60) Cramps: Next Chair Over

September 28, 2006

El Milagro:
Matt stuck me today. They are more-or-less back on time these days, and have integrated the computers into their work. I got back to reading David’s novel*, which I must admit, was boring enough that I put it down several weeks ago. But I want to read it because it is about people who are raised to provide organs for the general population. Of course, you don’t figure that out for the first 95 pages or so. And those first 95 pages are all about a young girl’s perspective of boarding school. So, anyway I picked it back up today and got into the part where she is describing how they first started figuring out that they are different, and that they are being raised for organ harvesting. Cool! Now I can get into the book maybe.

I read a few chapters and thought I’ld catch a few winks before Survivor. All of a sudden, Moritz & Minions are looming there in front of my prostrate body. They all looked down at me and passed their judgement: I am alive, but I need more medication to be truly well balanced medically. I am still off balance in the PTH department.** They decreed I should add another dose of Sensipar to my pile of medications, and Jennifer the Dietician stayed briefly to explain to me about it. (For more on this, see Post # 43 in August)

Survivor has thrown the formerly culturally segregated tribes back into a heap and separated them into groups with equal numbers of men and women… boring. And now they are off again, creating alliances and picking losers to cast off the island. This may be the last one I watch.

Right near the end of my session, the woman next to me yelped out and jumped up, begging, “Take me off! Take me off?” Herman, Debbie, and Ron were there in seconds putting her back in her chair, with Herman holding her feet (cramps) and Ron trying to assess her; “Hello ___. Are you there? Can you hear me?” She may have passed out. The staff quickly assessed that she is diabetic and Herman rushed her an insulin shot and she slowly came around. I noticed how quiet and dis-interested all the other people became. No one wants to see anyone in pain around here. Twenty minutes later she still didn’t seem all together to me, but they let her wander out to find her ride.

Notes: In at 74.0 Kg. and out at 72.1 Kg.
* Ishiguro, K. (2005) Never let me go. New York: Vintage Books
** chronic kidney disease (2005) Davita.com. Retrieved June 28th from


59) Cramps

September 26, 2006

El Milagro:
Diane cannulated me today. I read, dozed, and woke up facing Dr. Moritz and Ron the Nurse, doing their rounds. So I said, “Well, what’s the report?” and Moritz looked at my machine and replied something like, “Good BP” and Ron added, “You’re doing good.” and they moved off to the right.

About 15 minutes before the end of my session, I started getting leg cramps unlike any I have had before. I first noticed that my left foot was bent up like I was stretching my Achilles tendon and I couldn’t point it down. Then as I was bending it down with my hand, the cramping pain came all up and down my calf. And then, before I could do anything to alleviate it, the other leg did the same thing. I called to Diane, who came over and adjusted my machine to give me more saline but the cramps continued. I’m sitting there cramping and wiggling around trying to get away from the pain and I’m thinking, “I am not going to be one of those people who moan and groan all over the place.” So, finally Herman comes over and tells Diane to stop the dialysis cause I only have 15 minutes. He gets me to stand up and that helps my legs, but then I start feeling the cold sweat and faintness coming on. “Uh… Herman, I think I’m going to faint” I mumble. “Well, sit down then…” he replies, pushing the button to check my BP… it’s 109 over 60 something (or maybe 70 something). Im feeling woozy and crampy and wishing I were somewhere else. And where ever I’m wishing I was is a place without wooze and cramps*. Herman says, “I just want you to sit here awhile. I’m stopping the saline cause I don’t want to fill you back up with liquid.” Diane de-cannulates me and I sit there trying to catch up with NOVA (which I had been watching before this whole thing started). Finally I’m feeling better after about five minutes and I actually get outa there a few minutes early.

Tonight has been one of those experiences that I’m glad I don’t have too often and it makes me more sympathetic with the folks here that have cramping more frequently than I. There is pain involved with many of these folks and we are all each other's witnesses. I am thankful that out of all the people at the center, I continue to be one of the most outwardly healthy ones. Onward through the fog!

