349) Of Gaffes & Grub

March 23, 2009

Home: I recommend not missing any lab appointments because it becomes a level 3 procedural faux pas... ratcheting things up to the "Generalized Peter Principle" ("anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails.") Actually I may be over-stating the case of the events that occurred on Saturday and Monday, but let me list them and you be the judge:
  1. Jack & Liz miss their 7:30 am Saturday Lab appointment at S. Austin Hospital (OUR FAULT CLEARLY)
  2. As we were told, Liz called the Transplant Team because we missed the appointment: leaving a message for Bernadette and Kim (on call) and was told by the operator that they wouldn't call anyone unless it is an emergency. We waited around for a call back and figured it must not be that big a deal... and we predicted we'd get a call bright and early Monday morning.
  3. Bernadette calls this morning and talks to Liz and tells her they should have called us back Saturday and if this happens in the future, we should call THEM back in 30 minutes and bug them. Also, that our appointment was supposed to be for Friday, but later changed to Saturday at our clinic meeting. She says to go over there right now and she'll FAX the orders, but we should also take the order we have just in case.
  4. We rushed over and found out we had to register again at the hospital. We ask, "Will this happen every time, twice a week?" ...and the registrar says "Oh yes that is the procedure". We shared with her that the last time we were told we only had to register once, and this registrar just smiled and shook her head. Also, the last registrar registered us in about 10 minutes, since the Lab is being paid out of Liz's insurance. This registrar asked a ton more questions, saying they were part of the Medicare requirements. We replied that the lab was covered under the insurance, and she replied, "doesn't matter, we have to get all of this info every time. Sorry." So, instead of 10 minutes this whole process took about 30 minutes...
  5. ... which put us 15 minutes past my meds time at 8:00 a.m. Liz reminded me I HAVE to get blood work B4 I take the meds anyway, so today I'll have to be late. My brain is going nuts by this time.... "I MUST TAKE MEDS NOW! MUST NOT BE LATE! ARGGGGGH" it is yelling inside my head, not improving my disposition. Liz makes apologies for my 61- year-old-couldn't-care-less what people think of my grouchiness.
  6. We rush over to the Express Lab and Peggy is there and she is so nice it helps me chill out a little. Takes all the blood needed and wishes me a good day. "Do you need a urine sample?" "Not this time." "OH. Well, can I have one of those little pee bottles... I have to go and need to know... how much I pee for my data entry." And of course, keeping with today's comedy of errors, the little bottle doesn't have milliliters marked on it so I have to take the sample home with me... you can guess the rest.
  7. We rush home where I gobble graham crackers crazily and pop my meds at 9:00 am... an hour late (is that reportable to Bernadette?) and we figure that means we take tonight's at 9, right? The I do my BP and Temp late....
So, what a start to the day! Haven't I said this before. Oh yeah... on Saturday!

2:00 PM: I receive and email back from Bernadette and she says: 1) Take meds tonight at 8:30 pm, and 2) She has emailed the Supervisor in registration to see what the problem is.

Switching Gears: About my new diet... since coming home I have tried to stick around the edges of a Heart Healthy Diet So, for the time being I am celebrating by eating small portions of all the foods I have missed while being on dialysis: as follows,

Jack's Famous Spaghetti Sauce~~~~~Cheerios with Bananas~~~~~Guacamole & Chips
Pistachio Nuts~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Raisin Bran~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oranges
Red Potatoes~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Baked Potatoes~~~~~~~~~~~Enchiladas
Frijoles & Boracho Beans~~~~~~~~~~Nuts of Any Sort~~~~~~~~~~~Quesadillas
Grilled Cheese & Chile Sandwich~~~Nachos~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Tomatoes
Whole Grain Rye Bread~~~~~~~~~~~~Milk~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Broccoli

From the perspective of a Dialysis Person, this list is like the Devil's Curse... and yet now, just one week PT (post transplant) all those little Devil guys on my shoulder like in the cartoon have become angel guys. And the angel guys whispering "No, No, No, Musn't Touch!!" have changed shoulders and their tune... now they say "Remember your heart... don't overdo it." I like this message much better, cause the first one is always the voice of my mother... Ycch. It is really an amazing thing, brain wise. I almost feel guilty eating what I want, after those years of forgoing what I want.

To those of you readers out there who are still on dialysis and on the 'waiting list', just think about how it will be when the renal diet tethers are cut? Imagine how you will run around like a kid in a candy store... and just imagine how you will enjoy those foods you remember. Yes, they do taste even BETTER than you recall! You will be so happy! And yet... you will have new dietary requirements which you might not agree with either. For me, the new "No No's" are as follows:

< 1.1 C coffee a day~~~~~Limit red meat~~~~~~
~~~~~~No chocolate
Cut Sweets drastically~~~~2-3 Egg Yolks per week~~~~
Limit fats severely
Low fat sour cream~~~~~~~Low fat cream cheese~~~~~One cup of coffee!

Here's a little cheer I wrote to celebrate my dietary changes:

No more watching phos-phor-ous
no more "No potass-i-um"
milkshakes, nuts, and na-chos
yummy, yum, yum, yum, yum

And so it goes on a Monday... Lizzie back to work, and Shayna back to school, and Jak's Home Alone!

Note: Call from Bernadette to Liz at night. Bernadette reports that today's Labs looked like last week's... and that is GOOD!


Kate Holub said...

Hi Jack,
I was so glad to hear about your transplant. We couldn't be happier for you! I certainly enjoyed our visits. Please keep us posted on how your doing, we will miss you but are so happy for you and your family. All the best to you.
Kate (the NP not PA ;) )

Jack Nowicki said...

Kate the Nurse Practitioner ~ Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really enjoyed our visits too! I am missing all the folks at El Milagro... will come to visit as soon as I can. Keep up your good work... you are a devoted, well-informed, gentle NP, with an excellent bed-side manner. Really.

Do Good in the World! JN

Anonymous said...

It's great to hear from you and I am over-joyed that all is well. I have been checking in (got updates from Mitch, Steve, and Faith). I must admit that your blog is the FIRST EVER THAT I HAVE READ (and that means a lot)! I have enjoyed it so much, actually too much since I get so caught up in it that I am unaware of the time.

I am praying for you all! Share my love with Liz! I am sure there are pros and cons to her being back at work.


Jack Nowicki said...

LeShawn ~ I will accept ALL prayers. Thanks for checking out the blog. I miss you at board meetings! Jack