Howl At The Moon & Keep Me In Your Heart.

Today, I’ve been listening to a particular artist over and over. So, I’ve decided to do an artist spotlight on this person. His name is Warren Zevon.

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If you’ve ever heard this song, you probably recognize the opening riff.  If you thought it was Kid Rock, today is not your day. I’ve heard this song all my life thanks to my dad. For a long time, I couldn’t tell you the artist responsible for this song, but I always knew it and loved it.

When I was watching a movie a few years ago, I heard a song that really resonated with me. My Dad is currently in the midst of some major health issues. If you’ve read my beginning blog entries, you know a little about this. He’s been diabetic all his life but has recently developed issues with his eyes and has gone into renal failure. It’s hit me really hard, especially since he gets tired and tells us he just wants to go home…

This movie was “Funny people” with Jonah Hill and Adam Sandler. In the movie, Adam’s character, George, is a comedian (go figure) who learns he has an incurable disease and forms a genuine friendship with a green comedian, Ira (Jonah’s character). He also hires him for his assistant. He breaks down, begging George (Adam Sandler) to tell the public about his condition. What struck me about this is when Ira makes a playlist for him. The song that plays is called “Keep me in your heart for a while.” I googled it at once. Guess who wrote it?

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Yep. Warren Zevon. This song really struck me as it seems to be by someone who knows their life is ending and is trying to tell their family that it will be ok, just don’t forget them. My favorite line is “If I leave you, it doesn’t mean I love you any less.” This one hit home with me because I know that at any time, my dad can decide to stop dialysis. It won’t be because he doesn’t love my mom, me, or my brother, but simply because he is too tired to go on. It is a hard thing to handle, but hearing it made me realize we wouldn’t be the only family to face this.

Curious as to why he would write such a sad, serious song, I decided to do some research. Here’s what I learned. Warren knew he was dying when he wrote this song. It is the last song on the last album he ever released. It is his good bye to his family. In 2002, he was diagnosed with inoperable peritoneal mesothelioma. He refused chemo, not only because of his phobia of doctors, but because he was afraid it might incapacitate him. Instead, he began recording his last album.

VH1 got permission for Nick Read to get access to these studio sessions and more of Warren’s last days to make an (Inside)Out documentary about him.  It’s very insightful as to the type of person Warren was and his dark sense of humor that is present in his music. If you have time, I’d really suggest watching it. If you have someone in your family with a terminal illness, be advised it may pull at your heartstrings. You can find it here.

His songs aren’t all sad, though most of them were a little on the dark side, such as “Roland, the headless Thompson gunner.”  He also has a song called Mr. Bad Example, with a line I love: “I’m very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins. I keep a very busy schedule trying to fit them in.” He also wrote a great one called My Shit’s Fucked Up. He certainly wasn’t perfect and had addictions of his own, so much so that one of the Rolling Stones journalists ( Paul Nelson) staged an intervention for him.

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There are a lot of great songs by this man and I feel like he goes unappreciated. If you aren’t familiar with him, please take time to listen to at least the songs I have posted here. If you are vaguely familiar with him, watch the documentary or just google some more of his songs. With friends like Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, several members of the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Brian Setzer, David Gilmour, Hunter S. Thompson, Billy Bob Thorton, and David Letterman, how can he not be someone worth learning about?

In closing, I’ll leave you with this final quote from Warren. When David Letterman asked him if he had learned anything about being on the brink of death, he said he probably shouldn’t have waited 20 years to see a physician, and to “Enjoy every sandwich”. I think that’s a good motto for life, don’t you?

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Hello World!

Hello all. I know this blog has been all over the place since I started it and I apologize. I am new to this blogging thing and I have decided to join the current Blogging:101 course going on to not only learn more about blogging, but to hopefully find a focus for my blog.

Today’s assignment is to say hello to the world. For those of you who are new here, this will give you some insight into who I am and what I hope to accomplish. For those of you who aren’t new here and have popped by a few times, maybe this is a refresher for you.

