Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Kidney Saga part 119

I haven't updated in way too long, sorry.

I meant to write every Monday, but on the 24th I was scheduled to have a blood draw, so I figured I would wait until after that so I could report on the visit to the hospital. Well, I went to the hospital on Monday and they didn't have any orders for a blood draw. So we contacted my nephrologist - but I ended up going home without a blood draw that day. I went back on Tuesday for the draw, which went well. My Zoom appointment with my nephrologist was scheduled for Wednesday, so I figured I might as well wait until after that appointment to write an update. Right?

I got a call Wednesday morning from his office - he was at the hospital taking care of an emergency, so he cancelled all his appointments for the remainder of the week. So I didn't have my visit. Which was a little worrisome as I expected a medication adjustment. Oddly, the office didn't reschedule - possibly because the emergency threw his entire schedule into chaos. I kept expecting a reschedule, and putting off writing an update until I had an idea what was happening... and so another week passed.

In the meantime, the local clinic called about my diabetes and scheduled an eye exam and blood tests for the Tuesday after Labor Day. So. I figured I would wait until I'd done that before writing. Hubby-Eric drove me to the appointment yesterday and then went off to go shopping while I went in and got my eyes checked and some blood taken. I'll have the results by early next week. The blood test might tell the doctors if I still have the steroid-induced diabetes. If I do still have it, it's very much in control, based on my blood sugar tests. I got out of the appointment only a few minutes before Eric got back to the clinic from the store, so our timing was nearly perfect. It was also a beautiful day out, so waiting outside the clinic for less than five minutes was very pleasant.

So, let's see... the HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) continues to have annoying side effects. Whenever I stand up, I have to stand still for a moment to let myself balance or else I get dizzy. There is almost always a bit of nausea, but I'm getting used to it to the point that it barely bothers me unless I start to think about it. The no-need-for-laxative side effect is also persistent and disturbing. The pain in my hands continues, and when it gets intolerable I take some painkiller for it. I haven't seen any improvement. I was warned that the medication might not have an impact right away, if ever. But it supposedly will prevent the lupus from getting worse.

I'm down to an incredibly low dose of Prednisone, and most of its side effects are gone. No more nightmares and memory dumps, and my moonface is nearly gone. I still have a lot of extra hair, but that apparently tends to stick around for a bit. While the facial hair is distressing, the worst is the hair on my arms and shoulders because it's just light enough to move in any sort of wind or breeze and freaks me out because it feels like a spider or insect brushing against me.

My parents and younger sister visited on Labor Day. My mom brought me an awesome cat house, which I suspect I will enjoy far more than Inkwell will. My sister brought me an exercise bike that can be folded up nicely. It's recumbent and low impact, so I should be able to use it for a few minutes each day and start building up my strength again. I've already used it for very short sessions two days in a row, and it wore me out completely. Still, the point is to get to the point where I can go for longer and not be exhausted when I finish, so I hope I can keep at it.

My sister also helped me move a piece of furniture that I needed to move in order to take the next step in my recovery. I wanted to put my medicine table downstairs instead of in the bedroom, but there was a free-standing book rack in the way. My sister moved the book rack, and then I used all my energy and then some to get my table downstairs. This basically means hubby-Eric no longer has to haul my meals upstairs, as I'll be going downstairs to eat. It also means I will be getting more exercise because I will have to go up and down the stairs several times a day. Going down isn't too bad, but going up can be a challenge if I'm at all tired. Again, the point is to get stronger, so the move is a good thing.

Over the past weeks I also watched as my namesake hurricane moved in and caused death and damage as one of the biggest hurricanes to make landfall in recorded history. I've been following news about the Post Office being gutted. And I've followed the news of protests and shootings with dismay. This hasn't been a good year for most of the world.

Late in the night on September 1st, Eric and I got alerts on our phones to evacuate immediately due to a wildfire. Fortunately, it was a mistake. The fire was more than 40 miles away. We got more alerts later on explaining that it was a goof. Each one woke us up. The fires have been pretty bad in the state, and Labor Day was actually really bad for this area due to heavy smoke and high winds.

This past Friday our AC went out. As the temperatures were in the 90F range over the weekend, it wasn't pleasant. We decided to wait until Tuesday to get it fixed rather than pay for emergency service. There were moments I regretted that decision, but in the end we survived. Inkwell melted all over the house, and I sweated more than I have in some time, but we got through it. On Tuesday afternoon the tech came and fixed it very quickly. I opened some windows while the AC was out, but the smoke made it impossible to leave them open too long.

On Sunday, hubby-Eric tried a new recipe for lasagna, and it was excellent. It was very nice to be able to eat lasagna again - a nice low sodium version. Even better, there were several servings left over for lunches. Yum!

With Eric's permission, I also joined two Kickstarters over the past couple of weeks. The first is for Nani, a graphic novel inspired by African mythology. I pledged at the level to get both volumes digitally. To my delight, it funded very quickly and is already well on the way to its second stretch goal. I also backed Girl Genius - Adventures In Castle Heterodyne, a new video game based on the Girl Genius series. While it hasn't fully funded yet, I'll be surprised if it doesn't reach the goal.

Today is Eric's first teaching day on his new job. There have been some technical glitches along the way, but it sounds like he's ready. Ask him how it all went later in the day today, or check his Facebook page to see if he talks about it.

A fly got into the house, and Inkwell the magical cat has been delightedly chasing it around. From my chair I've watched him leap into the air many times after it. He also chitters at it, so I know when it comes into my room. He loves his new sky raisin toy, and seems extremely happy to have it. I wish he could catch it because it drives me nuts when it flies near me. Inkwell was also shocked by my family's visit, and has carefully examined his new cat house. He's been great entertainment for me.

Inkwell being cute.

My time continues to mostly be reading, listening to podcasts and e-books, and playing on DC Universe Online. Two new podcasts I've started listening to are the Archie McPhee podcast, Less Talk, More Monkey, and the Pat Cashman podcast Almost Live! Still Alive. The Archie McPhee podcast is surprisingly entertaining for being basically adverts for their products - mixed in with Seattle lore. And any fan of Almost Live really needs to listen to Pat Cashman's limited series as he goes back and interviews the folks who brought the show to us.

So, I guess to sum up, life is going as well as can be expected in this year of pandemic. I'm certainly grateful that I have a future to look forward to.