190) Saturday of Cramps

December 1, 2007

El Milagro: So I am able to get in today at 1 pm in order to get out early for Steve’s Annual X-mas Party. Kim the Nurse assesses me, does my BP and sticks me. I am listening to Folkways on the radio, and so not paying close attention to her doings. She asks if I want to take off blah blah and I agree. When I am all hooked up she moves on and I settle in to my session.

Today I am reviewing LeShawn’s contribution to our writing assignment (more on this later) while listening to Folkways and Kevin Connor’s selection of music: laid back, mellow, and not-so-on-the-tip-of-your-brain artists, including Phil Ochs, Maggie Walters*, David Olney**, Mark O’connor****, and Cornell Hurd Band*****.

So, I’m listening listening listening, and glancing up at the TV too, keeping some track of the Tennessee / LSU game (poosh poosh poosh)… waiting for the Big XII big game tonight.

At about 4:15 both my calves start cramping and I am wiggling around trying to make these cramps go away or at least deminish a bit. I try moving my legs, bending them at the knee and then stretching them out… until I can no longer even move them. I call Rosie the Tech over and she decides to lower my goal a little. We set up my chair so I can put my feet on the floor and push, which also helps cramps sometimes. My calves de-cramp (about 4:15) and I settle back again and think about the difference between pain and no-pain.

When pain is there it is almost impossible to ignore it, although I 'understand' (as Bush would say) the idea of separating consciousness from pain thru meditation or focused awareness. And, I can in some ways just refuse to be bothered by the cramps… and when they really come on despite my refusal of acceptance, at some point the cramps’ calling my attention overwhelms my ability to ignore, overwhelms my West Texas gritting of man-teeth, and overwhelms my Eastern-leaning focused awareness on nada. Then I wiggle and wane and waffle and wimper… and call for the nurses three.

At 4:30 it starts again… this time in my right thigh first. I stretch out my right leg so I look like I am reaching for a pirouette. My foot is trying to escape my leg out under the sink to the right of my chair. I wince and Carol the Tech, Rosie the Tech, and Monica the Nurse all come over and discuss, in abstract dis-compassion my current situation. I hear them as if they are a small TV screen off to my left. Carol says, “when I saw that Kim had him taking off 5 I knew it was too much. I never have him take off more than 3.” Rosie responds, “I think his puffy self is gaining weight… he shouldn’t be cramping unless he gained some weight… blah blah…” and Monica chimes in with reflections on her notions about Jack’s cramps. All the while I am stretching and cringing and trying to ignore the beginnings of cramps in my left thigh, which is wanting in on the excitement. So, Rosie does some quick math on the clip board of my “plan” and shows me her figures, reporting, “You came in at Gauguin and we set the freebird as the what-cha dingle and see? There is the culprit right there in the subtraction of the parameters of Frankenheim! So, what we clearly have to do is cut off your legs and offer them up to Alah!

Actually her report is more full of numbers but no matter… I can’t listen rationally anyway. She concludes that my weight has probably gone up about 7 pounds due to holiday feasting, which makes me cramp when they take off any more than 3.4 kgs. Here I am cramping with more than an hour left in my session, which clearly indicates Kim set too high a goal. We need to up my dry weight and plan to take off less in dialysis. She smiles at the end of her report, saying, “So there ya go, Puffy!” and I smile weakly. They turn me off (on the machine) and I rest and feel slightly faint. The faintness is the conclusion of cramps… when your blood pressure drops. It drops only to about 108 over 70 something, so that’s not too bad.

By 5 o’clock all is back to normal and I drift along through the rest of my session uneventfully. So it goes.

I can hardly wait to get outa here, rush home to get the girls, and head up north to Steve’s party.

Notes: In at 75.8 and out at 72.3
* Maggie Walters’ new CD online at: www.americanarecords.com/ images/MAGGIE_WALTERS_ONE_SHEET.pdf
** David Olney online at: http://www.davidolney.com/
*** Mark O’connor online at: http://www.markoconnor.com/
****Cornell Hurd Band online at: http://www.cornellhurdband.com/

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