Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Temp down

Temp is 98.7 so it looks like home stretch is indeed in sight.


September 30, 2008 Posted by | kidney | Leave a comment

Going home?

Couldn’t sleep last night. Think it was a combination of nerves and who knows what. Get dressed and in chair and they take temp – 99.5, a low-grade fever. Doctor comes in and takes a look at incision site sans stitches and tells me the having the Foley cath in so long has caused an infection that he can treat at home but it my temp gets higher, we may have to change discharge plans. Grump.

September 30, 2008 Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss, weightloss | Leave a comment


I’m anticipating going home. It’s going to take quiet a parade of suvs and cars to get me there. Hard to believe since I couldn’t get out to buy anything for myself and none of the QVC purchases were desitined to end up here at the hospital.

Just did a series of exercises that didn’t seem to help my headache at all.

Another PT session. That’s it for today, other than dialysis at who knows when. Linda’s coming up to take a few more things home for me. ‘Tis a good thing. I think I’m already a bit tired of it all.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss, weightloss | Leave a comment

Sunday, day of rest

It’s just after lunch, one more hospital variation on chicken and mashed potatoes. At least it wasn’t the deli plate. Why do I so dislike cold hospital food? It has been two months in here and I have pretty well memorized the weekly rotation of hospital fare, so I guess I should give the sickly looking chicken leg and thigh a break, huh?

The closer home day – Tuesday – comes the less patience I seem to have. I don’t want to jump at people, so I keep it at bay, but there’s certainly a part of me that wants to.

Mom came to the hospital yesterday so we could make sure we’ll be able to handle transfers and things like that. They recommended that instead of my adjustable bed we rent a hospital bed for 2 to 3 months.

That will mean asking Brookview if we can store my bed somewhere and trying to get a hospital bed in the bedroom overnight. The hospital does have a home health supply store so I’m hoping we’ll be in luck.

I may have found a ride home, too. One of the knitters who was coming by today to visit has a comapct to mid size car. We’re going to go out and look at it to see if I can use it. Got my fingers crossed on that one, too.

Got to get back in the room and start sorting though stuff. I’m sure I’ll be amazed at what’s accumulated.

September 28, 2008 Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss, weightloss | Leave a comment


I woke this morning with test anxiety. You know, you’re expected to perform and you just know it’s all going to hell in a handbasket while you stand by – or sit, in my case – and watch things deteriorate or see yourself saying “but I did it just fine yesterday.”

I think it’s the realization that I really do go home Tuesday and that I have to keep proving I can actually do things for myself and won’t be spending my time lolling in bed reading Hollywood gossip magazines.

It also comes of two months of being out of control over my own life, right down to whether or not I have dangling privileges (am I allowed to sit at the side of my bed with my leg (s) dangling over the side?

Ordering from the food menu is a spot of control in a hospital, but when you’re diabetic, you even lose that control pretty much because the choices offered are so limited.

All that will change Tuesday when I head for home. Am I ready? I think so. I hope so. But I’m still a bit anxious over it all.

September 26, 2008 Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss, weightloss | Leave a comment

Some more friends

My thank you to Alecia does not mean she’s the only friend or coworker who’s come forward to help during difficult times.  I have a couple others who certainly deserve recognition here for their help to me and my mother.

Linda Nelson has helped take me to dialysis and offered to do so once I get home. The trick will be seeing if I can transfer via standing pivot or slide board. Linda’s vehicle is a small SUV, so we’ll see if that’s possible. I dunno.

Linda’s husband, Steve, deserves a thank you here until he’s better paid (yeah, right) for helping to assemble some lamps and hanging a clock for us.

My co-worker and friend of 30 years, Mary Sharp, has been a boon to my mother by providing transporation to her to come visit me on Sundays. It’s good to see Mom as well as talk with her. Mary’s also done a couple of grocery story runs for Mom.  You wouldn’t think you’d need to do that when you’re in a facility that provides meals, but you do. Toothpaste, bath soap, snacks, etc. you know.

Other friends have freely offered to help as well and they can besure I’ll call on them, if needed.

For those diabetics looking for some sweet treats, I ran across these recipes that looked good enough to eat:

Diabetic Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sugar and Spice Popcorn

September 25, 2008 Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss, weightloss | Leave a comment

A little frustration

Not with my rehab progress, but with computers.  Seems like I tried all day yesterday to post or do SOMETHING on the internet, but was foiled each time. Glad to see the problems, whether they were local or widespread, have resolved themselves.

