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Transplant Athlete
Thursday, April 23, 2009
  Dialysis In Durham

As of Monday: No
Tuesday: Yes
Wednesday: No
Thursday: Yes
Friday: Who knows?
 
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009
  Davita Sux

My cousin Eddie is getting married this weekend. Attending his wedding is very important to me. I scheduled dialysis in North Carolina (Davita Durham) for this months ago. Somebody somewhere dropped the ball and while I had a slot available in Durham, my records weren't processed. So, Durham doesn't know what to do and my home clinic didn't know I was leaving.

My wife's boss performed an "Executive Escalation" on Monday or Tuesday and the paperwork started flying. As of last night, I was good to go. I had a slot available in Durham, the nurse at United Healthcare assured me I would be dialyzed in Durham before the wedding.

Today, I got a call from Carlos, the guy running my local Davita clinic and was told that due to my hypertension, the clinic in Durham would not be taking me.

You've got to be kidding me...First of all, just about every dialysis patient has hypertension. Second, I called Durham to confirm all this and the Social Worker there won't even take my call. I was told I should have the Nurse Practitioner at my home clinic call their doctor.

I leave you with the immortal words of Lt. Colonel Frank Slade:
Out of order, I show you out of order. You don't know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I'd show you, but I'm too old, I'm too tired, I'm too fuckin' blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this place! Out of order? Who the hell do you think you're talkin' to? I've been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen.

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  RIP Dan Hersh

Wes Cheney reports on a fallen cyclist at his blog. I didn't know Dan Hersh, but I do know other cyclists that have died after being hit by vehicles. Sometimes we call these things tragic accidents; they are tragic but rarely "Accidents". Sometimes drivers aim for us, they may be egged on by a passenger or they may just be running late and the cyclist is in their way; sometimes they just don't have the skill (and knowledge of physics) to control their vehicle at the speeds they're driving. I don't like the term "accident". It implies that there was nothing the driver could do (some drivers tell you there was nothing they could do in those final seconds, but if they'd driven slower, given the cyclist more room, etc. they wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place).

When I was a teenager, I had a friend who rolled a car, he says it was an accident, I call it careless driving (excessive speed, wet roads, inexperienced driver).

I've had two cars hit while they were parked in a parking lot, both times, the other drivers called them accidents. I was lucky enough to be in my Cavalier when it got hit, so I'll describe what I saw. The teenager was driving the family minivan. He had a lollipop in one hand and he was driving with the other hand. He came into the parking space too fast, and he wasn't able to turn the wheel enough with one hand so he rammed the back of my precious Cavalier. Then the idiot thought he'd just slide it in and no one would be the wiser, so he puts the lollipop in his mouth, uses both hands to turn the wheel and gives it some gas. The front bumper of his car scrapes up the side of my Cavalier. He finally realizes this isn't working out to well for him and stops. With his front bumper jammed into my door. He gets out of the car and he's wondering why I'm not getting out until I roll down the window and tell him he needs to move his car so I can open my door.

Recently a friend told me I was lucky to have a new car. He said every new car he's ever had got totaled shortly after purchasing it. He told me that in one incident, he refused to let a woman merge onto the highway and she rammed him. Well, no duh. That wasn't an accident.

Don't get me started on how many cars my sister totaled on "accident" when she was younger. To be fair, she hasn't totaled a car in years.

I think the only time it's legitimately an accident is when an animal is involved. Dogs and deer surprise a lot of drivers and once they are in the roadway, they are unpredictable, making avoiding them difficult.

As for a motorist who "accidently" hits a cyclist in broad daylight, traveling in the same direction...That's no accident, it's murder or manslaughter or whatever the legal term would be. I'm sure we'll see the legal wranglings of this case play out over time. According to Wes, based on past experience the authorities are not likely to press charges in this case.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009
  Karma Points

I built up some Karma points by volunteering at the Syn-Fit Crit yesterday. It was a beautiful day to be racing. It was really amazing watching the bikes fly by with the wheels whizzing and the gears clicking. The racers as usual were all in colorful kits and the racing bikes were gleaming like they'd just been waxed. The Men's 5 was maxed out at 50 participants.

That's missing from the long distance rides/races I've done. The speed...The number of participants...the shiny bikes without saddle bags, lights, and leather brooks saddles.

It made me want to race again.

 
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009
  What A Disappointment

My contractor put the solar thermal panel on the roof on Monday and the plumber got all the connections working. Now I'm living a Doors song. Can you guess which one?
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Monday, April 13, 2009
  Mortally Wounded

The Commonwealth of Virginia gave me an ultimatum for the Cavalier; either, pay an uninsured motorist fee, turn in my license plates, or lose my license. I'll be turning in my license plates. For what may have been the last time motivating under fossil fuels, I cranked the Cavalier over and pulled her into the garage. The steering was impossibly difficult, which tells me she's lost a lot of fluid. She's bleeding from multiple points around her engine bay; oil, brake, steering, coolant, probably even gas...
 
