Transplant Athlete
Sunday, July 12, 2009
  Trusty Litesteed

I asked my doctor to switch me off my main blood pressure Medicine Catapres. It works like a charm at getting my blood pressure down, but it also leaves me fatigued to the point that I'll take a nap or two during the day. First of all, I feel like I'm killing time instead of living. Second, I feel like I'm cheating my kids. I lounge on the couch when I should be teaching them something or supervising their outdoor play. So, I asked the Doctor to switch me off. I tapered off the Catapres and for 3 glorious days, projects around the house got finished, my kids were happy, and I stayed off the couch; but inevitably, my blood pressure creeped up to dangerous territory. I started Lisinopril at the lowest dose and within a few days, I was back worshiping my couch.

I talked with my doctor about it and in his mind the only solution is to rotate through all the blood pressure meds until we find one that works. He asked me to check my blood pressure at home. I hate that. When Doctor Goel used to ask me to check my blood pressure at home, it made me think she was stupid. But my guess is they were giving me "makework" (defined by answers.com as "work of little value to keep someone from being idle").

If you were to plot my blood pressure you'd see that it fluctuates in a channel or range, meaning it's at it's lowest when I leave dialysis. then it gradually rises until I get dialysis again. There are no wild fluctations or outliers. It's at it's max when I go to dialysis. I've explained this to the doctors, but they keep asking me to take my blood pressure on my off days. It's like asking me to take my pulse. Well, my pulse ranges from 72 to around 200 (if I'm racing).

Anyway, I guess my point is they have enough data points from all the readings that are taken during dialysis.

So, I took myself off the Lisinopril and when my blood pressure peaked again yesterday, I went for a bike ride on my Litespeed. It's been about a year since I've ridden the road bike. I felt wicked fast, and very unsteady. (when I built up the Litespeed, I used the thinnest handlebars I could find to reduce the air resistance, versus the really long bars on my mountain bike). I would cruise really fast for awhile, then I'd feel nauseous and I'd slow down, this pattern repeated several times into Leesburg on the W&OD. When I got into the center of town about an hour's worth of riding, I turned around to head for home. I got a couple hundred feet down the trail when I felt so dizzy I thought I would pass out. I plopped down on the edge of the trail and had a powerbar and some water. Everyone passing asked if I was ok, so I backtracked about 20 feet and took a side trail and walked about 20 feet in, then I called my wife for a SAG, and then went to sleep on the grass. About 20 minutes later, my wife called and I arranged for her to meet me in Leesburg. I was still dizzy at this point, but I felt I could ride to a nearby convenience store. Thirty minutes later, my wife was lost in Leesburg, so I rode up to Rte 7 and headed for 15, hoping to make myself easy to find. Eventually she found her way out. From there, she dropped me off at dialysis. My blood pressure before the ride was 170/100 and after the ride 150/90.

So. I'm back riding to reduce my blood pressure. When I go on home dialysis, it'll be roughly 4 hours a day for 6 days a week, I don't think I can do that much time chained to a lazyboy. I asked my doctor and he said it would be ok for me to try to ride a stationary bike for part of that time.


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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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