Progress continues at a fast and furious pace. Each day that goes by takes me closer to being home and a little stronger and more able to handle the challenges. Right now, one of those challenges is a chilly gym, hallways and community room.

I’ve tried standing with a walker – worked more easily than I thought, in fact, I said a little prayer to whomever before I tried the first stand. Of course, I had help  getting up, but once up I could balance on my own fairly well. Standing in the walker can be important to a standing pivot into a car. Then, just for the fun of it, we tried a slide board transfer into a car.

Just what is a slide board? A slide board is a board about 3-feet in length and about 21/2-feet in width with a hand-hold cut into each end abou 31/2-inches below the end. When you want to transfer from or into another chair than the wheelchair, you place or slide the boad under your tush until it’s under the opposite hip and supported on the “target” chair, bed, etc.

To get to the target, you push or “slide” from your end to the opposite end of the board or the target. Gotta admit, it’s much more work than it used to be. Sliding downhill is a blessing. So are the right clothes that keep you from splinters.

The car transfer went better than I or my two physical tharapist that it would.

Occupational Therapy takes care of upper body strengthening and I must say even armed with their seemingly “little” 21/2- and 3-pound weights, they’re still wearing out my muscles.  I seem to be calling for Tylenol on a regular basis, but it feels pretty godd at night.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | kidney | Leave a comment

Target date

My target date for release is September 30, that’s just to get home; no prosthesis involved.

I’ve been working hard, so I think I’ll be ready. Outpatient rehab will, of course, still be necessary and I’ve got some new equipment I need to get used to: a protector and shrink socks.

The protector is a large piece of plastic with mamouth chunks of velcro at the sides to hold it in place. It’s main job is to protect the incision from further injury. So it sticks out about 6 inches beyond the end of the stump. A new measurement to get used to.

The shrink socks are long tubes of plied socks so going up the leg has less pressure than around the stump. A lighter ply (about a 1) goes over the other to kind of keep it snug in place.

September 19, 2008 Posted by | kidney | 1 Comment

Help from some friends

I’m in the community room waiting for some lunch and a visit from a friend. Change of scene: It’s nearly 3 a.m. and I can’t sleep so I’ll talk a bit more about my friend. Actually, she’s become much more than a friend. She’s become a part of the family with her unselfish helpful ways. When need arose, she came on the scene ready to fill the gap with compassion, enthusiasm, understanding and humor. I’ve come to love her as a sister.

Her name is Alecia and though she may not seem special to some who know her, she is more than special to me; she is extraordinary. Her generosity of spirit is exceptional and her understanding and compassion unmatchable.

When she leaves, I tell her I love her and I mean it. Perhaps it’s easy for some to bandy that word, love, around, but not so for me, though the number of people it applies to seems to be growing in my life.

I don’t know that I would have the same dedication to someone outside my family. I can think of one or two perhaps and perhaps what happened with Alecia is that lucky for me I happened to fall into that category of one or two special people. If so, how glad I am to be in that group.

She doesn’t build hefself as a paragon of virtue or anything else. She doesn’t hold herself above others; she’s right here down on the hard earth with the rest of us. She’s what many would consider a good egg.

Her days are filled with dental appointments, doctor’s appointments, paying bills, mowing the yard and of recent days running errands and doing laundry for me.

Thank  you, Alecia.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | kidney | 1 Comment

Light at the end of the tunnel

I can see some light at the end of the tunnel and that is truly a good thing. It looks like September 30 is the target date the therapists and doctors have in mind. Sounds good to me!

I’ll be going home before I receive a prosthesis and I’m all for that. I want my stump (I hate that word) to heal as completely and safely as possible.  it’s looking good so far but Dr. Lawrence wants to make sure ischemia is accounted for. I do too. I don’t want anything rearing it’s ugly head to bite me in the ask yourself.

I’ve been working on upper body strength this morning using the arm bike and a tricep machine.  Also stood for 80 seconds in the parallel bars this bars and transferring from unequal heights. Transferring uphill is difficult, as you might imagine, so I need lots of practice on that.

I need to get a pair of bicycle gloves to help push the wheelchair. Think I can find a purple pair?

So many people have been so generous with help and good thoughts. It’s pretty incedible how help emerges just as you need it.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | kidney | Leave a comment