Steak and Kidneys

‘How am I?’ Well, thank you for asking. I am just assuming some of you, or perhaps one or two, have been wondering how I’ve been getting on healthwise generally.

In myself I have been so tired and a bit out of sorts. I think It has to do with getting up before six am three days a week and then sleeping later on the other days, along with having a nap in the afternoon following dialysis. From being young one of the things that was guaranteed to make me feel under the weather was irregular sleeping hours – so I think I’m going to have to start getting up early on the days I don’t go and get into a routine time of going to bed. Plus it doesn’t help when B’s brother rings at 20 past 11 on a Friday night to ask if B can pick their mum’s prescription up from the doctors before 11 on Saturday morning because he’s busy. Busy turning out to mean he’s had, or about to have, so much to drink he won’t be able to legally drive on the Saturday morning. Monday I got home and slept most of the afternoon – well afternoon and early evening – it was about seven when I prised myself off the settee to go for a shower and get my jim jams on. This morning I managed to get a sleep while on dialysis and I have to say I feel a lot better for it. Yesterday armchair yoga started again and I decided not to go – well I um’ed and ah’ed and then with B leaning towards me not going I was swayed in that direction. However it was the right decision as by early evening I said ‘If I’d felt like this earlier I would have gone’ just proving I guess that I wasn’t really up to it.

Mind you I didn’t just sleep on Monday I was sick as well. I was so disappointed Friday night when we had an Indian takeaway. We’d had one last Monday when I found out my neutrophils had gone up to 2.00 – yes 2.00! I intially thought the nurse must have said 0.2 but no it was 2.00 – the bottom end of normal. On Monday I’d been fine with the takeaway – I hadn’t eaten it all, but some was eaten and it stayed eaten – however on Friday I was part way through when what had been eaten decided to put in a reappearance. Fortunately since the ambulance incident a poop scoop bag lined sick bowl is never far out of reach – it could be the newest ‘must have’ fashion accessory – maybe I could make it a little cover.

B’s still been doing most of the cooking and after slaving over a hot stove on Monday night I ate a little bit of lamb, potatoes, petit pois (not just ordinary garden peas for us I’ll have you know) and mint gravy and then this too decided to do an encore performance. My Auntie Ann pointed out last night that it might be dialysis linked as I wasn’t sick on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday – see if I wasn’t so tired I could have worked that out for myself. I wasn’t sick yesterday either – although it was a close thing after a few gulps of Fortisip in the morning but it settled down and the Fortisip was actually okay.

I asked this morning whether the sickness had anything to do with the dialysis and the short answer is no. It can make people sick but this tends to be straight after – so last Wednesday’s incident would tie in but nothing later in the day so that rules out Friday and Monday’s later incidents. However the sister who has been dealing with me had mentioned to one of the renal doctors that my blood pressure was high and this can cause vomiting. The doctor had suggested that more fluid was taken off but the sister pointed out that this wasn’t an issue so one of the blood doctors was going to come and see me this morning but I finished dialysis really early today as there was a clotting issue which despite the best efforts of the sister completely stuffed the machine. The most common anti-clotting drug Heprin isn’t being used as my platelets have been low, and still are somewhat, but apparently there are other drugs or a different ‘kidney’ that can be used and it will be sorted for Friday. And today my blood pressure was fine.

Since I hadn’t/haven’t been eating as much as usual the renal dietician sent a note to our GP so I could get this fortified supplement drink on prescription. I had tried Nepro whilst in the Royal but it was a warm vanilla and let’s just say it put me off that one. I also had a different one in strawberry and that was okay – as long as it was cold that it is – but since I was on a fluid restriction at the time I didn’t want to use a third of it with one of those. I had it on good authority from one of the other dieticians that Fortisip is probably the most paletable and is only 125ml instead of 250ml. Although at the moment I can drink up to two litres a day as long as I don’t gain more than 2 kg (4.4 lbs) between dialysis sessions. This isn’t proving to be a problem since I’ve lost nearly 10 kg (22 lbs) since November but have been hovering about the same weight for the last couple of weeks.

One of the renal dieticians called in to see me this morning and said if my appetite doesn’t improve in the next few weeks we can increase the Fortisip to two a day and in the meantime I should ‘enrich’ my food ie, add butter, cheese, cream to everything. I had started doing this after B got me some crackers on Monday and I had a few with butter yesterday which really got Buddy’s attention. I had anticipated doing this on Monday night but ‘someone’ put the butter back in the fridge after I’d got it out to soften so the butter didn’t spread very far but the crackers ended up in a lot of pieces.

The ‘rash’ I had that came in two stages stopped being painful when pressed but still hasn’t faded completely. These were the spots that came up looking like small ‘bites’ and then settled into a red looking bruise with a hard bit in the middle. The most dramatic one seeming to conincide with my platelets being really low and ending up being about three inches in diameter.

My knees are still a bit iffy in the stair department. They’re not painful and I can actually get up from a squat position without scrabbling towards something I can pull myself up on, not that I’ve been making a habit of squating, but I’m still really, really slow in going up the stairs. Oh, and I traumatised one of the ambulance drivers yesterday as I fell onto the mini bus. B had phoned just as we were walking out of the main doors and I attempted to take the two small steps onto the bus with my crocheting in one hand and the phone clamped to my ear in the other. My knee just didn’t produce any umpff – at all. I lunged forward and fortunately landed on a nearby seat which doubly fortunately was down on this occassion. He advised me to be careful getting off. The other ambulance man asked ‘Why? Did you fall getting off before?’ ‘No’ the first one replied ‘she fell getting ON!’

I must have lost a little bit of weight with my hair – since it’s been a bit of a competition as to who was shedding more – me or Bud. And it’s really cold. I keep feeling draughts on my head. I’ll be lying on the settee minding my own beeswax and B will go out opening the door, cold blast one, and closing the door, cold blast two. I was thinking ‘I don’t remember it being this chilly before’ and of course it wasn’t because last time I had a similar hair style it was summer. After having the hood up on my shorty dressing gown on Monday night I decided that I needed something to keep my noggin toasty while I’m dressed. B offered to find me a new bob hat that he has for work but I dug out a protype hat I knit a while ago so I spent yesterday afternoon with black and lilac stripped Peruvian style head wear with little plaits from the ear flaps and a tassel on the top.

B cooked us peppered rump steak for tea – a bit adventurous possibly as I’d thrown up twice within the past two hours as a result I think of an uncustomary can of coca cola – and it was gorgeous more so going down than coming back up I must admit. Although so far the second instalment has stayed where it was put.