I’m a quarter-lifer (mid twenties) lady who lives in the deep South. I love to bake. I grew up learning to cook from practically my whole family. My Dad taught me to make grilled cheese sandwiches when I couldn’t even see the stove top. He pulled up a chair for me to stand in, for those of you who are curious. My Mom has been teaching me to follow recipes and bake and decorate cakes for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me to make biscuits in the flour bowl (by making a depression in the center and adding your liquids, not as hard as it sounds), gravy, and the family secret chocolate pie.

I love reading and I learned to read before I started pre-k. My parents owned a business when my brother and I were little. and we stayed with baby sitters a lot, so I don’t know the exact time I learned to read. My Dad was tucking me in one night and decided to see if I could read any of the story. I read it all to him, but since it was my favorite, he tried a different book, which I also read to him. He loves to read and apparently I got that gene. I DEVOUR books like a monster. 300 pages take me one day if I don’t have anything to do.

I also grew up playing in grease. My Dad and his friends are shade tree mechanics from the 70’s and his passion for cars was also passed on to me. I can change a tire, oil, brakes, and more. I love classic cars. His passion fueled mine since he never told me that girls weren’t supposed to work on cars. Instead, he told me that I would need to do these things on my own so that I wouldn’t have to rely on sketchy strangers if I ever got a flat. I now work in the automotive field in a body shop. I am lucky to have my job because there are still many shops down here who aren’t too keen on hiring women. The shop I work for treats me like family.

I love to take road trips and ride motorcycles. My parents have always had a sense of wanderlust and it also got passed down. I’ve also been riding on the back of my Dad’s motorcycle since I can remember. I now ride on the back of my boyfriend’s bike but can’t wait to have my own.

I started this blog to chronicle a journey in my life and I feel like I got a little off track by posting a lot of quotes. I am not very good at expressing my feelings when I am down, so I use quotes. I have decided to try and post less of those on this blog. If there is still interest in the many quotes I have collected over the years, I will gladly start a blog just for those.

I will try to cover a range of topics, about my life experiences, travels, my Dad’s health, my new experience as moving out and being a first time home owner at the same time. I will try to throw in some DIY car tutorials, home ideas, and some recipes. If you’re lucky, I might even let you in on the Family Chocolate Pie Recipe. 😉

Welcome to the weirdness. Welcome to my slice of the internet. Welcome to See You Starside.

We’re All Mad Here.

Pretty sure I’m fighting off some serious depression. I mean, things aren’t nearly as bad as they could be but I honestly think it’s a result of feeling like we are taking one step forward and three steps back. Good news of the day: Dad should be able to start using his fistula Monday. The graft seems to be working. The bad news: One of the incisions from the surgery to (put in, originally) take out his PD catheter seems to be getting infected again… So the Doc immediately prescribed him Bactrim. Again. Hopefully this time it works. The last thing he, or his spirit, needs right now is another hospital stay…

I just want to feel like we are actually moving forwards for once. No more back sliding, no side stepping, just forward momentum. I don’t even really care how slowly it goes, as long as it doesn’t go backwards. I just want him to genuinely feel better, my mom to not feel so stressed, and things to start smoothing out to what will become our new normal.

Right now though, this house is about as far from normal as it gets. My dad is on dialysis (and we are adjusting to Hemo from PD), he’s also diabetic, my mom is in denial and works swing shifts, my brother and his wife (now, long story) still live here (still following Mom’s rule of her sleeping in the spare room, him on the living room couch), and I still live here. It’s over crowded to say the least and personalities and such are clashing like you would not believe. All I want is a small piece of land and a tiny house. A sanctuary in the woods that Honey and I can call home, and a life that is my own. But these days, even that seems too much to ask for.

So, I am trying for now to have a new outlook on things. I am trying to let go of any anger or grudges, realizing that there is pain underneath. I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that while someone hurts us and it stays with us, they do not always realize that they wounded us as deeply as they did. So I am trying to forgive because really, forgiveness has more to do with me than them. It takes all my time and energy, especially if they don’t feel or know that they did anything wrong.

“Don’t feel bad if people only remember you when they need you. Feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness.”

