Monday, November 07, 2005

High Heart Rate on Saturday

Well, dialysis did not go as well as it could have on Saturday night. For some unknown reason, my heart rate shot up at the end of my treatment. At the end of every dialysis treatment, they take your blood pressure while you are standing up to make sure that you aren’t going to pass out on your way home (since taking off all that fluid can really drop your blood pressure). My blood pressure was fine, but my heart rate was sky high. It started out at 157 beats per minute, and kept hovering around that number for about ten minutes. So, they had me sit down, where my heart rate dropped down to around 130 or 140. When I stood up a second time, my heart jumped to about 250 beats per minute (which is just crazy). They watched me for about 30 minutes, waiting on my heart rate to calm down, but it never went below 100 sitting and never got below 130 standing. So, they sent me home and said to go to the hospital if I had any problems over the weekend. I checked my pulse on Sunday, and it was usually around 100 sitting. So, I don’t know if there is anything wrong, but I guess I can ask the doctor on Tuesday when I see him.

I received a question posted in the comments section of my blog. I am going to reprint the question and attempt to answer it.
At 5:37 PM, Anonymous said...
Sounds like you are doing well and moving forward. Happy for you. Can you tell me anything that would help me know what I am facing with a double nephrectomy? Thanks

Wow, a double nephrectomy (which means having both of your kidneys removed). I will try and give you my experience with the single nephrectomy and you can probably just multiply everything I say by 2. Your mileage may vary.

For me, I had one kidney that was quickly swelling to fifteen pounds. I was in terrible pain for more than a week, and it took them several days just to decide to remove that kidney. As with all surgeries, I was told not to eat anything before the procedure, not that I was feeling well enough to hold food down. They gave me some nice anesthetics and I had a long nap. I do not recall anything from the procedure itself. All I remember is being rolled down to the preparation area in my gown (with my family in tow) and a slight burning as they injected the medicine. I gave my glasses to my wife, and the next thing I knew, I was in the Critical Care Unit (same as the ICU in other hospitals). I was extremely tired after the surgery, and they had me hooked up to a morphine pump (which I could use to dispense pain medication when I needed it). I stayed in the CCU for about two days. They only allowed visitors to come in for a few minutes every two hours (so that I could get some sleep). There was a lot of pain the first couple of days, but the pain medication really helped with that. I would also advise that you not pull out your NG tube while you are sleeping. The tube is designed to suck everything out of your stomach while you are recovering. And, since it was abdominal surgery, I was not allowed to have anything to eat. The doctor said that they had to wait until I started passing gas (which gets into your abdominal cavity while it is open) before I could eat anything. For me, that took five days. I think it might have been shorter had I not removed my NG tube on the second day after surgery.

I hope that this was a helpful insight into my nephrectomy. Like I said, for a double, it might take a little longer in the operating room (depending on why you are having your kidneys removed). If they are not both swollen to 15 pounds, I bet it goes pretty quickly. And, you recovery time will probably be at least two weeks. I did not feel like getting out of bed before the second day, and did not feel like standing long enough to take a shower until a week had gone by. I think that was the worst part, was that I could not really stand up for very long. And, it was exhausting to do anything that first week. Good luck with your procedure!
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