Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Changes Part 2 - Dialysis

My husband has always been the picture of health. Thin, lots of energy, hadn't had a sick day from work in over 20 years until 2008. He had begun having trouble swallowing & everything he did manage to eat, gave him indigestion. We found out he had a hiatal hernia & esophagial reflux. They went in & stretched his throat on 2 separate occasions & he was able to eat normally again. However, after doing his labwork for the procedure, the Dr calls & says his kidneys were failing. WHAT??? That's when we learned about Nephrology & began meeting more medical personnel than we ever wanted to know. He still felt fine. No physical symptoms at all, but every time they did bloodwork, his creatinine & potassium were high. Then on February 24, 2010, he was too weak to get out of bed & go to work. I had a feeling that this was it. Labwork showed his potassium levels were 9.5. He was admitted to hospital & began emergency dialysis. He bounced back quickly. The doctors & nurses keep saying that he is the healthiest dialysis patient they have ever seen. When you go on dialysis you can draw disability immediately. Kevin would go crazy if he didn't work. He is an electrician. So he decided to continue working full time (his employer has been very gracious with Dr appts, dialysis, etc.). I also work full time & my employer is not as gracious. I have a very very stressful job & my boss does not think that anyone should ever be gone from work for any reason at all unless an ambulance comes to carry you away... and even then he would probably follow you to the hospital with an armful of work.

Kevin went to the dialysis clinic 3 days a week, but they are only open from 7 am to 5 pm, so he was missing too much work. In July we began home dialysis training. Since I was to be his caretaker, I had to learn as much as I could about dialysis in as short a time as possible. Again, I can NOT miss work, so I would go to work between 6:30-7:00 Mon-Fri & leave about 12:50, go straight to clinic for training & finish up there around 6 pm Mon-Fri. I worked a few hours on Saturdays & Sundays to make sure that I got my 40 hours in. I was beyond exhausted, but did not have a choice. After 3 1/2 weeks of training, the Dr sent us home with all the medical equipment. Our oldest son is in college, so we turned his bedroom into a medical equipment room. Our house is only 1300 square feet. The equipment & supplies takes up almost the entire bedroom.

Since August 13, 2010 we do hemo dialysis at home 6 days a week. We both get off work at 5:00, rush home & try to have him hooked up by 6:30. The whole process takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours, if you don't have any trouble. This has been the greatest trial we have ever had to face, but God has carried us through. Our church family has been absolutely amazing. Our church ladies brought dinner to us 3 days a week for several months. Also, my husband's best friend stepped up in a huge way. I trained him how to be the caretaker, so most weeks he comes 2 or 3 days so that I can get things done around the house, chaffeur our 15 yr old & friends around, grocery shop, etc.

We are blessed with wonderful friends that we enjoy going to dinner with or playing cards, etc. Now we only have time for a quick dinner before or after dialysis. The luxury of taking our time or going out of town for the weekend is no more. Kevin was recently approved for the transplant list. We are believing for a miracle and that a transplant is not necessary and that we can get rid of that mechanical kidney. God has been faithful and we know that He will continue to carry us through. We are excited to see the great blessings that are in store for us when this is over.

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