“She needs to have a few drinks and cry a little – then she’ll be perfect.” – Tom Ford

“Expecting a trouble-free life because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian.” – Jeffery R. Holland

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” – Erica Cook

“I have looked at you in millions of ways and I have loved you in each.”

“A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talked to each other instead of talk about each other.”

“Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” – Dave Willis

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

“I wear this crown of thorns upon my liar’s chair, full of broken thoughts I cannot repair. Beneath the stains of time, the feelings disappear. You are someone else, I am still right here. What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away in the end. And you could have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” – Hurt, Johnny Cash

“You take the breath right out of me, and left a hole where my heart should be.” – Breath  Breaking Benjamin

“Yeah, I could use a dream or a genie or a wish to go back to a time much simpler than this.” Airplanes,  B.O.B.

“She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart, while I’m drinking Jack all alone in the local bar. And we don’t know how, how we got into this mad situation, only doing things out of frustration, trying to make it work but man these times are hard.” – For the First Time The Script

“Meet me out past the train tracks, I’m leaving and not coming back. You were right and I was wrong, this town will be the downfall of us all.” The Downfall of Us All A Day to Remember

“I abide my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceive that this also was a chasing at the wind. For in much wisdom, is much grief. And he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.” – Assassin’s Creed

“None of us find as much kindness in this life as we should.” Memoirs of a Geisha

Fluster Cuck.

Because there’s really not another way to describe how the past month has been. Dad is out of the hospital. He had a vascular access put in under his right collar bone (temporary, and on his non-dominant side), which irritates him slightly because that collar bone was busted up in his wreck ten years ago. They also made the fistula in his right arm while he was in surgery. It’s supposed to go on your non-dominant forearm. However, his veins have a tendency to run or roll (I just picture a little vein jumping out of reach of the needle going “Please no! Not again! I’m scared of needles!” lol) so they put it in his upper right arm. 

Honey and I were at the hospital the day he got out of surgery ( a few hours later). A nurse came to check for the blood flow and couldn’t hear or feel it. They called the surgeon in who also couldn’t hear or feel it. They weren’t really worried about it at the time because of the staph infection. However, he went back two weeks  ago for an ultra sound and it was determined that there is a slight clot in the fistula. They scheduled him for surgery this past Thursday. He went back and they put in a graft to take the place of the vein. He has to go back in a few weeks. Fingers crossed that all goes well. 

He went to a foot doctor too and also found out that when he had his motorcycle wreck 10 years ago, the hospital ER only xrayed his leg above the ankle. They found his shattered leg, sent him to emergency surgery, put a rod in it and wrapped it in a cast. His foot bones were also shattered. So that means his foot wasn’t fixed and was then put into a cast. So all the bones are pretty much one solid mass. They don’t know how he’s been walking for the past ten years and they don’t know what to do about it. They don’t really want to do surgery if they don’t know it will fix it. So they ordered him special shoes to help.

I feel so bad for him. It seems to just be one thing after another and I know he’s tired…

 

On to quotes.

“and there were always those nights where she preferred the rain over people. because the rain would remind her of how she should feel and people would remind her of the things she always wanted to forget.’ – r.m. drake

“to me, you’ll always be thunderstorms and cloudy night skies, the reasons why the moons glow and the suns rise.” – tyler kent white

“I was your cure, and you were my disease. I was saving you, but you were killing me.”

“You can’t change what you refuse to confront.”

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.” – Elizabeth Elliot

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chodron

” I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that deep within you don’t know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten.” – Eckhart Tolle

“People too often forget that it is your own choice how you want to spend the rest of your life.”

“I’ll throw my voice into the stars and maybe the echo of my words will be written for you in the clouds by sunrise. All I am trying to say is: I will love you through the darkness.”  – Christopher Poindexter

“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Everybody does not have to like you. That is not their job. Liking you is not anyone’s purpose in life except yours.” – Iuanla Vanzant

“Some people cross your path and change your whole direction.”

“The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the  mind.”

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” – David G. Allen

“because if you can keep hope alive, it will keep you alive.”

