Thursday, October 23, 2014

will you still need me when I am 64??

Ok.... so it is my birthday... I wasn’t sure that I would make it, but 64 fun filled years are now in the book.... It is certainly time for an update, but not much to report. Dialysis is relentless. While I had big ideas on how to use the “hours spent in the chair”, I am beginning to see why people don’t manage anything useful.

I have just started using my youthful fistula, but am having some technical issues. My fistula is under developed at this point, and hard to hit with the large needles that are used.... ok, not hard to hit, but apparently, hard to avoid going all of the way through the vein. When the needles do get properly placed, any movement of the arm causes the machine to stop pumping, and sound an alarm that penetrates deep into your brain. If prisoners were forced to listen to these alarms, it would be considered “cruel and unusual” punishment. Keep in mind, it is not just my machine, but 30 machines, each with several flavors of alarm depending on the nature of the current crisis.

I mentioned the “large” needles..... my needles, that are larger than anything that anyone has ever seen, are considered small compared to the needles that are in my future. It has to do with the amount of blood that can be drawn through the needle without damaging the blood, which causes the blood to clot, and shut down the entire operation. I am currently at 250 ml. / min. and need to get up to 400 ml. / min. Of course, at the lower flow, my blood is not getting as clean as it needs to be. I am hoping that I will begin to feel better as soon as the technical issues are resolved.

I know that all of this sounds like complaining, but it is not!!! It is just that this is a medical condition blog..... mostly. Even though dialysis is complex with lots of annoying side effects, it is a remarkable life extending process, and I am very fortunate to have it available to me.

Ok, mostly medical.... with an occasional slip into the philosophy of life and death. I have noticed twice, once 5 years ago when first diagnosed with a poor prognoses, and again recently when faced with a grim outcome, that I feel very peaceful when I think that I am dying, and get stressed out when confronted with continued life. I think that it is because there are not a lot of items in my bucket list. I have participated in all that life offered to me..... the good and the bad, the right and the wrong..... I didn’t leave many stones unturned. Sure there are things that I wish I had not done, but sometimes, I sure learned what not to do. I guess my point is, I was quick to jump at opportunity. Of course I made some horrible mistakes, but also had experiences that are unforgettable, and are nearly unavailable to most people.

In the end, I think, It is not the 100's of exciting things that I didn’t get to do that cause regret, it is the opportunities that were passed up. Fortunately, for me, that, is a short list.


Barbara and Ron said...

Happy birthday, John. I know nothing about it, but I guess if the blood cleansing is not complete, you wouldn't feel as well as you could. Hopefully that will improve. The dialysis sounds like a nightmare. How about some Xanax? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Remember the time you & homer, me & smokey and a whole bunch of dogs went for a ride out on the east side of cuddy valley rd? it took us all day and the hill/mnt going in and coming back out almost killed us all!!! We got home after dark and I could barley walk the next day my legs were so sore. We had to stop and rest like 10 times coming out and you kept saying, we can do this. We just need to take our time. You can do this.

JC said...

Yup, those are all good memories.... I am committed to to do what is possible, and am also willing to accept whatever comes.