, dark tree trunks were laced with snow, the foliage like muted Pendleton Plaid colors.

The twist in the route took me a hour out of my way and once again I found myself 22 miles from Winona.  Hmmm, maybe that would be a good title for a book or story: “22 Miles From Winona” or going where life takes you.

Friday’s appointment at the Sleep Disorders clinic led to another appointment for a sleep apnea test next Sunday. Now I’ll be driving to Rochester Friday morning, see the obesity specialist midmorning and report to the thrombophilia center at 1 p.m.  I’ll stay overnight again because I have to dialyze Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (the earliest time they have), drive to Wabasha (unfortunately in the dark ever vigilant for rutting deer), return to Rochester to report to the sleep disorders clinic by 7 p.m. Sunday, overnight there wired to the hilt, see the sleep disorders doc at 9 a.m. Monday and return home to Cedar Rapids Monday afternoon.

I’ve learned something tangential from all of this: I would not like being a traveling salesperson.

Oh, yeah, and I need to get a map of Southern Minnesota.

Back to the Sleep Disorders doc. He requested a sleep apnea test to ascertain where we stand at the moment.  I’m 25 or so pounds lighter than when the test was taken at St. Luke’s in 2004.  At that time, my apnea was  “severe,” he said, since I stopped breathing an average of 83 times an hour. No fooling.

With apnea that severe, the best choice of treatment is CPAP and though I have a CPAP machine, I don’t use it because — irony of ironies — I can’t breathe with it on. That, the doctor said, will be adjusted by these further studies. He also recommends I consider bariatric surgery to help the apnea problem.

So, I’ll be home on Thanksgiving. Aaron called Saturday and will be joining us. That’s a good thing. We’ll hope for good weather Friday for the drive to Rochester and I’ll try to get a Minnesota map by that time (and a denture bath since that seems to be the one thing I left in the hotel room).

And now for something totally different: A Thanksgiving recipe from Dick Logue’s Low Sodium cooking site:

Pumpkin Pie Filling 2

This is the creamiest, best flavored pumpkin pie filling I’ve
ever tried. You can also bake this as a pumpkin custard  and
skip the fat and carbohydrates in the crust.  Just pour it into
oven proof custard cups or soup bowls that have been sprayed
with vegetable oil spray.  No custard cups? What about oven
proof coffee mugs and serve it right in the mug.

   1 3/4 c  Pumpkin,Cooked And Pureed
   1/2 c  Brown Sugar
   1/2 c  Sugar
     2 T  Maple Syrup
   1/2 c  Sour Cream
   1/2 c  Half & Half
   1/2 c  Egg Substitute
     1 t  Cinnamon
   1/2 t  Ground Ginger
   1/8 t  Ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 425. Dump all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until thoroughly combined.  Pour the mixture into greased
custard cups or ovenproof soup bowls, or unbaked pie shell. Bake
for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 45
minutes, or until set. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving.
Top each portion with whipped cream or Cool Whip, if desired.

Yield: 8 Servings

Per Serving:
   196 Calories
   3 g Protein
   5 g Total Fat
   3 g Saturated Fat
   0 g Polyunsaturated Fat
   2 g Monounsaturated Fat
   35 g Carbohydrates
   1.7 g Fiber
   48 mg Sodium
   264 mg Potassium
   12 mg Cholesterol
Diabetic Exchanges
   0 Starch
   0 Fruit
   0.5 Milk
   1 Other Carbohydrates
   0 Vegetable
   0 Lean Meat
   0 Very Lean Meat
   1 Fat


This recipe and other Thanksgiving recipes are also available online in Microsoft Word format at It’s a great site and includes extensive nutrition info on each recipe



November 19, 2007 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant

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