“but in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.” – Samwise Gamgee LOTR: the Two Towers

“People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.” – Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.” – Libba Bray

“We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing clouds.” – Libba Bray

“Sometimes we sweek that which we are not yet ready to find.” Libba Bray, Rebel Souls

“These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It’s probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.” – Libba Bray, Going Bovine

 

     This post has been rolling around in my mind for a full 24 hours now. I have yet to write it and I am still finding it difficult. I’m not sure if I just don’t feel like sharing the information or if I am not ready to share it yet, but I’m going to anyways. In the wake of all the other hurricanes that have hit shore, it’s like waiting for the flood waters to recede. And then it starts to rain. “Once you know certain things, you can’t unknow them. It’s a burden that can’t be given away.” Even by sharing this with my mom, brother, boyfriend, best friend, and you, the burden is still there. 

     My father went to the optometrist Friday morning. He has been having blurred vision and “floaters”, as he describes them, for several weeks now. He didn’t go sooner because he was waiting for the insurance from Medicaid (Medicare? See, I told you I still can’t remember which) to kick in before he went because paying for everything else without it has left our budget less than thin. He didn’t have an appointment, he just went. We know this office because he has been there before.

     About a year or two before we found out about his kidneys, my father was what could be considered legally blind. He had cataracts developing on both of his lenses. We (my mom and I) didn’t realize how bad it was until he sat down and told us one day. He was riding his motorcycle to work, and couldn’t even tell what color the redlights were. He just followed traffic. This terrified me. He was at risk for losing his job because he couldn’t see to read the print outs or screen. He was severely depressed. He couldn’t really do anything he loved anymore, including reading.

     We didn’t have insurance and, as now, we had very little money. We didn’t know what to do. He went to the health center, who said they couldn’t help him. He went to DFACS to try and see if they could help. They told him that there was nothing he could do. He could apply for disability but wouldn’t get it unless he quit his job, and he really didn’t want to quit. My mom did research online and scheduled an appointment and made him go. This appointment was with the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation. They are a team of doctors, nurses, and volunteers who specialize in hearing and vision. They are spectacular.

     They set my father up with a doctor at Professional Eye Associates, and took care of the cost of his cataract surgeries. There are still no words that I can write that truly convey what a miracle this was for my father and for my family. My parents pride themselves on not having to have help, so it was embarrassing and difficult for them to have to ask for help. However, I don’t know how we would have made it without them. Much like their name, the Lighthouse was a beacon of light and hope for us in a dark and weary world.

     I promise there is a reason for me telling you this. I felt this back story necessary.

     Back to Friday at the optometrist. He was told that he has blood behind both of his eyes, and they referred him to the doctor (in their other office) who preformed his cataract surgeries. His appointment was scheduled for Monday morning. He had to go to the Dialysis center later that day as well. He found out that his  red blood cells are extremely low, which his nephrologist cites as the reason for low energy and difficulty breathing. Basically, low red blood cells equals not enough oxygen anywhere. He also found out that is iron is still low, his protein is still low, his phosphorus is fine, and his potassium is slightly high. They gave him a TB test and scheduled him to return Monday.

     Yesterday morning, he went to the optometrist. The diagnosis was not good. The retina in his right eye is completely detached. It requires surgery asap in the effort to restore any amount of vision in this eye. They are not sure if he will ever regain vision in it, and fairly certain he will not regain full vision in it even with surgery. The left one has blood behind it and will require surgery as well. They are (understandably) not nearly as concerned with the left as they are with the right. My mom says they seem certain that these problems stem from years of uncontrolled (or, not controlled as much as it should be) diabetes and blood pressure. His surgery has been scheduled for the 19th in Chattanooga. On the plus side, the cataract surgery has healed well and still looks good, per the surgeon.

     The news from the Dialysis center was much better by comparison. They gave him several shots to up his blood cells and iron, and said that in a few days he should start to feel better. They also upped the amount of fluid and cycle time per night on his machine in the hopes of pulling out the excess fluid that has started to return. All we can do is hope.