Notes: In at 75.4 Kg. and out at 72.6Kg.

(My dry weight is supposed to be 71.5 Kg. so they must have put 1.1 Kg. of saline back in.)
*See post #33 in July for a specific discussion of cramps in hemodialysis.


58) L'shanah tovah

September 23, 2006

At Rosh Hashanah services this morning I am reminded of all the things I have to be grateful for: family (including the best wife in the world, a son that makes me proud, two beautiful daughters, a mother-in-law who’s like my own mom, and a dad who keeps me on the straight and narrow); a great job; a comfy home; exceptional friends (you know who you are); enough money; and my faithful T-100 with new mud tires. These services also ask us to remember our sins and blunders from the past year and as the Rabbi and congregation are listing them aloud, Liz and I are nudging each other when the listed wrongs are familiar, mostly meaning I have done them. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, “is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.”* This practice continues for the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

At the end of services, we rush over to Cari and Stuart’s for their annual luncheon, seeing folks we usually see at the folk festival. Liz and I sit at the kids’ table today with kids that have grown up too fast. Stuart’s brother-in-law (the doctor) and I discuss my kidney situation and Stuart tells me about some consulting he has done with the local bus company, related to the timing of their free service of running special busses by all the dialysis centers to transport patients. We have an excellent meal of barbecued salmon, kugel, salad, and apple cake and then rush off so I can make my dialysis time and Liz and Shayna can prepare for Shayna’s 10th Birthday Party at the roller skating rink.

El Milagro: After rushing to the center to be on time, I had to wait about 20 minutes to get in my chair! Matt stuck me today and I immediately turned my TV channel to the UT game, watching the team do a fairly good job of beating Iowa State before the game was stopped because of lightning in the area (first Memorial Stadium game stopped since 1996). Although ABC kept promising to come back to the game, they never did and we ended up watching Michigan State beat Notre Dame (37 to 21)... for three quarters! Yeah Spartans! And then, in the last two minutes the Irish came back and beat MSU 40 to 37. Sorry, Dad... But, you know, it really looked like the Spartans were gonna beat them for most of the game.

While we were watching the storm roll through I asked Herman what they do when the electricity goes off. Herman explained that for the first 20 minutes or so, they just wait for the electricity to come back on. The center doesn’t have any emergency generators, so the machines stop. Then, after 20 minutes, if the power hasn’t returned, the staff hand crank the blood in each machine back into the body of each person. Then the staff de-cannulate each person and send them home. Herman said that hasn’t happened much, although the power goes off frequently for a few minutes.

I heard later that Shayna’s skating party up in north Austin was flooded out. When the girls got to the skating rink it was all dark and the skaters were hanging out in the parking lot (including Y. Cheryl's daughter). Luck
ily Liz was able to find another skate arena that had an opening for a party so they just carted the seven girls over to the other skating rink and carried on. Most of the girls came to our house for a slumber party afterwards, clearing the living room of furniture and watching movies until Liz pulled the party plug at 1 a.m. What a busy day... and, so it goes.

Notes: In at 73.8 Kg. and out at 71.9 Kg.

* Rich, T. R. (2005) Rosh Hashanah. Retrieved September 21 from the Judaism 101 website; online at http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm


57) French Fried Pigeon Holes

September 21, 2006

El Milagro:
Diane stuck me today. I dozed and woke up before the news. One of the staff walked by and mentioned, “The collective is coming”. Of course, I had already seen them: Dr. Moritz, Ron the Nurse, and Jennifer the Dietician making their rounds. Moritz was smiling a lot and seemingly joking with his patients while Ron and Jennifer stood on either side of him, like lieutenants waiting for orders.

When they got to me, I leaned forward and shook Moritz’s hand and said something like “how ya doing big boy.”, to which he replied, “fine, how about you?”. Jennifer the Dietician reported on my last lab work, concluding that my phosphorous is coming down, etc. Dr. Moritz said, “Good. Stay the course.”, or maybe just nodded his head… I can’t remember which. I told them I was responsible for my potassium going up by cheating on French fries and J the D said, “It’s not that high” and then cautioned me that French fries also have phosphorous. Moritz just frowned and shook his head.

