Monday, February 10, 2020

Kidney Saga part 16

Sunday morning, January 19th, and Inkwell continued to be a nurse, making sure I slept after I took a shower. A minor skin infection started, which caused me intense pain which in turn drained what energy I had. If not for the infection, I believe I would have made some good progress on exercise and strength, but it became a major setback.

I got some birthday presents in the mail on Saturday, but couldn't enjoy them as much as I wanted to due to pain and exhaustion. Still, I felt loved.

Monday was my birthday. It was also the day I would go in for check-ups to two of the hospital doctors. In addition, it was also the last day I could legally drive because I needed to renew my license at the DMV this year. *sigh* I may not make the six-week grace period. It's a bit hard to get to the DMV when you are this sick.

Anyway, I woke up singing "Happy birthday to me, I need to go pee, I can't drink any water, but happy birthday to me." Which is a little pathetic.

The first doctor we went to was the lupus specialist, and she told me what I could expect once my kidneys are recovered. It was daunting to say the least. I didn't think it would be impossible, but with the skin infection causing me pain I was worried that my progress will be stalled. I was right to be worried.

She also set me up with a more reasonable medicine schedule when she pointed out the main kidney medicine needs to be taken on an empty stomach. That suggested a good time of day for the two doses (4am and 4pm) and that, in turn, got me onto a good schedule for my weigh-in. This has become routine since. The reason for 4am? Eric gets up then to get ready for work, so it just made sense. It's a little annoying on weekends, yeah, but it's just waking up enough to take a pill then waiting for the water to get through my system so I can do the weigh-in. It works.

The kidney doctor wanted regular maintenance reports from my body: weight and blood pressure being the two biggies. It was immediately clear I would need a blood pressure machine, but as we are broke and going to have trouble paying the hospital bills as it is, I was scared. Fortunately, several people offered a BP machine and my sister and mother just went and ordered me one.

However, the kidney doctor did have bad news for me, and I had to sleep on it.

My kidney functions plummeted once I was out of the hospital. The doctor ordered weekly blood tests, but if it gets really bad I could be hospitalized again or go on dialysis. There doesn't seem to be a big reason for it - I was following all orders and taking my medicine as I'd been instructed. Just the change in environment? Who knows. Bodies are very odd things.

The blood tests after the doctors' appointments were a nightmare. I mean, a true nightmare. It took three lab techs multiple tries before one of them managed to hit a vein that wasn't already tapped out. I was so happy when she managed it that I cheered aloud (which brought the other two techs running to make sure all the equipment was in order and they got every last drop they needed). Then I groaned and said, "I've never cheered so loud about losing blood before," which made the techs laugh in sympathy.

I was ordered to avoid salt. No added salt in any food I eat. As a kidney patient, I need to avoid potassium and phosphorus as well, but salt was the big thing. I'm on a low (under 2000mg) salt diet. Fortunately, food scientist mother-in-law was arriving on the 21st to help us work out a few meals that are safe and sane and to help Eric handle the extra caregiver pressure.

Full Kidney Saga