     My mother, bless her heart, is in the midst of a downward spiral of depression and denial. This is bad, in more ways than one. I fear that if something happens to Dad, she will completely shut down and give up on living. Right now, it’s bad because I really need her help.  I cannot run this household alone. I literally get up, go to work, come home, get in the car, go with Honey to his house (so he can shower and such, which takes at least an hour or two), go to the grocery store, go home, cook, sit for an hour or two trying to relax, tell Honey goodnight, go to bed, repeat. It is super exhausting. 

     I am a naturally introverted person. It takes a lot out of me being the singular support for multiple people. I am holding everyone else’s world together, and trying to keep mine from falling apart. I have no time to recharge my batteries. Even on the weekends, Honey wants to go out and do things. And that’s fine, but as I said, I’m an introvert and it takes a lot out of me to be around people all the fucking time like that. My vacation from work is split between Fridays going to motorcycle rallies instead of having an actual fucking vacation. I am trying so hard not to crack.

     I apologize. But I have to let it out in little bits of steam before it destroys me. I have tried my best to remind myself that I do all of this because there is no other choice. Making dinner and trying to keep the house clean is all I know to do to try and help my Dad, so that’s what I do.

     “Life is a grindstone, and whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on the stuff he’s made of.” – J. Billings.

First post from a tablet!

Yay for advancing technology! In some ways. This post is bittersweet. I am posting from my tablet because my laptop has temporarily abandoned me. :(. On to an update.

My dad has added two more doctors to his team. He has been having trouble breathing and has not been getting his energy back like he should. Other than that, the dialysis sees to be going fine. When he informed his nephrologist about his lack of energy and the return of troubked breathing, they referred him to a cardiologist.

My aunt, who has been a nurse for 30+ years, did not like the cardiologist they suggested, so she changed his appointment to a different one. She does this quite often and we trust her judgement.

They did an ekg, chest x-ray, stress test, and ultrasound. The news was a mixed blessing. His heart is in relatively good shape, considering he is a 56 year old diabetic, slightly overweight male. He has a small leakage, which they will monitor but are not really concerned with. The bad news is the his body is beginning to retain fluid again. It is already buikding up around his heart and lungs, hence the lack of energy and difficulty breathing.

Unfortunately, this was not the last of the bad news. The Dialysis Center and DFACS also delivered some bad news of their own. My Dad finally got accepted for SSDI, which is good news. The bad news that came with it is that even though he will not recieve these payments until June (something about waiting a 6 month probationary period),his acceptance alone apparently means that we are no longer eligible for food stamps. It was hard on my Mom to apply for them again, and we only had them for a week.

The next part of the bad news came from the Dialysis Center. They routinely do all sorts of tests on Dad to monitor everything. This includes,but is not limited to, blood, urine, and stool tests. On the day we recieved the news about the fluid and his heart, we also recieved a call from the DC. Whatever they test his stool for (blood I think) came back positive. Apparently this is not good. He now gets to add a GI to his team. His gastrointestional appointment is early next month.

His cataracts are starting to give him problems again too. He had the lens replaced in both eyes a few months before we found out he has CKD. I’m not sure if they will be qble to do it again, with all his conditions now. I do know that once his Medi (cade? Care? I can never keep them straight) he intends to schedule an appointment with his optometrist.

I worry about him and mom both. I worry about the physical tolls as well as the emotional tolls… We shall keep our heads up as much as possible.

Another Mile Down

My Dad had his surgery Friday morning to install the tube for dialysis. The surgeon said everything went fine, and it only took about an hour. There was a little blip in the recovery room. His oxygen levels kept dropping so they had to keep the oxygen tank on. They finally started weaning him off of it, and finally he was able to come home.

He has a few incisions where the tube is inserted in the peritoneal cavity and then where it comes out near his waist. He has to be out of work for about a week, and when he does go back, he can’t lift anything over 15 pounds. Hopefully he doesn’t try to overdo it. He does work in a parts store where most things are well over that weight limit.

He’s been slowly trying to walk around the house. They told him it would be good for him, so he tries. He is definitely stiff though. I can tell by how he walks that he’s in pain. He is taking the pain killers they prescribed, but he tries not to because I think he is worried about all the meds doing further damage to his body.

