Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Day After The Latest Surgery

Greetings once more from the Northwest Kidney Center on Delridge Way in West Seattle. Dropped Rick off here around two and went off to have adventures - i.e., got a new battery for my cell phone. Got back around four and discovered him sleeping quietly in the dialysis chair. He had to have shots today, and after he has shots he has to wait for a while before getting hooked up to the machine. I imagine this gives the shots time to soak in before dialysis filters everything out of his blood.
He did have his seventh surgery yesterday - old catheter out, new catheter in. This surgery has turned out to give him more pain than most of the previous ones.
We got home from the hospital last night and both of us dropped into bed. I was fully clothed, and slept straight through until ten this morning, over 12 hours, and I don't think I moved much during that interval. I was tired. Rick was in a world of hurt. He says it's better today than it was last night, so we look for improvement in the pain area as time goes on.
You can see why I did not want to disturb his sleep in the chair just now.
Our thanks and appreciation to all who have inquired how he is doing. The hope of perhaps being able to do PD again has him doing well. We know it might not work, but at least he has a shot at trying.
The Kidney Center is set up for people having dialysis. It is not set up for spouses or other family or friends of people having dialysis. That is why I am sitting in my car, netbook propped on steering wheel, typing away. I am sorry to complain about this; it is my nature to complain I suppose. They do provide free wifi.
That's about it for today.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Ray of Hope, a Roasting Chicken

Mary here:
We live in interesting times here at Casa Tuel.
Rick is over at dialysis this afternoon. I splurged and bought a roasting chicken, which is in there making the house smell good as I type. Making the house smell good is the reason I decided to roast a chicken. It will be nice for Rick to walk in later tonight to the aroma of roasting chicken.
And it might taste good, also. We'll see.
Here is the progress on Rick's dialysis situation: His nephrologist and his vascular surgeon told him he was at the end of the road for peritoneal dialysis because of his drainage problem. What this means is that he'll be stuck on hemodialysis for the rest of his life. He was extremely bummed out. Hemodialysis keeps him alive, but it's not the kind of life he had for the first 64 years. It's a life of going to hemodialysis and then recovering from hemodialysis. Rick has never been a lie around and do nothing guy. He's been a get up and go to work guy.
We are not sure why, exactly, but the vascular surgeon has decided to try again. On the 15th of June Rick is going in for surgery (his 7th surgery since last October). The old catheter will be removed, and a new catheter will be put in on the other side of his abdomen. The new catheter might drain better than the old one. It might not. We don't know. The surgeon is going to put the new catheter in, though, and after a period of recovery, Rick will try peritoneal dialysis again, and we'll see if the new catheter drains reliably.
The present catheter drained fine, sometimes, but about half the time it didn't drain well, or at all. This one may be no better, but Rick is highly motivated to find out, and perhaps that's why his doctors are going to try again. I don't really know.
He said today as he was getting ready to leave that if this catheter doesn't work he's going to ask for a strong anti-depressant. I've been thinking about that, too. If this catheter doesn't work, if his insides simply are not built for this type of dialysis, he'll be stuck on hemodialysis forever. In which case – well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Oh – I checked our bank balance today, and some mystery person has put $50 into our account. Thank you, mystery person. Bless you. The good financial news here is that Rick's disability payments have started, so we have an income for the first time in months. The bad news is that it isn't much and we're probably going to declare bankruptcy. The other good news is that I'm retired! The bad news there is that I won't see my retirement check for another two months. Oh well. We've made it this far. We'll make it until August.
And you'll note we still have the internet. Mmmm. I like the internet.