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Saturday, April 11, 2009
  It's Been A Long Week

Fairfax County was on Spring Break this week. I planned a week of activities for the kids. Monday was paint your own pottery, which went badly. Except for the hassle of having to carry TGL the most of the time (there was too much fragile pottery within her reach that I couldn't let her loose for very long), the painting was ok, but we made an unscheduled stop at Burger King which went horribly wrong. The Burger King lady on the register must have hit a button twice, because I got two of the same meals, I complained and they refunded one of the meals, but they shortchanged me $1 on the refund. When the food came, they didn't give me the toys that were supposed to go with the kids meals. With 5 kids under my care and another 4 on the trip (with 2 adults), getting the toys was an emergency.

The two mothers that were with me experienced similar problems. One asked for a kids chicken meal and got cheesy tots which is listed as a breakfast item on the BK website, since it was in a similar package as the chicken, my guess is it had sat there all day(it was 2pm). Of course, she didn't get the kids toys that were supposed to go with the meals she ordered. She also didn't get the cups for the meals she ordered.

The other mother didn't get the drinks for the meals she ordered.

We had 9 kids (8 running around, the littlest was 6 weeks old) and I had to make about a dozen trips to the register to fix something that BK screwed up, which put a lot of pressure on the two mothers to keep the kids in check.

Tuesday we went to Pump-It-Up in Leesburg for the open play time. Since TGL is 1, they wouldn't allow her on the inflatables. Whatever...

Wednesday was Bunny Bonanza at the Heritage Farm museum where they had about a dozen bunnies and 12000 kids.

Thursday was a hike/picnic at Difficult Run Trail. I had TGL in a front pack and our food and drinks in a backpack. I was pretty beat way before we got to the end of the trail. RJ and Q wanted to take the little trails that branched off the main trail and for some strange reason, they wanted to cross the stream. There were some high school kids (juniors I think) that stripped down to bathing suits and were walking from rock to rock in the stream and eventually, when they ran out of rocks, they started wading in the water.

I had something planned for Friday, but by Friday morning I was beat (I increased my blood pressure meds recently and the side effect is fatigue), TGL was beat, and RJ needed a break, so we stayed home.

 
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Monday, April 06, 2009
  You Don't tug on Superman's Cape

I received the following email recently in response to my post about firing my Nephrologist:
lou,
i am a semi regular reader of your blog, a former dialyses patient and a transplant recipient and an avid cyclist (2000+ miles/year). i really respect your accomplishments as a transplant recipient but you are a terrible dialyses patient. it looks like you are argumentative with the dialyses staff and confrontational with your doctor. an excellent way to always recieve lousy healthcare. this also would make you the guy no one at a dialyses unit is happy to have around. you may want to look at what kind of a patient you are being...you get what you give.

sincerely

chuck

In 37 years I've learned a few things.

  1. You don't pull the mask off the old lone ranger
  2. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball
  3. The Force will be with you, always
  4. If somebody asks you if you are a god, you say yes
  5. Never, no matter how much you want to, play GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR with Joshua
  6. Don't feed gremlins after midnight, don't get them wet, and avoid bright lights
  7. NO WIRE HANGERS...EVER
  8. Nobody Puts baby in a corner
  9. There can be only one
  10. AND NEVER piss off the person sticking you with very large needles.

I may sound like I complain at dialysis but I don't. I'm a model patient. I occasionally complain about dialysis and I do it here. I think the lesson here is that you have to be vigilant about your care. You can't just go on autopilot and hope to get good care just because you're NOT rocking the boat. I've always asked a lot of questions regarding my treatment, whether it was regarding my transplant or dialysis. Good doctors are happy to answer questions.

My mother, a nurse, pointed out that too much potassium could have killed me. My wife, who does not want to be left alone raising 3 kids, pointed out that with my blood pressure that high, I could have had a serious stroke. I think most people under the same circumstances would be a bit confrontational with the doctor that caused those problems (and failed to correct them) and would not give them a second chance.

 
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Thursday, April 02, 2009
  You Are The Weakest Link...Goodbye

I fired my Nephrologist, Dr.Raven Goel, today. This is the first time I've seen her since I got out of the hospital on the 18th (that's over two weeks). When she walked over, I stood up, looked her right in the eye and said:
I don't know if you are incompetent or you just don't care, either way I don't want you in charge of my health anymore. You're fired.

She asked why and protested a bit. She asked if it was because she pulled too much fluid off, which in the grand scheme of things is trivial. I wouldn't get rid of a doctor for something inconsequential like that. I told her that what she did put me in the hospital. She had no clue. I told her that I had discussed this all with her nurse Lisa and if she was out of the loop, that was just another reason why I didn't want her as my doctor.

I don't need to see a nephrologist every two weeks, if it was up to me, once a month or once a quarter would be fine, but if there's something wrong, he/she better be there and/or he/she better fix the problem. I think that's what pissed me off the most. It was painfully obvious that something was wrong with me and she did nothing. I demand a certain level of care and she didn't meet it.

I've been told time and time again that if I want to dialyze at that facility, I need to use Dr. Goel, but I won't put up with it anymore. Just before I left today, the Nurse in charge told me that if I was willing to switch my times (1st or 2nd shift), I could use the Davita Nephrologist. Apparently he's on the Davita payroll but he covers a couple Davita clinics.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009
  April Fools

I generally get my news from the internet, so every year on April 1st, I'm a bit fearful when I logon. I have to read everything thinking, "Is this plausible?"
 
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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
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