He can’t shower or get the site wet until he goes to the dialysis center to have the dressing changed and the incisions inspected. Hopefully everything goes according to plan. It’s going to be at least 6 weeks before everything is healed up enough to actually start dialysis. I’m not sure if he will start immediately after the doc gives him the “all clear” or not.

This certainly is not a journey anyone would choose for themselves or their loved ones. But we are not always given a choice. So now it is up to us to decide what to do with the path we are given. His choice, and ours (my mom, brother, and myself), is to go down this road. I do not know how long this journey will be. I do not know how easy or tough the going may get. I do not know where it will lead. But I do know that there is another mile marker behind us, that we will walk as a family, that we will walk with faith, and that we will not stop, we will not give up, we will not give out, and we will not give in.

Scary Words for a Scary Season.

So, as we all know, Halloween is approaching. Yay! No, seriously, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Honey is going to be Rorschach and I am going to be a female version of The Comedian. We have a party Saturday so I’m hoping I will have all of mine ready by then. But that isn’t what this blog is about.

For those of you who read my first post, you know that I mentioned there are things, both good and bad, going on in my life right now and that this year has been a long journey that is no where near over. This blog is going to tell you a little about that.

My father is one of the most important people in my life. Both my parents are. My dad has been a Type 2 Diabetic since his late twenties. When I was younger, my parents owned a very well off business that allowed for all the doctor’s visits and medicines he needs. More recently, both my parents have been victims of the economic crash. Our house was foreclosed on, both my parents were laid off at the same time, for several months. They have since both found jobs. My dad has been at his for quite a while, and December of last year, my mom finally convinced him to opt in to his company insurance. His health had been declining and she knew he needed to see a doctor.

This is nothing less than a miracle to me and couldn’t have come at a better time. His policy went effective January 1st. He went to the emergency room barely a week after at about three in the morning. I remember because my mom woke me up, tears in her eyes, so upset she was barely able to breath. She told me she was taking dad to the E.R. because he was having problems walking and breathing. He was in there for almost a week. They ran test after test. Ekgs, x-rays, CAT scans, MRI’s. You name it, they probably did it. 

It was determined that he had a fluid build up that was causing almost every part of his body to swell, from his feet all the way up to his chest. He had fluid around his heart and lungs, and some in his lungs. The thing that worried the doctors is that they weren’t sure what was causing the fluid to build. They put him on a medicine called Lasik that helps keep the fluid down, but caused him to have to pee “every 5 minutes” according to my dad. They finally sent him home after they got the swelling down. 

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end. They gave him some meds, but within the next week and a half, he was back in the ER again, The fluid had built back up. Let me say that it basically made his ankles swell so bad that he walked with a hitch in his giddy-up because he physically could not bend his ankles. It was even difficult for him to bend his knees. Sleeping just wasn’t happening because whenever he laid down, the fluid in and around his lungs put pressure on his breathing and made him feel like he was drowning. 

He was in the hospital for about another week, and we haven’t even made it out of January. While he was in this time, one of the doctors formed an idea. I am not joking when I say they literally had a team of doctors trying to figure out the problem. They called him their “mystery” patient. Which didn’t really give us peace of mind. But, one of the doctors finally decided that the only thing he could think of would be the kidneys. He wanted to do a biopsy. After mulling it around a little, and learning that a biopsy now doesn’t mean going under the knife, my dad agreed.

Let me explain how they did his kidney biopsy. They basically numb you around one or both of your kidneys with a local anesthetic. Then they take a really long needle with a hole in the side, go in to your kidney, and use a special part of the needle that causes a piece to of your kidney to be cut off and stay in the hole in the needle. Then they pull it out and send it off for a biopsy. 

The doc wanted to send it to South Carolina (to a medical lab) because even though it would take longer, he trusted their results more than having it sent to Atlanta. It was several weeks before we heard back, and when we did, the news was not good.

The news was that my dad is a victim Chronic Kidney Disease.

