Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Been awhile

I’m still here and things are perking along.

A physiatrist, a prosthetist, and a physical therapist …

Sorry, no joke to follow.  That’s the appointment I have set for June 4 at an amputation clinic here in town. I saw the physiatrist yesterday. He, according to the head of the PT department, should help me pull all the different elements together. He also has special interest and knowledge of prosthetics.

His name is the same as a particularly unsavory (in my opinion) celebrity but I refrained from asking if he could do the moonwalk. He also answered the question I had as to why the top PT was so excited to hear that I had made an appointment with the physiatrist: I will be the first patient to utilize the clinic.

The PT’s excitement at my telling him of the appointment reminded me of that of a college instructor I had 10 or 15 years ago when I went back to school for a couple of semesters at the University of Iowa. I was of a mind to finish my degree in theater and had enrolled in a class called “Black Action Theater” because it sounded interesting and, frankly,  because there was room in the class. The class did prove very interesting, among the reasons because it gave me a taste of being a part of the minority in a community.

The first day I walked into the class, the instructor’s face lit up. I thought it a bit strange to see such a reaction but chalked it off as an instructor admiring the chutzpah of an older — or as they euphemized it at the time “an alternative” — student returning to college.  That, it turned out, was only one of his reasons he was happy to see  me in his class.  The other was because he planned a production of “The Wedding Band,” a play that examined an interacial marriage during the time of World War I.

He needed someone to play “a bigotted old white bitch” (my words) and I walked through his door, near the right age, the right color and gray hair, and I could play a bitchy white mother (“Herman’s mother” was the only name in the cast list).

Tryouts proved interesting, too. I knew I was giving a fairly accurate performance during the practice readings in the hall when a young black man stormed down the corridor away from me because he was angry at the words I was using and the disrespect the words conveyed.  When he came back up the corridor, he apologized and said he knew I was just donning a  role but it made him angry to hear the words. 

The director did choose me for the part and when he telephoned to tell me I told him I was sure he realized that the feelings expressed in the play were nowhere near mine but I knew the part needed to be played with stinging realism to make the impact needed. “Please make sure my classmates know I’m only playing a part.” He did.

The performances were intresting, too, and I received one of the best compliments on a performance when a woman came down to the stage after the performance and said: “Girl, I nearly came down here and slapped you upside the head!”

Phosphorus report

The Fosrenol seems to be working for me. My phosphorus level was down to 5 from 9.3. We are, however, still working on a way that I can afford the prescription. I’m leaving that in the hands of the ever competent Jodi and Dr. V.

Getting a leg up

I have made 4 PT treatments in a row! WooHoo!

I’ve walked over 500 feet with one donning of the leg and only a teeny tiny blister formed that I babied along without having to call a total halt to using the leg. By George, I think we’ve got it!

“Private Lives”

That’s the  working title to my historical fiction though I’ve yet to set cursor to the blank screen for chapter 1.  The research for both the book and the family is going well though it’s slowed the last couple weeks. It seems I have a literal bevy of babies I want to knit frillies for. I’m just halfway through 7 hat and booties sets and still clicking needles like mad. It does give me a break from the confuser and this keyboard that frustrates me nearly every time I sit down to it.


May 16, 2009 - Posted by | kidney


  1. Hi, Ms. Alter,
    I am seeking folks who’ve been on dialysis willing to speak with a reporter for a national story she is doing on dialysis. Might you be available to tell some of your story, to receive contact from the reporter?

    I look forward to hearing from you, and to answering any questions you might have. Thank you.

    Karylee Feldman

    Comment by Karylee | June 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi Kathy,

    It is good to hear that your phosphorus have come down.

    I’m Hua, the director of Wellsphere’s HealthBlogger Network, a network of over 2,000 of the best health writers on the web (including doctors, nurses, healthy living professionals, and expert patients). I think your blog would be a great addition to the Network, and I’d like to invite you to learn more about it and apply to join at Once approved by our Chief Medical Officer, your posts will be republished on Wellsphere where they will be available to over 5 million monthly visitors who come to the site looking for health information and support. There’s no cost and no extra work for you! The HealthBlogger page ( provides details about participation, but if you have any questions please feel free to email me at


    Comment by Hua | June 4, 2009 | Reply

  3. wedding bands that perform with classical instruments are the best! .

    Comment by Optoisolator : | October 31, 2010 | Reply

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