31) Bionic Man Escapes to the 'High Country'

July 18, 2006

El Milagro: Feeling back at home today. Gladys cannulated me without much pain. Staff asked how Dallas was a I explained that it was smaller, fancier, and that I had to be dialysised in a bed. Eloy said, " Bed?" and I replied that they do dialysis 24/7 and have night-time patients who sleep there. I reported that I didn’t like it as much as here. Ron the nurse told me that Oscar (the nurse in Dallas) had called him on Saturday, saying they needed my TB results faxed up there because the doctor doesn't want to dialysize me without it. He rushed around looking for it, knowing they had done it. Finally found it and faxed it. According to Ron everything had been faxed up before I went… so there is another example of how these places get a bit mixed up.

Laura, Jennifer’s junior dietician, stopped by to report on my last blood work. She is a young, attractive, brunette with a perky, smiley face, who intends to make the patient happy. On my newest report all was good except protein is dropping (from 3.8 to 3.5) and she asked if I was eating a lot of protein. Told her about more steaks and fish and she suggested I eat even more protein. Also, phosphorus is still too high but is dropping again (from 7.2 to 6.8). I reported that I had kept my promise with Jennifer and had no enchiladas, beans, or cheese for the whole week. Of course that won’t show in the blood work until next Tuesday. Somehow we got into talking about chilies and how I refuse to stop eating them, and Laura said that’s okay cause they are only a problem for potassium, and my potassium looks great. It is so nice to have lower potassium. In sharing that she understood my love of chile, she said, “I’m from El Paso” and I replied, “ME TOO ”. “Well, really Fabens" she added quickly, to which I said, “Wow. I worked at Fabens Ice Co., delivering crystal clear ice to bars all over the lower valley!" OH NO! We have the 'when old El Pasoans meet' thing going on again (see Post #25); except that she and I talked more about crops in the upper versus lower valleys. Her dad grows pistachios on their land and I talked about living up in Anthony in the middle of cotton and onion fields. Turns out she went to high school with Herman, but does that mean anything else. Like, how in the world did they both end up here at El Milagro? I will have to pay attention.

Wednesday Afternoon: Feeling blah this afternoon. Maybe nauseous or maybe just worn out from losing almost 7 pounds in dialysis last night. The blahs came on shortly after reading an email from a friend who said, "... sorry to hear you're having medical issues." That sounds so sicky to me. I don't have 'medical issues', I have a broken kidney. I prefer to use the analogy of 'broken' because it suggests repair whereas 'issues' seems like something I should go to therapy about.

So I came home to rest. Two thoughts hit me today. 1) This dialysis stuff is getting old. I mean I realize it is an important part of living for me right now…. but I am getting tired of having this kidney condition make me concentrate so much on my diet, taking meds, keeping a schedule, and all else. Usually I am very UP about it and facing it like an adventure, but today that seemed like a depressing chore. I shudder to think I’m thinking its getting old after only three and a half months…. this could go on for years. Maybe the honeymoon is over. (Maybe I do have issues).

And, 2) I’m realizing I’m a bionic man. When organs have to be enhanced or replaced by mechanical means that is the definition of bionics*. So, when hooked up to a dialysis machine, I am a bionic person! That sounds cool, but it also means that I need electricity, or a Honda generator to do dialysis. Think what would happen if N. Korea nukes Austin. I would be up a creek without a kilowatt. There’s this TV commercial about a new show called Jericho I think: and this kid is standing on top of a house seeing a mushroom cloud in the distance… and then, of course all the power goes out. Used to be that when that happened I thought I’d jump in my truck and head up to the 'high country' (somewhere not to be named here so everyone else doesn’t go there). But now what’ll I do? I guess I could zip on over to the dialysis center; break in and take a dialysis machine; throw it in the back of the truck; zoom by Academy and get a Honda generator (solar powered if they have ‘em by then), and then head out to the 'high country'. When you’re a bionic person escape gets all complicated.

Or, rather than a nuclear attack, think what would happen if we couldn’t do more stem cell research. That would be terrible for people waiting for scientists to invent a way to grow kidneys (and many other stem cell miracles). Oh yeah; as of today, we can't. Scientists and Patients need to UNITE and let Mr. Bush know how far back in history his beliefs are taking us (Funny how he is all for killing people in the electric chair but protecting them before their personhood exists). Many American science types who want to do research in these areas are now going to Europe and other countries to do their work. Even Republican, Orrin Hatch, said "The only veto he has been willing to exercise up to this particular point is a veto against the most promising research ever devised to man. I think that's a terrible mistake."** The senator said stem-cell research could lead to cures for diseases such as cancer and diabetes, as well as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases. Hatch continued that while he supports Bush's desire for more adoptions of frozen embryos, "7,000 to 20,000 of them are destroyed each year. How can you allow 7,000 to 20,000 of these spare embryos to be destroyed a year, yet consider it murder to use them for research to benefit mankind? Either way, they are being destroyed." Of course, this debate is a whole nuther story. Don’t get me started!

And that’s the way I see it.

Notes: In at 75.1 Kg, and out at 72.2 Kg.

*Bionics (n.d.) retrieved online from Reference.Com at http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Bionics Their source is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia © 2001-2006 Wikipedia contributors (Disclaimer)

**Davidson, L. Bush's veto power nips US funds for stem-cell research. Retrieved online July 20th from Deseretnews.com at http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,640196152,00.html

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