After that news, it has been a whirlwind of learning and testing. Of course, as soon as I heard, I jumped on the internet and immediately turned my brain into a sponge, soaking up anything and everything I could find about Kidney disease, kidney failure, dialysis, and anything even remotely related to it. 

There are five stages of Kidney disease, and the stage you are in depends on how much your kidneys are filtering. My dad was determined to be between stages two and three, which basically means they were filtering somewhere around the 60% mark. We were told that with a change in diet and proper medicine, that the process of failure may be slowed. 

We immediately made changes to our diet (as a family) and eating habits. We starting trying to help him exercise as much as we could. They changed his insulin, they added blood pressure medicine, gave him a prescription for Lasik to keep the fluid down, and a handful of more prescriptions for various things. They also gave him Lyrica. Now, I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials about how Lyrica is a drug to help calm pain from overactive nerves in diabetics. My dad was in a bad car wreck years ago that crushed the bones in his right leg. He has a steel rod from his knee to his ankle, so that leg has been the worst with all the swelling and causing him constant pain. 

I am here to tell you that the Lasic and Lyrica have been wonder drugs for my father. The Lyrica started relieving the pain almost immediately. The Lasic keeps the fluid down. However, both are very expensive, even with insurance. And with all the bills and my parents both working for little over minimum wage, sometimes he tries to stretch them out and go without for a day or two to make the prescriptions last longer. Such is the way in a lower class family… If you didn’t think so, I’m here to tell you different. 

In July, he went back for another major test. And the panic set it. His kidney failure is now marked around the 3 to 4 level, which means about a 30% function. Level 4 is anywhere from 15-29% and is usually where they start Dialysis. That brought a sense of fear and tension into our house. That is a word we had hoped to avoid hearing for at least another year. But alas, it was not meant to be. 

Along with this, I have learned a lot about Dialysis, how your kidneys function, the difference between peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis, home dialysis vs clinical dialysis, and more. There was a sense of fear in our house because we had a period where we were not sure that my dad would accept dialysis as an option. I mean, it’s not like we could force him. They also had some friends on dialysis a long time ago, and were worried that he would lose the rest of what little kidney function he did have if he went on dialysis. But it’s a lot different now, and dialysis works with the kidneys now, rather than instead of them. And after talking to some people at the dialysis center, he learned that the people on dialysis feel ten times better than they did before dialysis because it gets their body back close to normal. So he is much more comfortable with his decision to go on dialysis now.

And we are grateful for that. Goodness knows my mom is already taking it hard. I can tell she doesn’t know how to handle all of this. Now a days, if she has an off day and dad is working, she goes to see my brother to get out of town and away from everything. She unintentionally leans on me a little much to do things like supper and such, but I do it anyways because they are my parents and they need me. 

Anyways, my dad decided on Peritoneal Dialysis. That is, home dialysis. They will go in and insert a catheter into the peritoneal cavity (abdomen), it will have to heal for 6 weeks, and then he can start dialysis. There are two types of peritoneal. One that requires changing the bag every 4 hours throughout the day, and one that is done by machine for 8 hours, at night. He chose the nightly one. And his surgery is scheduled for November 1st.

Now it is a whirlwind of sanitizing their bedroom, stocking up on antibacterial hand soap, germ-x, getting everything cleaned and organized to make a place for his supplies, and so on. Even though it is an outpatient surgery, I worry for him. And I hope that he has not been given false hope about feeling way better after he starts dialysis.

He is my rock. I am not a daddy’s girl, but I have always been my father’s daughter. He has always been the strong one in my life, and to see him weak and not able to do the things he used to breaks my heart more than anyone can imagine. He can no longer ride his motorcycle, something that brings him as much joy as a kid at Christmas. He limps across the porch and down the stairs to go to work at a job where he stands on his feet all day because he refuses to quit and be one of those “lazy bums on welfare”. He has good days and bad days. And we try not to notice when the good ones are far between. 

And the scariest part of all this to me is that if my mom had not convinced him to get insurance, he would not have went to the hospital the first time. He would have laid in bed and more than likely died from the fluid in his lungs. And that thought terrifies me.