Thursday, February 23, 2006

Partial February Labs

I realized today that I have not sent out any of my lab reports in February. I know, many of you do not care, but I feel like it is an important part of what I am going through, so I will keep sharing them. Unfortunately, I did not receive my full report this month, so you get an abbreviated version of the labs.

  • Albumin: 4.5 (Goal is 3.8 – 4.5)

  • eKdrt/V: 1.37 (Goal is greater than or equal to 1.2)

  • Potassium: 4.4 (Goal is 3.5 to 6)

  • Corrected Calcium: 9.1 (Goal is 8.4 to 9.5)

  • Phosphorus: 5.5 (Goal is 3.5 to 5.5)

  • Hemoglobin 12.7 (Goal is 11 to 12)

  • Average Fluid Weight Gain: 1.53 kg or 2.2% (Goal is 3 – 5% of dry weight)

Overall, I was marked: ACCEPTABLE and even got a smiley face sticker at the top of my sheet. This sheet is a page of graphs that the dietitian passes out every month that shows you your progress over the past six months. It is a simple way for her to show you how you are doing and for you to quickly see your progress.

I personally still like the full lab report. I am going to have to try and ask again (today) for my report. It was not available in my file Tuesday. It should have my URR and BUN listed, as well as my Creatinine, which will help me glance at my kidney function. I have been wondering about it as I had to use the bathroom a bunch on Tuesday and then hardly at all on Wednesday.

Well, today’s report is short, but I guess that could be good or bad (depends on how you look at it). I will continue to monitor my situation and let you know if I hear anything. I have heard some of my potential donors have already sent back their applications. When I learn something, then you will learn something!

Thanks for coming by.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Well, I have not updated my blog in a while, so I think I am going to make myself do it. I have been quite busy at work this week (which is great). They have me working more on the stuff I enjoy doing rather than the data entry that got me in the door. I am enjoying my job more and more each day, and that is always nice when you do not have to be motivated to go to work.

The site where my catheter was removed has almost completely stopped hurting. It only bothers me now if I run into it with something. The shower does not hurt, and there are only two steri-strips left on it. They stick to the wound to hold it closed until you heal. They put them on my abdomen when I had my staples removed this summer. They stayed on about two weeks. I expect that these will be on about one more week.

I have an appointment with my endocrinologist on Monday. I am hoping that he will have looked at my lab results and decided that I am not doing badly. I hope that my thyroiditis will not require any further medications. I am still working with the cardiologist to try and fix my blood pressure. She has changed my hypertension medications every two weeks for the last six. She doubled my Diovan, then she added Norvasc, and this week she doubled my Toprol XL. Hopefully this last change will fix me so that I can know what I need to have prescribed.

Dialysis continues to go well. My fistula is working great (still). They should take another flow rate test next week to get a comparative reading. I don’t foresee any problems. I still have a strong thrill, and that’s a good thing. The thrill, for those of you who don’t know, is the feeling of blood rushing through the fistula. It is always supposed to be very easy to feel. Mine always has been strong, and now I can feel it in my elbow.

I am still having problems with my stomach. When I eat right after dialysis, I feel hot and sick for about 30 minutes. But, if I don’t eat, I feel hungry. So, which is better? Also, I get pain in my jaw for about a minute when I first start eating, but only right after dialysis. I have another appointment with the GI doctor next month, so I will ask her my stomach questions again.
You can continue to pray for my health and for the kidney donation process. I do not know when I should hear anything, but I am sure they will tell me when they are ready.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 10, 2006

414 Flow Rate

Last night at dialysis was the quarterly test of access flow rates. The technician told me that they do the testing on a regular basis, and since I am using the large needles now, they can go ahead and test me. If you remember, I had to get a fistula revision and a perm-cath because my flow rate was under 400 back in October. So, the test was all important for me. When it was finished, the technician told me that I was running at 414, which was great news. I also found out that the highest flow rate she had ever seen was 2000. That information suddenly changed my thinking. I had thought that maybe 500 was the top, so 350 was not so bad. But, if you can have a flow rate over 2000, then my paltry 350 was pathetic. Now that I am over 400, I hope that my fistula will continue to develop for as long as I am on dialysis.

I have to go to the hospital in about an hour to have my perm-cath removed. So, after two months, I will not have tubes hanging out of my chest! I am sure that having it removed won’t be the most pleasant thing I do all day, but I imagine that it won’t be worse than having the neck catheter inserted or removed. So, if you read this before 11am Friday, then know that I am on my way to feeling like a normal person again. If you read it after 11, then I am probably back at work sans-catheter. And, if you are reading this on Saturday morning, then I am enjoying a long, hot shower, so don’t call and bother me, lol.

There is not really too much more going on. I have one more treatment (Saturday) when I will be recording my blood pressure. I am on Diovan, Toprol XL, and Norvasc, at the moment. I will send another two weeks worth of BP data to my cardiologist on Monday, and we will see what she wants to do from there. My pressure has been down more often, but I still see it in the 150s from time to time. I don’t want it to drop too low, so the medication is a delicate balancing act.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Well, it’s Tuesday morning and, if you have been reading along, you will know that I still have the perm-cath in my chest. The nephrologist did not come by dialysis last week (at all), so I am hoping that he will be by at least once this week. If I get to see him, then maybe he can schedule an appointment for me to have this catheter removed and let me go back to my dialysis-normal life.