I only got to see half of Survivor tonight but I knew the heavy metal guy was doomed from the start. Is that a sign? In his little speech after being voted off, he said, “I would’ve done better if there was a heavy metal (cultural) group” and that got me to thinking… when an external entity selects your “culture” for you they usually do it on different variables than those upon which you would self-select yourself. The lesson here is to ask and listen to how people describe their culture rather than pigeon-hole them by your own definitions. And that’s the way I see it.

Notes: In at 73.6 Kg. and out at 71.8 Kg.


56) Chips & Fries, Oh No No No

September 19, 2006

El Milagro:
Canoodled by Chris today. I dozed off for a nap and when I awoke, my lab report was on my tray, with a note from Jennifer the Dietician saying we can talk about it later because she didn’t want to wake me up. Noticed my phosphorous is still high but coming down, and my potassium is creeping up again.

I must admit, since I have been on dialysis, my potassium numbers have been so good that I have allowed some French fries and potato chips into my system from time to time. At first it was just one or two off someone’s plate. But slowly it became more than one or two… until it was five or six and then maybe a small bag of potato chips. I was watching the numbers and they stayed low so I just began to forget about not eating potatoes. Well, this time my potassium number was just over the acceptable, so I have to back off the potato chips and fries again. Damn!

Notes: In at 75.5 Kg. and out at 72.5Kg.


55) We Walked for PKD

September 16, 2006

Liz, Shayna, and I joined about 80 other people at Town Lake this morning to Walk for PKD*. I am surprised that Liz and Shayna actually got me down there… I am not the “walk for a cure” type cowboy. But when I got there (maybe about 20 minutes into it) I was happy I had shown up. There were plenty of PKD Families and some people whose fistulas I could see. We stood around for some time “gathering” and then a big guy talked about some facts about PKD ("only about half the people who have PKD know it, and only 1 person out of 1000 has even heard about it") and then a little woman who is a national poobah talked about how wonderful the turnout is and what good work the foundation is doing. Connie the Nurse and another of Moritz’s staff were there to support the walk. Connie said this is her third walk and I said I was surprised I am here. Then we all got behind a line and took off, walking east down the bike path. Shayna and some kids ran ahead out of sight and we never saw hide-nor-hair of her until we got back. She reported later she was second getting back… very competitive of her.

So we’re walking along and every so often there’s a little white and turquoise sign about PKD facts, like Burma shave signs. Lizzie, for the first time ever, is outpacing me in walking and I have to ask her to slow down once in awhile. I’m thinking it is a nice thing to walk with your main squeeze down a path, just taking in the sights and talking. Soon we come upon a commotion and someone has discovered a water moccasin along the left side of the path. Kids are excited and every adult cautiously walks by telling the kids things like “that snake’s poisonous! Leave it alone!”. We begin to wonder where Shayna is. When we get to the end of the path the group goes all woogly wiggly and dispurses in several different veins, not really knowing the route of turning around. Liz and I walk around a softball field with girls playing, looking for Shayna. Then we head back and by the time we get back we finally see Shayna waiting at the end, excited to tell us she was second. Cold water and standing around ensue and more speeches and Liz buys me a PKD hat. Shayna is thinking about taking PKD on as her Bat Mitzvah project and I think that’ld be cool. We drive outa there and head over to Maria’s Tacos for breakfast tacos.

El Milagro: I got in today at NOON. Chris cannulated me today and the return needle was painful most of the time I was being dialated: even upon dis-cannulation, it burned… so, who knows what that was all about… but I’d just as soon not do it again. I looks like staff are getting used to using the computers rather than the clip board sheets. All seems fairly quiet today. There is some guy here today who must be having painful cramps because every once in awhile he yells out “Owwww”.

I watch several football games at once, mostly enjoying Michigan creaming Notre Dame, while rethinking the morning walk. I should get more involved with this PKD thing, me thinks. I was re-surprised this morning about how PKD is so grossly under-funded compared to less prevalent diseases.

