Monday, February 18, 2013

The Repercussions of Being an Irresponsible and Lazy Adult

As of 11:00 A.M., Feb. 18, it began to sink in that the next doctor's appointment I have may not be with my nephrologist, but with my kidney transplant surgery.  Because I screwed up.

As much as I love to plan and organize things, and make sure I do stuff at the exact right minute, there is just one task that I haven't been able to master yet.  Ever since I graduated college, and began seeing a new nephrologist (a.k.a. kidney doctor), who is great by the way, I've been having problems following orders.  Before every appointment, the doctors and nurses advise me to have my blood drawn and urine taken at least one week before every appointment.  I don't know why it's so hard to get it through my thick skull that I have to do this!  I usually end up getting the labs done, one to two days before, because I've learned the ins and outs of the blood drawing system and I've discovered that it doesn't actually take one week for them to do what they're doing to my blood.  Before every appointment, they run tests on my creatinine level, along with iron, cholesterol, etc.  Those tests are pretty quick actually!

So, because I realized this, I've pushed it to the limit every time. I don't go to Lab Corp one week before.  I go just one or two days before and pat myself on the back about how I got it done without following their stupid rules.  Those "stupid rules" however, were created for stupid people like myself, to prevent patients from waiting until the last minute and showing up without any updated labs.

Well, I thought my game would work.  On Friday, I went to Lab Corp during my lunch break. On days where I have to do labs or doctor's appointments, I try to work from home.  I started work a bit early that way I'd have an hour to take lunch.  But before I go any further, I have vent a little on my frustrations with Lab Corp. 

Dear Lab Corp,  you have a job to do and I'm sure you know what that job is:  you test blood, urine, and poop samples for doctors so that they can determine the best courses of treatment for their patients.  I've been a customer of yours for about 10 years now, only because there's really no other labs in the area that I can go to to have these services performed, unless I go to the hospital.  Lab Corp, you know that it is not ok to have customers--paying, sick customers, or even screaming children--waiting in your cramped, not-enough-seating waiting room for two hours.  That's not OK at all.  I have to believe that you know that's not OK.  I understand that you're probably a bit understaffed.  I get that happens sometimes. But for 10 years?  Ten years of being "understaffed" just doesn't sit well with me.  And I'm saying, that I'm not buying it anymore.   

Anyhoo, my venting pretty much describes my dilemma.  I went to Lab Corp, waited for an hour.  There were still 20 people before me, and they'd only serviced three people since I'd entered the waiting room, one of which was a four-year-old girl, screaming bloody murder from one of the drawing rooms. If I hadn't known any better, I would have thought she was being tortured by a chainsaw.  One of the waiting customers asked how much longer the wait would be.  One of the Lab Corp Technician's responses: "It's going to be a while. We're about to go on lunch."  And that was my queue to get up, cancel my doctor's appointment, and leave.   I was never going to have my labs done in time to see my nephrologist. And as much as I would love to blame this on Lab Corp, I should have penciled in time in my schedule to wait two-hours to get my blood drawn earlier in the week, not at the last possible minute. 

Basically, I'm a little scared.  When I called to reschedule, the only opening the nephrologist had was March 13.  Will I make it until then, is the question that's been running through my mind.  I'm not thinking I'll just drop dead (very possible though, for anyone really), but now I won't know how much worse my kidneys are getting.  How much lower is the GFR?  How high is my blood pressure (I stopped checking again. OOPS.)?  Am I feeling tired because of my disease or because I'm not getting enough sleep?  Am I eating less?  Why is my eye twitching? Is my face swollen?  Do I need dialysis already? Am I OK? 

Right now, I'm in this phase where I just want to get the transplant over with because the thought of my organs dying inside me is about to drive me crazy.  And now, because I'm STU-PID, the thought of not knowing how fast my kidneys are dying...that's whole 'nother level of insanity. 

UPDATE:  You know, I'm an optimist.  Ben says it's one of the things he loves about me. So I just can't end this blog post without something positive and without thanking my sister, Jocelyn, for starving herself and undergoing five hours of tests last week.  Thank you, Jocelyn.

She heard back from the doctor's today, and it sounds like she "passed" the first round. Woohoo!  She has one more round of testing and meetings and then I suppose we'll know if she's really the best match for me.  Couldn't get through this without her, Ben, and my two best friends in New Jersey.