Medical Emergencies and Multiple Hospitals

*apologies, this was written Thursday Morning but I’m just getting around to posting it. I will update more later*

Here I am again dear readers. Unfortunately, events like this seem to be the only time I’m able to find enough free time to write. I’m sitting here in the floor, back against the wall, in a hospital room listening to my father and my boyfriend snore.

Life is a complicated animal. Much has happened, as is the case for everyone. But over the last few weeks, it’s been crazy. My grandmother went in the hospital for not being able to breathe. It went from her having a goiter on her windpipe and artery to her also having a very aggressive form of thyroid cancer. While trying to get everything scheduled for her to start radiation at Emory, my mom has also been trying to take care of my father.

Renal failure, diabetes, eye issues, neuropathy (to the point of not being able to feel in his hands and feet), and balance issues are just a few of the lovely things my father faces every day. It’s a constant battle. But, it gets better. Yesterday morning while my mom was getting ready to take my father to dialysis, he fell and broke his ankle. Pretty severely. It was also my mom’s birthday. And her mother was in the hospital due to severe fluid retention that turned out to be a blood clot in her leg.

Today, they managed to get my grandmother released from our local hospital but only to take her to Emory in Atlanta to begin her first day of radiation treatment. My dad is supposed to have surgery on his ankle today. My poor mom can’t be in both places. So I took the day off work to come watch over my dad.

It’s so hard to see him like this. Restless, in pain, and a shadow of his formal self. But this is life. It happens to all of us who are here long enough. And I know he hates for me to see him like this. But I guess we all come to a point where we have to bite our pride and accept the help of those who love us, regardless of the situation. So, while my mom drives to Atl with her sister-in-law and my grandmother, I am sitting here doing research for the coming days after surgery.

Planning to add a ramp to the stairs at my parents’ house. Looking up trailer hitch receivers and cargo trays for my mom’s car to carry a wheel chair for my dad and/or my grandmother. Planning food prep menus to help my parents when they’re exhausted but still need to follow dad’s dietary restrictions.

So many things to do. So little time. The curse of my life.

In these situations, with a loved one who’s health is chronically failing, it’s difficult to explain. People always ask me how he’s doing. It’s hard to say, isn’t it? It’s not like chemo, there is no fight and then remission. The only thing that helps renal failure is a transplant. And what can you tell someone then? He’s hanging in there waiting for  someone with a good kidney and pancreas to pass so he can have them? That, by the way, is not something people want to hear. It’s the truth, but people do not want the truth. Not the whole, unaltered truth that makes them uncomfortable. So I tell people the truest thing I can. He’s still here.

And for now, that’s all that matters.


 

” ‘ Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them.’ I said. ‘Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.’ ” – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

“He admired my melancholy madness and said that it was graceful and beautiful. But it was neither of those things. I was a hurricane at the centre of a collapsing, burning, building; and I wasn’t someone to be admired at all.”

“Even if you know what’s coming, you ‘re never prepared for how it feels.” – Natalie Standiford

“You wake up every night to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.” – unknown

“Well it breaks my heart to see you this way, The beauty in life where’s it gone? And somebody told me you were doing ok, somehow I guess they were wrong.” Flogging Molly “Whistles the wind”

“Don’t ever think you’re alone here, We’ve just been trapped in different hells, and people aren’t against you dear, they’re just all for themselves.” – e.h.

“May we exist like the lotus, at ease in muddy water.” – Zen proverb

“Keep your chin up little stargazer, At worlds above your own, You are small but you are stardust, And that’s worth more than you’ve known, For every sun and solar flare, Is made up just like you, And if they’re cause for wonder Then I promise you are too. Look out little stargazer ‘Til nothing’s left unseen, And know there’s not a patch of sky Where no one else’s eyes have been, That the darkness that enfolds you Holds countless other starlit hearts, And with this you stand together Though you live lifetimes apart. Be brave now little stargazer The sky is growing light, And courage wanes like moonbeams When it’s pulled out from the night, But like those who gazed before you; Know when your heart is full of fear, That it is always in your darkness That the stars start to appear.” -e.h.

