Transplant Athlete
Thursday, August 28, 2008
  It's A Whole Sucking Thing...

"Blood starts it, and until the blood stops flowing it'll never stop..." - Dawn
" 'Cause it's always gotta be blood" - Spike
- Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer

First thing in the morning, I'm wheeled up to the dialysis clinic on the 10th floor of the hospital. I'm really nervous because I came so close and was turned away yesterday, but my Nephro is here and that reassures me.

Emily hooks me up to the dialysis machine and my blood slowly spills down the clear plastic tubing. I watch as it travels over to the pump. The pump pushes it over to the dialyzer, the filter pinks up and then turns bright crimson. Finally, the blood completes it's world tour and returns to my chest. The whole thing is surreal. Blood was never meant to leave the body. I think I might be feeling desperation. Face it, all your life, blood leaving the body was bad, it meant a cut or injury. Here I am willingly letting someone spill my blood. There's something medieval feeling about the process when compared to a transplant.

I feel a bit lightheaded, maybe it's the beginning of a headache? I can't tell, but I do know the feeling is weird. Maybe I'm just freaked out by all the blood that's not in my body. Maybe the dialysis is doing it's job and I'm feeling the effects of cleaner blood...

With the transplant, my blood went from toxic to normal overnight. The change was really noticeable. This first dose of dialysis is by design very mild. They want to make sure I don't have an allergic reaction to the filter used in the process. The mild treatment makes it really hard to notice any difference.

I watch Be Kind, Rewind on my laptop during the procedure. Jack Black is hilarious and he keeps my mind occupied for the 2 hour treatment. I can feel the eyes of the staff on me as I laugh uncontrollably. Just like yesterday, I seem to be the only dialysis patient with any life left in me.

Mos Def, Danny Glover, and Jack Black wrap things up on my laptop as Emily flushes saline into my tubing. The saline flushes my blood through the pump, then over to the filter and gradually the tubing leading in to my chest clears up. She unhooks me and gets me ready to go back to my room. I sit up slowly, thinking I'll be light headed, but I feel fine. I don't feel wiped out.

Breakfast is waiting for me in my room, it's super cold and what I thought was grits turned out to be oatmeal. The French Toast is actually one slice. Luckily, lunch will be in an hour. The nurses keep giving me blood pressure meds all day long. My blood pressure has been high, is high, and will be high for the forseeable future. Dinner is similarly unfulfilling, so I nicely ask the nurse if I can go to the cafeteria for food. She lets me go and I walk down in my pajama bottoms and hospital gown.

"Blood is life, lack-brain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going. Makes you warm. Makes you hard. Makes you other than dead..." - Spike from Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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Dear Lou, Its mom I'm glad I got to see a picture of you on the website. You looked ok. I wish I was there. It would make me worry less about you.I tried to call yesterday but had to leave a message I called Adrienne and she said your phone was not charged .Please remember you are a health person and will get through this.Remember what you said to me when I had cancer(Churchill). Please call when you can to let us know when you are going home.
Mom & Dad
Hi Lou,

I'm following along each day and praying for better and better results. I'll be thinking of you as I ride tomorrow.

LMK if it would help if I could come down for a few days to help out at the house. I think I could get away for a few days and am good at housekeeping, grocery shopping and watching/ transporting munchkins.

My 2nd cousin who's like 60 something has been on nighttime dialysis for years. She sleeps with a machine that cleans her blood for like 8 or 10 hours a night. She lives in Arlington. LMK if you'd like her contact info for another person to talk to.

Lots of Hugs!
wow...I'm speechless. The whole process is simply amazing. I always thought that hospital food is nasty/not filling.
peace and hugs
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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