“PKD is the most common, life-threatening genetic disease, affecting more than 60,000 Americans… more people than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, down syndrome, and sickle cell anemia combined.”** Think about that!

Notes: In at 73.0 Kg. and out at 71.8 Kg.

*Walk for PKD (2006) Retrieved Sept. 16 from the PKD Cure website at http://www.pkdcure.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pkdwlk_homepage
**Learning About Polycystic Kidney Disease. (2006) Retrieved Sept. 16 from the PKD Cure website at

54) Goodbye Ann Richards

September 14, 2006

El Milagro:
I got to the center almost 15 minutes early today and of course… they were about 30 minutes late, so I got to wait in the waiting room with all the other waiters, who were griping about why we were all late. We all knew why the staff is late: it’s the fault of the new streamlining computerization of the clip board sheets (See post #53). When I finally get in, Carol cannulates me and we commensurate about Ann Richards’ passing. On the news,
Ron Oliveira and Judy Maggio spend a whole half hour special on Ann Richards and her importance to Texas*. Ann opened the doors for minorities in state government, appointing more women, African Americans, and Hispanics than all the previous governors combined. She was a model of the common woman entering politics and rising to the top job. She was a true populist Democrat and she will be missed by all of us who believe in government by the people, of the people, and for the people. Ann was truly reachable and everyone who met her felt an immediate bond. I remember that Lizzie told me once about meeting Ann on a Southwest flight to Dallas. Ann sat across the isle and talked to Liz and her sister at length about planning Jennifer’s wedding. Her advice, based on planning weddings for her own children, was “Elope!”.

One of Dr. Moritz’s minions, with Ron the Nurse and Jennifer the Dietician, came by rolling the rack of 4-inch thick blue patient binders to ask if I needed anything and we talked for a few minutes. I asked for a long-term prescription for Phoslo and asked J the D about my recent lab results: they are better but not great she reminds me about tracking my BP in the mornings. Ah yes, I must do that.

Also, since I got in so late, I get to watch the whole new Survivor before I get unhooked. This new season in the Cook Islands has raised some people’s ire because the show has teamed survivors by cultural/racial identity: African Americans, Latinos, Whites, and Asians. I wonder about how big a percentage of the whites are white, since many have a splattering of other racial genetic histories. The first episode is interesting enough, with each of the cultural groups asking the question, “Is this a good idea and can we work together to win?” We’ll see what the Nielsens say.

In thinking about death and life I remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s saying, “Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

Notes: In at 73.3 Kg. and out at 70.5 Kg.
* KEYE Slide Shows (2006) Retrieved Sept. 16 from


53) Computer Upgrades

September 12, 2006

El Milagro:
I was early getting here today and, as you might guess, they were 30 minutes late getting me into my chair. The staff has started their training on the computer stations that are situated between each dialysis machine so they must do their jobs while the IT people are going over using the computers with staff one at a time. With these new stations, the staff will eventually be able to data enter all the info they usually write on a piece of paper that goes into each patient’s chart. Now these pages are on clipboards on top of each dialysis machine. So, as staff are orienting to the new computers, everything else is slow as molasses.

Boris cannulated me today. He’s the guy who did me the other day, but I didn’t know his name then. He’s slick at sticking people… although he seems a bit ADD. He kept forgetting things and had to go back and forth to the center island for supplies a couple times. By the time I was cannulated and set up, I was 40 minutes late, meaning I won’t get out of here until after 8 tonight. At least this gives me time to watch all of NOVA, which is about global dimming tonight. Very interesting and scary stuff, this dimming is.

They say Thursday will be even slower, so my plan is to call at 3 and ask if they’re ready for me.

Notes: In at 75.3 Kg. and out at 71.6 Kg.


52) Red Corpuscles Marching As To Bathe

September 9, 2006

Saturday Morning:
My 10-year-old's first soccer game of the new season and she already won her first dollar! When Shayna scores I give her a dollar, and she scored the tieing goal this morning, making it 3 to 3. Her team, the Kick Kats went on to win 6 to 3 over the Lava Jets. “Go Kick Kats!”