I used 17-guage (small) needles the first week that I went back to my fistula. Then, last week, I was up to 16-guage needles. Today, I am wondering if they are going to finally put me back on 15-guage needles (the largest size we use at our clinic). Once they have used the 15-guage needles on my fistula at full speed for a couple of days, then they will test my flow rate to see if my revision put me over 400. My old rate was under 300, which was not what they wanted. The higher the flow rate, the better possibility you have for dialysis. So, it should be back to larger holes in my arm today (which is always great, don’t you know).

I joined a few dialysis e-mail groups last week. Now, every time I open up my Inbox, it is filled with messages from people who are on (or know people on) dialysis. There has not been a lot yet that has been useful to me, but I am hoping to learn more from this community of people that are going through the same experiences as I am. That is kind of why I write this blog. I want to share my experiences with others and help them to see what I go through and how God helps me through it.

Speaking of which, please continue to pray about my transplant. If God does not have healing planned for me, I would love to get a new (well, used) kidney. Since my approval is complete, all I am waiting for now is for my potential donors to get tested and find out if someone can donate. I know that God has a perfect plan laid out for me; I just have to wait and see what it is. Help pray that I am patient during this waiting.

Thanks for coming by to read today! Enjoy your dialysis-free evening.

Friday, February 03, 2006

January Comments Review

Well, it is time once again to review all of the comments that I have been receiving. I know that not everyone who reads my blog reads the comments, so I thought that I would review the last several that have been posted, as well as a couple of responses.

Oh, by the way, I posted last night that the doctor was supposed to come by the clinic and schedule a time to remove my chest catheter (since it is no longer needed). The doctor did NOT come by the clinic last night. I hope that means he will be by twice next week, as I pay $80 a week to see the doctor. This also means another week (at least) with the catheter. I did take home the betadine and clean it myself this morning, since the technicians had forgotten or run out of time twice this week. New bandages are always nice.

At 1:23 PM, Nephronurse said...

Did anyone ever offer you the option of peritoneal dialysis?

At 9:15 AM, Nathan said...

When I had my nephrectomy in June, the doctor said that I would soon be in need of dialysis. However, since I had just had my abdomen torn open (from my sternum to my navel), I was told that PD would not be a good option. Also, since I suffer from Polycystic Kidney disease, most of my peritoneal cavity is filled with my remaining kidney (it's large). Does that answer your question?

At 7:55 PM, Nephronurse said...

Yes, that's what I suspected was the case. I just wondered if it had even been mentioned to you. I have seen a lot of patients that have never been told about it. I have also seen people with PKD do quite well on PD.

(Comments were taken directly, since I answered that question in a comment).

At 7:05 PM, Danielle said...

Hi Nathan. I found your site quite by accident...then, God makes no mistakes. I will be praying for your health and well-being and will continue checking out your blog. Thank you for sharing your story.

"His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy." Col. 1:11

"Live long and prosper." Mr. Spock

Danielle has told me the best thing that I can ever hear. I love to know that someone is praying for my health and recovery. I am thankful to be living in a time when people that I do not know can pray for me, since we both know the same God. And, of course, how can I not like someone who quotes Star Trek!

At 11:13 PM, Nephronurse said...

Hi, Nathan
I tried to post a comment once already and I am not sure if it went through so I'm trying again. The trials you have had with your fistula inspired me to post about vascular access on my blog. Please let me know if you think it is helpful or not.

I did actually read through Nephronurse’s Blog. She had some interesting insights about vascular access, some of which I will never see, since I only have the one fistula. She encounters many more patients that I do, and has a better opportunity to see problems and solutions. This is one blog that I have added to my regular reading list, and I plan to keep up with her posts.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

16 Gauge Needles Again

I am in dilaysis again tonight, posting from my chair. They are using the 16-gauge needles again tonight. I was on the 15's for one week, and I imagine that I'll be on the 16's for one week. The doctor did not come Tuesday, so he should be here today. Hopefully he will set me up to have my chest catheter removed (which will be nice). I am looking forward to a real shower again.

I had a new person comment on my blog. She is a nurse at a dialysis clinic. I can't see my other pages right now, but you can check my previous posts to get to her site.

I also joined three Yahoo! discussion groups for kidney disease patients. I hope I will learn more of what to expect from their collective intelligence. And, yes, I think that the Borg had a few good ideas. Collective intelligence would be a huge bonus. I guess that the Internet is another step towards having the collective knowledge of the world available at my fingertips.

Well, I've got 1 hour and 40 minutes left in my treatment, so I'll go back to that. I'm watching Disc 4 of Season 1 of Dark Angel on my DVD. It's a pretty good series (at least Season 1) that I missed the first time around.

Keep praying for my continued health as I await a kidney transplant. I mailed out the applications to those that asked. Thanks!