Friday, March 15, 2013

The End of the Road

"Although we've come to the End Of The Road
Still I can't let you go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you
Come to the End of the Road
Still I can't let you go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you"
Boyz II Men

I should just start every post with a Boyz 2 Men lyric, right?  Some people say every post is better with a picture, well, I think every blog post might be better with a Boyz II Men lyric. 

Sigh, so yes, we are get-ting there, to the end of the road.  Current GFR:  hovering at 7.5, 8 percent. Current kidney donor:  none at this time.  The decision has pretty much been made for me:  it's dialysis time.  Damn. Never thought I'd be writing those words.  For real though.  On Monday, I'm meeting with a kidney dialysis nurse, and then one week after that I'm making my decision: peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.  It's a big decision.  They are two very different methods, but they get the same job done.  

Peritoneal Dialysis looks kind of like this I'd have a catheter placed in my stomach.  Then I would connect that line to a bag of "waste collecting liquid" (that's my name for it), and that will do the filtering. Then I drain the liquid out.  I'm unsure about this part, but my dialysis nurse says she has some DVDs to show me that should give me a better picture of what's involved.

Hemodialysis kind of looks like this:  I'd have a fistula in my arm, a connection between a vein and an artery.   During my multiple-times-a-week visits to the dialysis center, I would have a needle inserted into the fistula. That needle is connected to a machine, and that machine collects my blood, cleans it all out, then would put it back into my body. The process can take up to several hours. 

This is not what I wanted at all.  But funny thing, I actually don't have a choice right now!  Well, I do.  And my doctor advised me against that choice.  That choice would be to really believe God for a miracle that I'll get my kidney in the next few weeks.  That path could also lead me to a destination where I'm barely making it on my wedding day, or worse: wedding day is canceled because I don't get my kidney in 2 weeks, and then I end up in the emergency room where they will most definitely hook me up to a dialysis machine.  It'll be like a scenario from "House," where I pass out on the street, then wake up in the hospital, going "What happened?!" And the doctors say:  "Jewel, we had no choice.  We had to amputate...and we also had to put you on dialysis."  And then I react:  "DIALYSIS?! NOT DIALYSIS!" 

Man, I have an active imagination, right?  It's due to all those years I spent as an only child when no one would play with me.  Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to hearing more about these procedures and selecting which one is best for me.

Side note:  I got my blood boosting shot on Wednesday.  The nurse, so sweet, said it will probably takes three shots to get me where I want to be.  She even gave me a hug afterward!  Before getting the shot, the nurse had to read to me every line of the risks and side effects.  I kid you not, one of the side effects was "you could die sooner."  No joke!  In those words.  Usually, for drugs, you expect the typical--headache, fever, stroke, etc.  But this drug explanation spelled out in plain English "headache, fever, stroke, heart attack...oh! and you could die sooner.  FYI."  I started wondering if I even wanted the shot!  The nurse assured me that she's never heard of anyone at our office dealing with any bad side effects.  
So the other night, as I was driving home from Bible Study, I was CRAVING ice cream.  Naw, I thought, I should save my pennies.  Plus, I have delicious pineapple and melon at home for dessert.  But then, I thought about it again. And as I neared close to a Safeway, I veered into the parking lot, ran out into the cold, ran into the store and got me some ice cream!  I was ecstatic.  As soon as I arrived home, I went into the bedroom and dropped the ice cream on the desk. 

Jewel:  Ben, guess what I brought home, to celebrate?
Ben:  What?  
Jewel:  Ice Creeeeaaam!  
Ben:  Yay, babe!   What are we celebrating?
Jewel:  Well, I got my shot today, as you know. And one of the side effects was "you could die sooner."
Ben:  Oh?
Jewel: Yeah!  Can you believe that?!  So I thought...well, if I'm gonna "die sooner," might as well eat ice cream.  

And the rest of the night was pretty much perfect.  We made homemade pita pizzas, ate ice cream before AND afterward, watched an episode of NCIS, and went to bed facing each other,  both of us in the fetal position with our heads touching.  I know...weird.  I said a prayer, thanking God for my family and for just being awesome all around, and thanking him for ice cream.  Life is just too short to not eat ice cream.