El Milagro: Got in at noon today, which means I’ll get out at 4. Matt cannulated me today. Sandra w
ho says “Help” is in the chair right in front of me, laying sideways in the chair like a teenager. She is saying an audible “help” every few minutes, whenever she thinks about it. Throughout the afternoon various staff try to pacify her. Matt tries to be nice and Wilma tries the stern approach. Both ask Sandra at some point what she wants. “Jewelry” she responds. “Jewelry? You give me some, or I give you some?” Matt asks. She says, clear as a bell, “You give me some.” So he cuts a wrist-ring off a glove and slips it over her wrist, calling it jewelry. That mollifies her for about 5 minutes and then we hear her “help” again.

Connie the Nurse from Moritz’s office is moonlighting here today, and reports that the doc’s office has had to add another doc because they are so busy with patients in the hospital. She reports that she
still reads this blog every day at lunch (YEA Connie!) Debbie the Tech and I talk briefly about James Avery charm bracelets when I see her wearing one.

Today I am spending some time meditating so I can write about it. Yesterday I was talking to my friend Melissa and she asked if I ever meditated at dialysis, to which I replied that I occasionally did… but I haven’t normally described here my meditations in these posts. They range from breath work to visualizations. Breath work is
n’t that interesting to describe but my visualizations might be. I have earlier described various meditations in Posts # 2 and # 9 in April and Post # 38 (Friday) in August.

Sometimes I spend time picturing my little army of red corpuscles (erythrocytes)* marching out of my arterial vein into the dialysis machine to be cleaned. They’re like Dorothy and her crew getting cleaned up in the Emerald City, except they’re a whole army of little guys that look like red Werner’s caramels. These dirty, muddy, splotch
y little corpuscles and their officers (in their little white helmets) float-march up a stream of plasma, from my arterial vein through the translucent tube into the dialysis machine. There’s about 96% reds and 3% whites and 1% generals (the platelets). Somewhere in the confines of that aluminum box with dials and gauges they are being scrubbed, filtered, and inspected, Then out they come, swimming like the beauties in Esther Williams’ water ballet, back into my body all sparkly clean and with a gleam glinting from their brilliant white teeth. They’re again ready to chomp into the many toxins they gobble. That’s the way it seems to me.

Notes: In at 73.3 Kg. and out at 70.5 Kg.

*“Blood” Retrieved September 9 online from Wikipedia
New readers: See an orientation to this blog at Post # 47 in August.


51) The Phosphorous Report II

September 7, 2006

El Milagro:
I had to wait about 30 minutes to get my chair today. Melanie (a relief, or part time worker whose been doing this for 17 years) cannulated me today. I conferred with Jennifer the Dietician today about my last lab work. She reported that my phosphorous is down to 6.1 which is good, but not good enough (it should be at 5.5 or less). My calcium count is good. Also, my PTH intact (the most important regulator of body calcium and phosphorus, is a protein hormone secreted by the parathyroid gland.*) is still very high at 893 (controlled by the Sensipar). Normal is 300. We agreed that I should continue taking 3 PhosLo and 5 Renagel at each meal and two Sensipar after dinner until my next lab, next Tuesday.**

Also, we discussed my sporadic nauseousness in the mornings and she is thinking that I should be checking my blood pressure in the mornings because the nausea probably isn’t related to the PhosLo or Renagel but might be in response to discontinuing my nightly BP medicine. So, I’m back to checking and recording BP for awhile. It’s always gonna be something.

Notes: In at 73.6 Kg. and out at 71.4 Kg. (157 lbs).

New readers: see an orientation to this blog at Post # 47 in August.
* Juan, D. (2006) PTH. Retrieved September 7 online from Medline Plus at
** See Post # 34 in April for more on phosphorous


50) WOW: Post # 50!

