Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

In the dark

I got home yesterday about 2:30, after an embarrassing moment in the parking lot at work. I got out to the car and could not get the door open. It was sheeted with ice, but I managed to run the ignition key completely around the door and loosened the ice around the handle. It still wouldn’t open. 

I figured there was ice deeper in the door frame and finally decided instead of killing myself I’d just call the newsroom and tell them I needed a big strong man to come open my door for me. Jamie showed up saying he might not fit the description, but he’d give it a try. He tugged and said, “Wow,” I told him I’d used the ignition key to try to free the ice. He grabbed the key, put it in the lock turned it and opened the door.

In my defense, Jeff had had moved the car for me earlier but didn’t tell me he’d locked the door.  Driving home, luckily, is mostly flat. It was slick but navigable.

The only problem I had was trying to put the car in the garage. I pushed the door opener, but nothing. I tried the bottom of the door but it wasn’t iced down so I went in the side door and … uh huh … no power. I had to leave the car parked in the driveway.

No power inside either. Mom said the power had gone off around 11 a.m. and flickered on and off for a little over an hour. She had been reclining in her powerlift chair so she couldn’t get out when the power went off but did manage to get the leg lift lowered the first time the power returned.

There’s supposed to be a battery back up on the chair but there’s a short in the wire at the moment so the new batteries put in a couple of weeks ago weren’t working.

I called Alliant Energy to get an estimate of when the power might return and was not encouraged when the customer rep said it might be a good idea to spend the night at a motel. When I suggested the idea to Mom, she said a firm “no,” because, she said, she was afraid to go out in the icy weather and the surgeon who’d replaced her left hip for her had warned her against venturing out on icy walks.

So, we gathered our flashlights and rounded up candles. Lunch (dinner for me) was a sandwich because with an electric stove, we had no means to heat anything. Mom said she got up out of her chair at one point, went to the kitchen because she’d decided even though I was on a liquid restricted diet, she was going to make a pot of potato soup, my favorite winter soup, then realized she couldn’t do that because we had no stove to work with.

So we had our sandwiches and settled in, after donning a second layer of warm clothes and wooly hats, to wait for the electricity to return.

I had called my hired son, Steve, to ask him to make sure someone came to fix Mom’s chair today (Wednesday) and to let him know if the electricity stayed off longer and it got colder in the apartment, I might be calling him to help me get Mom in the car so we could go to a hotel, providing we could find one that had electricity.

He asked if he could help then and I told him no, we had flashlights and candles. We should be OK.

About 4:30, when “twilight descends, everything ends,” I realized, that yes, we had candles but we had no matches or lighters. I called him again, asking that he bring some matches, some hot decaf coffee and some hot water in a thermos.

This blog is interrupted for the following announcement: Sheesh…everyone here at work is coughing today. I’m glad I got my flu shot and probably glad I got a pnuemonia shot at dialysis Monday.

Steve not only brought all that I asked, he added a thermos of hot chicken noodle soup, too. What a guy. <smile>

The candles brightened up the living room. Mom and I talked for awhile as we drank a cup of hot coffee.  We finished the coffee and about 6:30 had a cup of the soup while it was still hot, some crackers (mine low fat) and cheese.

Now what do you do. Pretty well talked out and Mom didn’t want to sing Christmas carols with me. Drum fingernails on the chair arm, curse the fact that the MP3 player takes size C batteries to operae without electricity — I have double As and Ds on hand, but no Cs, of course.

I finally grabbed Chronically Happy and a flashlight. Mom laughed and said, “You’re going to read?” Sure, I said, and aimed the flashlight at the page. A few minutes later, she grabbed the newspaper and a flashlight of her own.

About 9:30, still in the dark, I told her, “Good night, John Boy. I’m going to bed.” And I did, wearing a pair of heavy knit slacks and a fleece jacket for PJs with a wool hat on my head and Thermohair socks on my feet.

When I woke up at midnight, the power was back on and the furnace working. Mom said this morning that the power returned about 11 p.m.

Action points:

Buy a sterno stove

Get some C battries on hand

Look for a camp lantern for extra light

Put together that dialysis survival kit

Tuesday stats:

Calories: 1,796 (The sandwich cost me big time, as did the fact the cheese and crackers tasted so good. Oh, well, back on the strict and narrow today. And even though I was 396 calories over my goal, I should still have ingested fewer calories than I expended yesterday.)

Additional activity: Scraping ice, 15 minutes.

Blood Sugar: 74


December 12, 2007 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss

1 Comment »

  1. Good morning Kathy,

    Hang in there. My dad’s kidneys failed in 1984. He received a kidney on New Years Eve 1985. A good present for us, a tragic present for someone else, a blessing we have never forgotten. He saw dialysis as his time to just relax, as he was an engineer. Face it with humor & joy! He lived until 12/5/06, with only the last few months with the disease again. He saw grandkids, weddings, and enjoyed his retirement. We got 20 plus years out of a selfless donor. I will continue to pray for your kidney to come!
    Take care and Merry Christmas!

    Comment by pam | December 12, 2007 | Reply

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