179) Fire Drill @ El MIlagro

October 18, 2007

El Milagro: Checked in for “TV night”, ready to sit back, relax, and watch some tube (Survivor & Gray’s Anatomy). Dr. Rowder came by to do his weekly check. I’m fine; he’s fine; and everything is hunky dory. He reports that all my lab work looks good. Carol the Tech comes over to poke me and hook me up, and Phyllis the Nurse listens to my back and front and declares me “alive”. Then Jennifer the Dietician follows-up the doc with a paper copy of my labs, and goes over them test by test: Albumen, good; nPCR HD UKM (protein intake), good; HCT CALC (red blood cell count), good; Iron Saturation, good; Ferritin (stored iron), good; Calcium, good; Phosphorous, getting better (still recovering from Laredo); CAxPHOS Corrected (Ca x PH product), good; PHT Intact (parathyroid hormone), good; Potassium, good; KT/V UKM Delivered, good; and Glucose, good. Jennifer said that she’ll be out for a couple weeks in Louisiana getting married. We discussed Catholicism and Judaism for awhile and she moved on.

There’s a new guy across the way today (looks to be in his late 20’s, early 30’s) and the rumors are that he has been on dialysis since he was six months old! They say he’s had several failed transplants… and I think, “So, he must be really used to this routine… why has he changed to this facility?”

Since I might be involved in a conference call with the Patient Ambassador's group and Doggett’s office about the Kidney Care & Quality Education Act, I ask Phyllis to explain Epogen to me. She reports that they have me on a “maintenance” dosage of Epogen (4400 units). She said back when I was really anemic they started me with more and then scaled it back to the current dosage. She also said (again) that epogen has changed the landscape of dialysis; before epogen many of the patients who were anemic had to have transfussions in the center. Now that they use epogen, there are hardly any transfusions going on here. The dosage is figured on the formula of 100 units per kilogram of body weight.

Next we have a surprise fire drill! And it's not the Chinese variety. Suzanne the Administrator comes in from the back, ringing a school bell and yelling "Fire Drill!" No one does anything until the techs and nurses walk around explaining to people what we would do if it really was a fire. So, the routine is this:

1) Push the "Stop Pump" button on your machine;
2) Clamp off your arterial and venous lines to the machine;
3) Un hook the lines to the machine;
4) Say "Goodbye" to the blood your machine is holding, and
5) Evacuate the room (front half out the front, back half out the back).

The patients don't seem overly excited or even interested in this fire drill activity, although I think it is neat and fun. They should do fun things like this more often. I want to actually unhook myself and book out the back door, but Phyllis says, "NO Jack!" She also warns me that in a real situation, we don't stop to pump people's blood back into them. They just have to give it up in the name of efficient evacuation of the building. Oh well. A vampire would love a fire in the dialysis center... all that lushous blood sitting in those machines... yum yum.

<---[An interesting painting I found online today*]

Survivor is kind of boring tonight, except for the possibly 'racist' attempted sacrifice of James the Gravedigger... making him my favorite participant for this series. Will he make it another week? Only if Jeff juggles the teams again, I think.

Gray's is the usual fare of soap operaish dribble and foible. I don't know about it this season: it's almost too much to watch anymore. So it goes.

Notes: In at 74.8 and out at 72.8 kgs.
Grockel, A. ~ Celebration. Retrieved online from http://www.art.com/asp/sp-asp/_/PD--10220037/SP--A/IGID--1064921/Celebration.htm?sOrig=SCH&ui=9042A656AF19453DB559975ADFB82963
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