September 5, 2006

El Milagro:
I weighed in at 75.5 Kg. today… that’s 166.4 pounds! I really ate too much this past holiday weekend, or I really pushed my kidneys since Saturday… I’m not sure which. And, I broke my “enchilada boycott” by eating about 10 chile rellenos (which also have cheese). I couldn’t help it… I am a weak person when it comes to fresh chile rellenos. I took plenty of binders, so we’ll see if my phosphorous count goes up or if the binders did any good. I haven’t seen a phosphorous count since I added 3 PhosLo* caps at each meal about a month ago, even though Drugs.com recommends checking the serum calcium level bi-weekly. One of the adverse reactions is increased nausea, which I have had some of in the mid-mornings. I have been assuming it is coffee on an empty stomach, but perhaps it is the PhosLo. I will have to discuss this with Jennifer the Dietician. According to the web ref, “More severe hypercalcemia is associated with confusion, delirium, stupor and coma.”, so I hope I don’t get that! My brain is already fuzzy enough, thank you.

So, a tech whose name I don’t know cannulated me today and did an okay job. However, the machine was touchy and he couldn’t get it to stop warning him there might be air bubbles in the line. He assured me all was okay, and finally got things running smoothly.

The highlight of the session was watching the new CBS News with Katie Couric. Well, she’s no Dan Rather. She’s no Walter Cronkite either. In fact, she is just like Katie Couric and I’m afraid the CBS News is gonna be just another ‘news magazine’. But the hype worked: according to Market Watch, the show was the “highest-rated "CBS Evening News" broadcast since Feb. 23, 1998”** From my perspective, laying back in my dialysis chair, I am thinking it is watered down news aimed at an audience of people who need the news explained to them. Katie seems to want to bring the viewer into the broadcast and be the expert… a very post-modern approach that opinionizes the formerly ‘objective’ news. Well, we all know that there hasn’t been objective news for years, but to ask the public what they think takes it a bit too far, in my estimation. She is cutsie and I expect that’s what the big wigs at CBS want. They seem to be still reeling from ousting Dan and trying to look new and different. When they got rid of Dan, I started watching ABC and mostly PBS’s
Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I doubt if Katie Couric will bring me back to CBS, but I am curiously watching for a few days to see what she’s got.

Notes: In at 75.5 Kg. and out at 70.7 Kg. (156 lbs)
* PDR drug information for PhosLo tablets (2006) Retrieved online 9/6/06 from Drugs.com at
** Wilkerson, D. (2006) Couric takes top spot in overnight ratings. Retrieved online 9/6/06 from Market Watch News,


49) A Bit of Hell

September 2, 2006

El Milagro:
For the first time since I started, I couldn’t get in one bit early today, so I started at 3 pm. When I walked up to the door today, a guy that I see who is fairly new was standing outside smoking a cigarette. I said “Hi” and he said something like “Ready for a bit of Hell?” That comment took me back a bit, but I just replied, “Yeah, another day, another dollar”, or something like that. Later, after the brief pain of being poked, I sat there thinking about that little interaction.

I suppose, for some people, dialysis is a ‘bit of Hell’. There are people in dialysis who moan (aside from the woman who says “Help” and isn’t really in her right mind) and people who just have this attitude of despair about them. I recall again when I first met Amanda and she said, “Sorry to meet you this way”, not that I think Amanda has a negative attitude. There are however, many people at that place who think of themselves as ‘SICK’ and there are many people outside of that place who think of me as ‘sick’. They always get a very serious look on their face, lean forward so we have an intimate connection, and say something like, “So, how ARE you…. really?”. And I, of course, say something like “I’m still kicking”.

Back in El Paso, in high school in the early 60's, we used to have this label for a certain category of people who we called ‘shit kickers’. They were the guys who grew up on farms or ranches and wore their cowboy boots to school because that’s all the shoes they had. (My dialysis staff friends from Fabens will understand this part). And, there were also kicker wanna-be’s, who grew up in suburbia and got some boots and went down to the lower valley just looking for shit to kick. Membership in FFA usually separated the two groups. So, anyhow, when I say, “I’m still kickin’” I’m picturing myself in my fanciest boots, strolling along, kicking cow patties off to either side of the path. And that image is one of being alive in the most pungent way.

