KIDNEY FAILURE - A PERSONAL JOURNAL

[Peter Langley]

Two Weeks and Counting

Two weeks ago at this time, I was waiting to be taken to the operating room. I was excited, scared, and unsure of what to expect. It does not seem possible that two weeks have passed, just as it does not seem possible that it has only been two weeks. The headaches were there again last night, but minimal compared to the beginning. I was up three times for ice and Tylenol, but the pain was bearable, just enough to otherwise keep me awake. I feel stronger every day, and look forward to every day.

My wife went back to work today for the first time, and I fear going slightly stir crazy. It will actually be good to get back to work. I never thought I would hear myself say that. First, however, I must get clearance to drive, as my office is 32 miles away and there is no reasonable alternative for public transportation in Levy County. Actually, other than maybe two taxis, there is no public transportation in Levy County. Again, I will talk to the doctors on Thursday. Also, once I can go back to work, I will try to structure my clinics around my law schedule to as great a degree as possible. Last night was very nice in many ways. My sister, Ann, and her husband, Pete, had flown in from Maryland for a short visit. They came in around 4:30 p.m., and we had dinner reservations for 5:30 at the restaurant where Diane had eaten with us before the surgery.

It was again very, very nice, and we had a good talk, saw a video they had brought from the Orkneys, as well as their pictures from there. It seems like a nice place to visit for a day or two on our next trip to Scotland.

Then, when I awoke at 1:30 this morning to go to the bathroom, it hit me! No headache. None. I awoke a few hours later and had only a minimal one. Amazing! One ice pack and no Tylenol for the entire night! It was heavenly to sleep without the pain. Maybe yet another corner has been turned. We can hope.

Clinics in the morning again. A good friend is driving me so my wife can work. Without friends and family, I don’t know how one could get through this. Living an hour away from Gainesville is like living ten hours away from Gainesville if you cannot drive.

Clinics went well. Blood was taken in a timely manner, and the results were back early. We were out by 10:00. I asked about driving, and was told “Our protocol is not to recommend it for two months, until the Prednisone is cut to 20 milligrams, which will be in two months.”

Needless to say, the Prednisone was not cut today. However, I read between the lines that this is the average, normal, or even conservative approach, and took it as such. I came home, drove to the store and to the post office with no vision problems and no other problems of any kind. I do not plan to drive as far as my office for a time yet, and I plan to drive slowly and with exaggerated care, but I cannot see being stuck in the house permanently simply because there is absolutely no mass or public transit in Levy County.

Last night, again, there was only a very minimal headache. One ice pack headed it off, and there were no recurrences. My creatinin level was 1.5, but the doctors assured me this is a statistically insignificant change, and that it continues to be well above the normal recovery rate. Every thing else was okay, except the blood sugars and the blood pressure. We are trying some new strategies there with additional blood sugar tests and shots as needed. Also, the nighttime dosage has been cut to avoid crashing before breakfast. As to the blood pressure, it was on the high side of acceptable, so they gave me a very lightweight nighttime medication to supplement.

I just finished making a creme caramel from the Jacques Torres cookbook. It is in the oven as I write. I need a few more tools, but am hoping for the best.

All continues to go every bit as well as one could possibly expect.

Thursday night, the last of September, was wonderful. There were no headaches at all! No Tylenol and no ice packs required. That means they lasted for just under two weeks, subsiding over the past few days. Also, the testing of blood sugars at 3:00 actually seems to be helping with the dinnertime peaks. It has required insulin at 3:00 because it is only a couple of hours after eating lunch.

Today, it was even less because my father-in-law had driven me to my office in Bronson, and I had worked, visited everyone in the courthouse, at the school board, and at the local bank. It was very, very emotional, and everyone said I looked far better than I had before the surgery (again, looking good, not good looking). It was a little tiring, but well worth it from an emotional standpoint. I felt like I was getting part of my life back.

I spoke to Diane today, and she is flying out on Monday. Her checkup yesterday was perfect, and she was in excellent spirits! She said she was tired from going to Gainesville, but was impressed that she met with her surgeon. She says maybe she has been milking it a little, and needs to start getting some more exercise.

We had a relaxing weekend, having given away our tickets to the Gator - Alabama game. It is just as well that we did, as the game - while exciting - was a loss for the Gators. One team showed up with a game plan, the ability to amend its game plan, and a group of players apparently ready to play on offense, defense, and special teams. Unfortunately, all of those positives were shared by Alabama, and none by Florida. Fortunately, it is just a game.

We went to see Diane Sunday evening, and enjoyed another nice visit. She is off to Maine today, so our contacts will be more indirect and less often. She seems to be doing well. Labs and clinic were held again this morning. Again, everything looks good, except for the blood sugar. We are trying some other new things, different times for tests and different dosages of the 70/30 insulin. This is affecting my creatinin levels, but even with the blood sugar problems, the doctors appear quite happy with that most important test.

No headaches to speak of over the weekend, but some cases of the shakes. It appears possible that low magnesium could be having an effect in this area, so I have been given a magnesium supplement which I will pick up this afternoon.

My wife drove me to clinic, and then went to work. I drove from Dunnellon - about 30 miles - and will drive back to pick her up. I felt fine and have had no side effects, so maybe I am beginning to work through that problem, although I still recognize I have to feel right to drive, and that I may have to pull over, check blood sugar, and adjust to be safe. The watchword is careful, and I am going to abide by it at all times.

While waiting to get into clinic, we overheard one man saying that his kidney function had lagged and that he had been through two biopsies the first month. It just brings home again how lucky I have been thus far. Also, I shared the bread wrapped around the Prednisone pills trick, and found that I was not the only one who had problems in that area. I was thanked by several people for the idea.

Three Weeks and Counting