on November 10, 2015 i had a third procedure, prepping my veins for dialysis. i am so tired of procedures. i’m tired of having my left arm carved up…this time to place a small (millimeter-sized) balloon in my vein, add a little bit of air, and my vein becomes larger.
what really bothers me is i’m just feeling comfortable with my new position at work, and every time they carve me up – i have to take a week off for recovery. not only does this put me behind in my work, but i feel like i’ve left the people i support down. they start trusting me and giving me more responsibilities, and there i go again, having another procedure. none of them know what’s really going on, so i feel like they think i’m just a “sickie” or lazy person, and that really bothers me.
i only have eight more years until i can retire – after working for the company for 22 years, i don’t want anything to get in the way of a clean retirement. plus, i’m only 52. i’m not ready to feel so sick.
(typed that earlier – this is the current posting)
after the November 10th procedure, i had one more procedure in December to clean up the same area. after multiple (half a dozen?) scans to find out if my flow had improved in my new artery (fistula), i was given the go ahead for dialysis on January 8, 2016.
meanwhile, my medical condition was drastically failing. i had no idea how sick i was becoming. the new job my employer gave me was taken away because out of 1,047 emails i sent out, ONE email didn’t have text in the subject line. i supported a group of twelve people who had no problem with my skills, yet two people out of the dozen said my skills weren’t up to par. while i was out for my procedures one of them walked up to me and said, “do you feel better now” upon my return to work. i replied, “i never felt bad to begin with”. she repeated the question, “but you feel better now”? i repeated my reply. after that day, i didn’t have the new position, so i asked HR for a sit down why – for i did the job WELL, and i felt they were replacing me for a younger person due to my medical condition and age. i even consulted a handful of attorneys. all said i had a fantastic case. this stress, along with my kidneys now working at 8%, were pulling me down in this vast gloom of depression and sickness – yet i wasn’t ready to quit working or go on disability for dialysis! i was going to fight this illness until i had no other choice.
then it happened – i lost all taste. it was like i had a mouth full of blood at all times. that metallic yucky gross taste. NOTHING would help it. i could eat tortilla chips and salsa (all bad for me), but as soon as i swallowed, i would taste that horrible taste again. within a week, this taste was so horrible it ruined the taste of chips and salsa! all i would taste is the metallic yuck. i stopped eating. i wasn’t nauseous or throwing up, just wouldn’t eat. that was when i realized, i couldn’t work any more. i was weak, sick, feeling horrible, depressed…i told work i was too sick to work any longer on January 25, 2016. it happened that quickly.
i was so sick and so worried they would fire me from the BS job issue mentioned above, i fought them on taking “sick time” for my illness. i had over a month saved up in vacation time, and i told them i wanted to take time off using my vacation time so they wouldn’t be able to write me up or discipline me for being out due to my illness. my HR rep continued to call me at home and said she couldn’t “in good faith” let me charge this to vacation time since our company had great medical benefits and unlimited sick time just for reasons like this. i was so confused from all the toxins in my body, i fought her on it and told her i was too sick to even talk to her. all i could do was lay in bed, watch tv like a blob on the couch, waiting for dialysis to start and hope the taste in my mouth would go away soon.
i visited the dialysis center on January 27, 2016. they filled my already confused mind with nutrition, bills, social worker, staff, rules – everything you can think of – prior to my first treatment. that first treatment they inserted the smallest needle size (16 gauge) into my newly created and approved fistula, and cranked the machine to a medium rotation (300) because i was so ill. within 20 minutes my blood pressure fell and i was hearing ringing in my ears. they were right on top of it and moved the draw on the machine to a slower draw (250). i felt much better after those first two hours on the machine. the taste was still in my mouth, but they told me it would take many visits for it to go away.
the diet with dialysis is really different. i have to eat so much more protein, plus i have to limit my liquid intake. i am only allowed 55 ounces of liquid per day. FIFTY FIVE OUNCES! previously i could drink that in one setting! because my kidneys still work and i urinate often during the day, they say i can handle more, but i should get used to 55 ounces because when they fail completely, that will be my daily intake goal. i pray i get a donor before that happens!
do you want to know how much CRAP they pull from me on an average visit? every day you walk in and weigh, then you’re on the machine for 3 hours, then you weigh again. it’s all in kilograms – but if you push a button on the scale you can get the weight in pounds. one day i lost 5.5 pounds in TOXINS and CRAP from the cleaning of my blood. since dialysis has begun, i’ve lost almost 15 pounds. they say that’s too much, but i’m feeling better. i am only lightheaded at times when they bump up the machine to draw more junk out of me in the same three hour time period.
so, here’s the kicker – i had no idea how sick i was. when you’re overweight with failing kidneys – there is NO IDEA to know how much toxins and crap you are carrying around – day after day – week after week – YEAR after YEAR. until you’re on that machine and it cleans you out and you fell like a million dollars and you go walk 5 miles with your dog and you smile at the sky and you make angels in the green grass. only to find out you overdid it and are exhausted the next 24 hours.
there is a happy medium and i will find it soon. i am so thankful to be alive and able to be given this medical blessing of dialysis. i will continue to lose weight and soon i will be on the eligible transplant list for a kidney. someone out there has an extra kidney that will be mine one day.
now to get well enough to return to work. i hope to return mid-March and give em hell.