Those that know me well here on Tu know that I have been absent the past couple of days. I got some news that threw me for a loop and I had to take some time to get it all internalized.
I have to start dialysis. Hence the name of this blog, D & D, as in Diabetes and Dialysis.
My idea with this blog is not to scare anyone. But if telling all of you about the path I am on and the things that happen makes you take better care of yourself, then I would consider this blog a double success. Success for me in dealing with the problems that dialysis and diabetes brings and success for those of you who decide it might be time to get to a doctor and get some labs done. Kidney disease, like so many others, is much easier to treat and deal with if it is caught early. I have known for some time that dialysis was in my future. I just never thought the future would come so quick.
I am one of the lucky ones that has had joint issues since I was in my teens. Most of my problems can be traced directly to sports. But once these joints are injured that is when the real problems start. Especially when you do not follow the advice of doctors and get back out on that field of play before you should. So the answer back then was to take aspirin. Then ibuprofen. I took 3 ibuprofen 4x a day for years. In fact that was prescribed by a doctor. Actually several doctors. Little did I know (or the doctors at the time) that long term ibuprofen use can cause kidney damage.
Fast forward to July 18, 2005. It was 1 PM and my wife and I were sitting at a gas station in Pennsville, NJ and I was not able to read the big Flying J sign. Check blood sugar (I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1988) and it was 120. Not blood sugar. Okay, so what is the problem. Sit and drink water and wait for 45 minutes and could then see well enough to drive home. It was only a 10 minute ride to get in my drive way. I sat in my truck with the windows rolled up and the heat on full blast for close to 30 minutes (not again that this was July in New Jersey). I could not get warm.
Wife got me in the house and into bed. She woke me up for diner by touching my left leg and I immediately woke up due to extreme pain in my leg. Checked my temperature and I was near 104. They got me dressed and by the time they got me into the ER I was out of it. My kidneys had shut down and it did not look good. I had an infection that went septic. I was in ICU for almost a week. Spent another week in a regular hospital room.
My kidneys had been damaged beyond repair. Funny thing is no one, not one doctor ever even broached the topic of transplant. I have seen three nephrologists and not one ever did anything except change the medications I was on.
My kidneys hung in there for close to seven years with a creatinine of 2.7 – 3.5 (normal is 0.6 – 1.3) and BUN between 27 and 35 (normal is 7 – 18).
Then came the visit to the new endocrinologist and the revelation that my BUN 97 and my creatinine 9.0. I was told that this was critical. I wanted a second opinion.
I was in my family doctors office the next afternoon intending to ask him to redo the tests. Well I had seen two doctors the day I saw that new endo. The second was a vascular surgeon. While I was in my doctors office waiting to redo the tests came the call from the surgeons office. My kidney levels were critical. So much for the second opinion.
So I am going to chronicle this new phase in my life. I now realize that this is NOT a death sentence. It is just another thing just like diabetes that I have to take care of.