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Another close call, monthly labs

March 20, 2009 Leave a comment

My sister was in the Emergency Department again today, but this visit was not an emergency. She got a call for a kidney, and was told to go to the ED.

As it turns out, the kidney was a no-go. The potential donor was a 50 year old with a head injury, but the surgeons apparently would not take the kidney, as it wasn’t suitable. 

I know that my sister is disappointed, but a transplant is not something to rush in to (I know, easy for me to say, but it’s true). It’s worth waiting for an optimal kidney, not only to prevent problems, but also, if you are transplanted once and it fails, it’s harder to match subsequent kidneys for transplant due to antibodies from the first transplant. Better to get a good one initially so that it will hopefully last longer.

She has been on the list for almost 3 years now, and has had several calls, but on a positive note, the calls are getting closer, and she was “1st in line” for this kidney. So it should be soon…

As for me, I had my monthly labs this week, and my creatinine is 1.1, which is the lowest ever since transplant.  My glucose was high, but it was non-fasting, so I’m not too worried about that yet.  My blood counts are good, although my lymphocytes are high-probably because of the bronchitis I’ve had this week (increased lymphs indicates a viral infection).

The only other issue is that I have what appears to be a blister on the top of my 2nd toe.  I had my doctor eyeball it, and he just told me to soak it in Epsom salts. I have to be careful due to my neuropathy; I have minimal sensation in my feet, along with decreased sensation to pain.  I held off on walking the past 2 days, and it is improving.

Have a great weekend. The weather here will be picture-perfect sunny and mid 50’s.

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Random postings

March 14, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I posted, and I didn’t get a chance to update my last post. My sister is fine. She was admitted overnight after dialysis in the Emergency Dept, and then had dialysis the next day. The potassium problem was dietary.

I had my biannual check up with my PCP on Thursday (the “easy one”, where I got to keep my clothes on 🙂 ) . Other than a need to lose 12 lbs, everything is GREAT.  I’ve had a cold for the past 2-3 weeks off and on, and the past 2 days, I think I have touch of bronchitis. Most cases of bronchitis are viral, so I’ll just tough it out.

Today is the first Saturday morning in a LONG time that I didn’t have to go to work. It was interesting seeing how crowded the hardware store and Dunkin Donuts drive thru were at 11am today…

Last Sunday was my last day with the nursing agency that I’ve been working for. I’ve been with this particular case for over 6 years, and a prior case for 5 years. Yes, in addition to my full time job, I worked weekends for 11 years now, and it’s nice to take a break from that. Besides, the more money I make now, the more the government will confiscate from me…

I’ve been busy at my full-time job lately; we’ve been seeing a lot of sick children lately (in addition to the “well children” we always see). In addition, it’s that time of year when the school-avoiders have used up their absences, and are required by state law to have a doctor’s excuse for any further absences. It’s the same people calling for these all of the time. The Family Practice dept that we share space with have their drug seekers, we have our school excuse seekers…

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, Jackie was an Alternative Ed teacher in the local public school. Her pay was a little more than what she would make as a substitute, she had no benefits, no paid days off. Now, she is teaching Special Ed (Middle School Emotional Support) at a private school which specializes in Special Education, she has benefits, she gets paid time off, a paycheck in the summer, and was just given Employee of the Month! At the public school, they stuck her in a classroom in the basement and gave her no support whatsoever. Out of sight, out of mind.  She is much happier in her current job.

Digger decided to find himself a new toy Thursday night. We thought he was prancing around the back yard with one of the toys we bought him, but when he wouldn’t come in, I went out to check: he killed an adult rabbit, and was proudly running around the back yard with it in his mouth. We had a tough time getting him to put it down, but Jackie threatened him with a walking stick, he dropped it, and I tossed it over the fence into the tree line behind our back yard.

I’m originally from Luzerne County in Pennsylvania.  Politically, it’s always been a VERY corrupt county, but the Feds are on an arresting spree lately, including 2 judges, one of whom is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Federal cocaine case.  My cousin, an attorney in Luzerne County, who is in private practice and works for Children and Youth part time, is running for one of the open positions of Judge. For those of you living in Luzerne County, please consider voting for her. Although I’m biased, she is honest, and would do a great job (no risk of following in the footsteps of the admitted felons Ciavarella and Conahan). Here website is here.

Categories: March 2009, Uncategorized

Evening in the Emergency Department

March 1, 2009 Leave a comment

I worked 10 hours today (6:30 am-4:30 pm), came home, went to Pizza Hut with Jackie and Kevin, and were home about 10 minutes and my sister called. She was short of breath, weak, and felt the same way as 2 weeks ago when her potassium was elevated.

Jackie and I picked her up and drove her to the Emergency Department.  She told me that her heart rate at home was in the 40’s; I had visions of having to pull over, drag her out of the car, and do CPR. As it was, we had a hard time getting her out of the car, as her legs were just not working.  But we did make it to the ED without any problems.

When we got to the ED,  she was taken back to a room fairly quickly, as her heart rate was 33. They took her back, did labs and an EKG, and found out not only that her potassium was at a potentially lethal level of 7.4 (normal is 3.5-5.0), but she was in heart block (the electrical system of her heart was not firing properly) from the elevated potassium.  For those with a medical background, specifically a 3:1 heart block, and I believe it was 2nd degree block.  They then took her to the “cardiac room”, put the external “pacer pads” on her (in case they need to do what is in effect an external pacemaker), and put her on a monitor. They then gave her IV insulin and D25 (glucose), along with sodium bicarb, and within about 20 minutes, her heart rate was going up into the 70’s. (insulin causes potassium to enter the cells, thus lowering the serum potassium level, which allows the muscles to once again work as they should).

The Nephrologist was in, ordered dialysis, and decided to admit her. The dialysis nurse then came in and started dialysis, and then she will go to a room in the hospital.

Jackie and I came home. since she was stable, and we both have to work in the morning. She’ll only be in until tomorrow. They want to do a “work up” to make sure the high potassium levels aren’t from something non-dietary. I’ll post again when I have more information.