Or, sometimes I say, “I’m still alive” as a little bite, inferring that there is the chance I wouldn’t be. And, with some people, I just lean forward seriously and say something like, “I’m doin much better now that I run my blood thru that machine 12 hours a week.” And that’s more like the real serious truth. Dialysis does a good job of keeping me on the planet and I feel very fortunate that that piece of equipment exists in the post-modern world.

Dialysis is not really ‘a bit of Hell’ for me. It is as an opportunity for me to take a break from the crazy, busy world we live in these days. I have to go there and have to get the toxins sucked outa my blood, and there is no way around it. I have to do it. How I frame it can either be helpful to me or harmful to me, emotionally. I like to frame the whole experience as an opportunity to take a break. I heard on the news that Americans take less vacation than any of the other technologically advanced countries. While Americans average 10 days of vacation a year, the Japanese take 17, French 25, and Italians 20. On an average, Americans are entitled to 16 days a year, so they aren’t even using their quota. As we approach Labor Day, it is interesting to note that many Americans are workaholics. I know it would surprise my Dad, but I could be one. I end every fiscal year with more than a week of hours (60 this year) that I have worked more than my required time. Of course, that is a figment of my imagination, because as a “salaried” employee I have to work until the job is done, no matter how many hours it takes. It always takes longer than a 40 hour week. The guy on the news segment last night works about 18 hours a day, every day… so, he is in much worse shape than I. But the point is this: we all work too much. My dialysis is forcing me to take a break. I should be happy, no? My dialysis gives me time for reading, watching cable TV (Discovery Channel, etc.), nap time, and ‘down’ time. And that's a good thing! Aside from the fact that I have to do it. It's all about HOW you do it that counts. And that’s the way I see it.

Notes: In at 72.4 Kg. and out at 71.2 Kg.

Later (9/4): A special thanks to Margo for leaning over on the porch last night and saying "How are you, really?" and having the conversation with me about attitudes and frames which was teleported in time to this earlier post.


48) Tuesday Thursday Report

August 31, 2006

El Milagro:
Diane cannulated me. I am reading Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro and it is quite slow on the take, but Kim’s David recommended it so I am trudging into it. I am almost looking for distractions from my reading and see Jennifer the Dietician walking by on her way to consult with someone else and I call her over. She says, “I hope your new blood work looks better. Keep
our fingers crossed” and I reply that I plan to break all my rules this weekend and eat chile rellenos at my annual chile roast, explaining that we roast about 40 lbs. of green chiles and freeze them for the year. Like canning, but with chiles. Then, we take the nicest ones and cook up about 60 chile rellenos and have a relleno feast. So, then we talk about chile rellenos because she knows nothing about them, being from Louisiana. She imagines that chile rellenos is some sort of dip that we put chips into. I clarify for her exactly what a chile roast is, and what a relleno is.

So, then she says, well you better take your binders and I say I’m taking them all the time; 5 renagel and 3 phoslo… and then she says “8 at a time?” Turns out she meant I should be taking 5 total, not 5 + 3… so I better have a better phosphorus count since I’m taking 3 more binders than she meant for me to take. We’ll see my new blood results next Tuesday. They are off schedule because of the hurricane in Florida. What? “Yes”, she says, “They send our blood to Florida to a lab…” and then she adds almost apologetically, “I know nothing about the lab business.

Later I watch the news, take a nap, and read another few pages of Ishiguro. So it goes.

Notes: In at 74.1 Kg. and out at 71.4 Kg.

August 29, 2006

El Milagro:
Carol cannulated me. My BP was high all through the session…. Moritz stopped by and asked about my BP, to which I responded that today is unusual. I took a nap. At the end of my session I noticed Amanda was there but we didn’t talk. I wonder if she has read these posts and how they mesh with her experiences here. Aside from staff, she is the only patient whom I’ve shared this blog with and it will be interesting to discuss it with her at some point. Maybe she’ll come out of lurkdom and make a comment.

Notes: In at 72.7 Kg. and out at 70.9 Kg.