Not an Egyptian Queen

It started with edema. My feet felt worse than usual one day and I looked down at them to see that they’d swollen up considerably. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but I couldn’t help but think of balloon animals as I peered at them.  My ankle bone, normally very prominent, was invisible  due to the bloating.  The swelling didn’t go down over the next couple of days so I called my doctor. He checked me out and had an ultrasound done on my liver in addition to a few other minor tests. “Your feet are swollen.” he pronounced after looking at the test results. He wrote me a prescription for Lasix, also known as Furosemide and Potassium to boot. A few days later I called to tell him that my feet were even more uncomfortable, now looking a bit like a pair of inflated surgical gloves. “Let’s have you drop back by.” he said.

On weighing me, my not so svelte 160 pounds had soared to one seventy two and my belly was stuck out like a front carried pregnancy in the 10th month. It was now getting a bit hard to breathe, what with the fluid building up around my lungs. My stomach was fat, my thighs were fat, my calves were fat and my feet were fat. Fat, fat, fat. Tubby, Tubby, two by four…

“You have Nephrotic Syndrome.” mused my doctor aloud.

“Wasn’t she married to a Pharaoh?” I said.

My wife groaned and said “That’s Nefertiti.”  I knew that.

“Nephrotic Syndrome,” said the doctor again. “Your kidneys are screwed up and they’re leaking proteins into your urine. I bet you’ve noticed your pee smells pungent.”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact. Yes.”

“Uh, huh. So, we’re going to have you do a 24 hour pee test. Have you done that before?”

“Yeah, you want me to collect my urine and keep it in the refrigerator.”

“Eeew.” said my wife.

“It’s okay,” my doctor said calming. “It will be in a sealed jar.”  Then to me he said  ”make sure you screw the lid on tight.”

“Eeew.” said my wife.

My prescription for Lasix was increased again. I was now taking 60 milligrams when the normal dose is 20. I have to take 20 milligrams of sustained action potassium as well, since Lasix will reduce Potassium levels. That’s a bad thing to screw up since it will mess with your heart rate. “What happens if I keep building up fluid?” I asked.

“Let’s talk about something pleasant. Did you say you were taking more morphine earlier?”

“Yeah, my feet hurt, my chest hurts and my bone pain has been worse too.”

“Figures. So what are you taking now?”

“60 milligrams sustained, twice a day. I take 30 milligrams immediate release because of breakthrough.”

“Good, good. Morphine is good in this situation. It helps get rid of moisture.” He wrote in my something into my record and then wrote me a prescription for more morphine.

“I feel like I’m taking a lot of morphine.” I said. I was concerned.

“How much did you say, what? Was that 60 and sometimes 30?”  I nodded that he had it right. “That’s not a lot. Get up to a couple hundred milligrams, we might need to find some additional help. Maybe Fentanyl.”

“Shit. So, what now?”

“Let’s get your pee test back and we’ll go from there. For now I’m gonna set you up for a normal appointment. Bring you back the first of May.”

“So, I shouldn’t be concerned?”

“We’ll see. For now go home and pee.”

“Eeew.” said my wife.