“we mature with the damage, not with the years.” – Mateus William

“Enjoy every sandwich” – Warren Zevon

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

“Empedocles claims that, in utero, our backbone is one long solid; and that through the constriction of the womb and the punishment of birth, it must be snapped again and again and again to form our verterbrae; that for the child to have a spine, it’s back must first be broken.” – The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation M.T. Anderson

“She looks back out the window and as the light slides along her profile, I think I see sadness. And I wonder if she’s sad that I’m so weak and so afraid when she’s always been so strong.” – The Forest of Hands and Teeth

“If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less.” – Warren Zevon “Keep me in your heart.”

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” – Tyler Knott Gregson

“Take the night and darken everything around me, Call the clouds, and listen closely, I’m lost without you. Call your name everyday, when I feel so helpless, I’m fallen down but I’ll rise above this.” – Seether “Rise above this”

“We live in grim times indeed if even children are too world weary to believe in magic.” – Fable

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

“She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart, while I’m drinking Jack all alone in a 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.” – The Script “For the First Time”

“Mama whispered softly, time will ease your pain. Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same.” – Patty Loveless

“Life asked Death, ‘Why do people love me but hate you?’ Death responded, ‘ Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth.’ ”

“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 all the clearer.” – Samwise Gamgee “LOTR: The Two Towers” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“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”

“It’s not hard to do. It’s just not easy yet.” – Monte  Selby

“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

” ‘Sometimes,’ he said while gripping the fabric of his own pant leg, “You run out of tears long before you run out of hurt.’ ” – Tyler Knott Gregson

“Listen to the musn’ts child, listen to the don’ts , listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me – anything can happen child, anything can be.” – Shel Silverstein

“I clutch my pillow to my chest and bury my face in it. I don’t cry. I just ache. Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” – “Allegiant” Veronica Roth

“Needles and pins, needles and pins, sew me a sail, to catch me the wind. Sew me a sail, strong as a gale, carpenter bring out your, hammers and nails. Hammers and nails, hammers and nails, build me a boat, to go chasing the whales. Chasing the whales, sailing the blue, find me a captain, and sign me a crew. Captain and crew, captain and crew, take me oh take me, to anywhere new.” – Shel Silverstein

“She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love… That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own.” – Veronica Roth Insurgent

“A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse. ” – John Green The Fault In Our Stars

“We all carry things inside us that no one else can see. They weigh us down like anchors, they drown us out at sea.” – Chelsea Smile Bring me the Horizion

 

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.

Been A Long Weekend.

Things have been a little rough since Dad’s surgery. He has been working a few days, and has a day off tomorrow. He forgot to wear an undershirt the first day and rubbed some of the incisions a little raw. He wore an undershirt the next day and it was a little better. Friday night was rough on him. He took a pain pill they prescribed because he was hurting. Mom had fell helping with a wedding and took a half of her pain pills, so I drove her to Wal-Mart where we picked up some super soft gauze, medical tape, and Neosporin with pain relief. He said that it helped keep him from scratching or rubbing at the incisions.

He’s also been having a severe problem trying to eat. They gave him some medicine before his surgery to clear up his sinuses but it severely dehydrated him… Whenever he went to eat after that, he says it is like trying to swallow a mouth full of dirt with no spit in your mouth. He also keeps getting choked about halfway down his esophagus. He’s thrown up more than kept anything down. I’m severely worried about him. Mom is calling his doctor tomorrow. Hopefully everything is ok.

Most people don’t know what to say when we tell them about Dad’s situation. They apologize, don’t meet our eyes, try to tell us about so and so that they knew that was on dialysis, or ask about  a transplant. We try to be patient with them because we know how they feel. We don’t know what to say or how to feel about it either.

Some people can go years before they have to go on Dialysis after they find out they have CKD or kidney failure. Some only have months. Dad was one of those with months. It is a lot to learn and adjust to in a very small amount of time. There is a diet to change (which will have to be more strict now than it was) and new terms to learn. There is also a lot to learn about dialysis as well. There are different types with different pros and cons and different methods.

Mom is having a really hard time with this as well. She does what she can to keep Dad going when he gets down or snaps at her because he’s hurting. He’s impatient and just wants to feel better. And who can blame him? Because honestly, that’s probably what we all want when we are sick. To be better, to feel better, and to not feel like a burden on our families. In turn, Mom leans on me. And I do my best to stop the chain and not lean on anyone. I know how it feels to be a support beam in the system, and I try not to let myself deal with this situation anymore than I have to because they need me to be strong for them.

It’s been tough, even though we’ve barely started. I know better days and break downs are both headed our way, but we will face them head on, and cross those bridges as we come to them.

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.