Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kidney Kapers - Day 2

For anyone who doesn't know, my husband is in the hospital with kidney failure. I thought I'd blog a little about this, not only to help me remember but also to update anyone that I haven't been able to get back to yet (which is quite a lot). The days are so busy with nurses, doctors, visitors, episodes, etc., that it's hard to have time to call people back. Now that I have a little down time, it's already 11:30pm.

Before last week Thursday
Hubby was feeling sick. He has only been sick 2-3 times since we were married, at that was a day each, max. He was sick off and on for over a week, I finally made him go to the doctor's office.

Hubby tells me that they need to do further tests. The doctor says he has non-specific symptoms. (Funnily enough, this is the same thing they said about our dog, Flint.) He could have lupus, lyme's disease or some kind of arthritis. My mind reeled with the possibilities that each of them posed. In retrospect, any of those would have been a cake walk. An appointment was made a few weeks out.

Hubby is called in that morning to go to the clinic for more tests THAT AFTERNOON. He comes home and says that they need to do an EKG and had that scheduled. He tested positive to 2 of 40 some tests for Lupus. We go out for pizza (rough week) and then go play Settlers of Catan with some friends.

I was getting ready to leave for my discipleship triad when hubby says, "listen to this message." A doctor from the clinic said that he was in kidney failure and needed to go the hospital right away. We looked at each other, then got ready and went.

The emergency room doctors confirmed that there was something very wrong with his kidney (he only has one), he needed to be admitted to the hospital. We waited about 7 hours for a bed to open up in the critical wing. After we got in, the doctor explained what the diagnosis was; kidney failure. He just needed to confirm it with an ultra sound. He had he ultra sound that night, and I got to see a whole new side of my husband. His younger brother and his wife visited. He seemed in good spirits and I left to go home at 10pm.

I gathered up what he needed for his stay and what I needed for the day. Stopped at Brugger's Bagels and indulged in a bagel sandwich (do I know how to live it up or what?). When I got to the room, the doctor was there, explaining what would happen that day. Hubby would get a fistula (tube) for dialysis, and then have dialysis later that day. He was still low on blood, but the doctor didn't want to do a transfusion yet because it might lower his chances of getting a transplant later. He had a little episode of nausea and wasn't coherent for a few seconds, very scary. He was fine right after that, though.

Hubby's parents stopped by and he got his tube put in. An Elder from church visited, then everyone left before the dialysis. Shortly after dialysis started, he had another episode. This one was very bad. He vomitted and then convulsed. He told me later that he didn't remember what happened, that he was dreaming. He came to when the dialysis nurse was shakig him. That was the worst episode so far. The dialysis continued at a slower rate. Consequently, it made the blood clot in the tubes so it had to end a little early. He's also low on hemoglobin, so any blood loss is not good.

My sister and her husband stopped by while hubby finally got some food. After they left, hubby got up to use the bathroom and came back not feeling well. He had his third episode. Again, he vomitted, dreamed and was out. He didn't become aware again until he heard me call his name.

The doctors think that the episodes (or what I call seizures) are from his lack of calcium. He has so many low blood levels that his body is doing weird things; rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, tingling, muscle cramps, etc.. He's on more calcium right now, so I am hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Each hour seems to bring a new thing; new information, test result, symptom, visitor, etc. I've decided to stay the night and am in fact wearing some of the clothes that I brought for him this morning. It seems such a critical time that I don't want to leave his side right now, I'd only worry at home and wouldn't sleep. Plus, it's at least an hour each way driving.

The real kicker for me that showed me how bad he's feeling, is his hat. They took his hat off during the dialysis episode. I offered to put it back on him but he shook his head. He hasn't asked for it back yet.

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