Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

It’s Sunday. Move day plus one.

It’s Sunday. I’m at work. Luckily things are very quiet. It’s difficult for me to concentrate because my mind keeps wandering down lists of things I should add to lists of things I need to do.

Then there’s my right foot that hurts like hell and has for two weeks plus now.  I went to the vascular surgeon on the 18th. He looked at the foot, told me I had no pulse and said he wanted to schedule a couple of tests. July 3.

Wait. What? I have no pulse in my foot? Can we arfford to wait until July 3 for the tests?

Well, he said, there are no open ulcers on the foot or leg and no “gross” smells (which I interpreted to mean no gangrene – yet) so he thought we can safely wait until July 3.

And the pain, I asked. Is there something stronger than the hydrocodone for the pain? He said he’d rather not try anything until after the tests. “So I should just crawl into a corner and whimper,” I asked looking him straight in the eye and probably not telegraphing the most friendly of feelings.  He just smiled a bit and left the room.

So, here I am, once again wincing in pain every few seconds, jerking almost uncontrollably when they hit, and wondering when or if this kind of stuff is finally going to ease up on me. My toes feel so numb they feel frozen with the sharp burning sensation that accompanies frost bite, I think. Changing positions seems to help little and about the only way I’m sleeping at all is to time the pain pills so I can take 2 right before bed and 2 sleeping pills. Once the pain subsides a little, I can fall asleep and at least, though I wake 3 or 4 times a night, I’ve been able to fall back asleep.

At Friday’s dialysis session, I asked Jane to take a look at my foot and told her the tests weren’t scheduled until July 3. She thought that was too long in the future, too, and asked Jodi, Dr. V’s nurse practitioner, to check, too.  She felt the toes were more blue than when she looked at them last week.  With the push of the dialysis nurses and Jodi, we got the tests set for Wednesday rather than a week from Wednesday.

If it starts looking worse, though, I’m headed to the emergency room, though it could prove an extensive wait since there is only one ER operating in town at this time.

Probability of stents or graphs is on the horizon. I hope the toes will not need amputation (please, please not).

Meanwhile, I believe we should be set to move into our new apartment tomorrow.  We have little to move — 3 changes of clothes each, our medicines, a bag full of toiletries — which is just as well since my foot is being so uncooperative.

The move will be to a senior independent living center.  We needed a fully handicap accessible bathroom, so I first contacted the Area Agency on the Aging for a list of rentals prescreened for handicap accessibility. Believe it or not, this was the first number I called.

It’s a brand new building, 45 units dedicated to independent living but offers meals (cooked by chefs); for the 2 of us, up to 4 loads of laundry a week; all utilities including cable except for telephone; light housekeeping; small refrigerator and microwave; totally handicapped accessible bathroom with a step in shower with bench; a 24-hour internet coffee shop; a dance floor in the community dining room; happy hour daily; a spa tub available; private dining room available; a community kitchen so you can cook up a pot of chicken and noodles if you so choose; a rooftop garden; a small gym; an on-site beauty shop; a 24-hour attendant; and more that I’m probably forgetting.

I think the move will be permanent. It certainly would relieve a lot of daily stress from me.

Julie, the woman I’ve been talking  to at the center, has turned into something of an angel for us: finding hospital and regular beds, recliners, bedding, etc., to loan us until we can replace our lost items. We do need to find a lift recliner for mom, but it looks like we will have the bare necessitites when we move in.

The Gazette has been generous, too, not the least of which is allowing those employees who have been displaced up to 2 weeks of time with pay to take care of the details of cleaning or moving. Bless them.

And in a phenomenal pay-it-forward kind of gesture, newspapers across the country are coming to our aid including the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald (there was an American Express gift card in my name at my desk Friday) and the New Orleans Times-Picayune who will be sending us a care package Monday.

Another small but greatly appreciated gesture: I stopped at a restaurant last week because I love their cheddar and ale soup and felt in need of that comfort food.  The waiter asked how my day was going. “It could be better,” I said, “we were evacuated from the Time Check neighborhood.”

He extended his condolences. I gave him my lunch order and told him I’d be ordering something to go, too, to take back to the hotel for Mom.  When the check came, I tried to hand him my debit card but he motioned me away, “No,” he said, “It’s been taken care of.”

I think at some point I’m going to have to have myself a good cry, both to grieve the loss and to commemorate the extraordinary generosity we’re receiving.



June 22, 2008 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss

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