Monday, March 24, 2008

Stuff

I figured I'd contribute, here's some random stuff.

It's freakin' hot ! 88 degrees today, and it's only been spring for three days. Because of my catheter, I cannot swim, and I'm not supposed to even shower. Thank God I got the fistula, as soon as it matures in a month or so I'll be able to swim, which is good because it'll probably be in the 100's by then. My fistula surgery went well, I went back to work today.

Our dog is a terror. It's like she forgot all her training, unless there's food involved. She only comes near us to nip at us, and cannot calmly sit on our laps or allow us to pet her. Occasionally she'll bring us a toy and allow us to play tugowar or throw it for her. I think she needs another dog to play with, or more training stat.

Arizona sucks for allergies. T has been sick for three days. She's pretty miserable.

That is all for now, I'm going to beat the dog.

-Joe(hammed)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March Madness

  1. Joe gets his av fistula surgery tomorrow afternoon. YUCK! Hopefully there will come a day...and soon!!...when he won't have to be stabbed by doctors all the time. He needs a break!
  2. Lucy is cute!
  3. I forgot to fill out and submit my MarchMadness brackets for our work game pool - which means I'm not going to win!!!
  4. Maybe we'll win PowerBall tonight instead?

Lucy likes sleeping on Joe's lap with her head at his feet.


Proof here is. Blogging Joe does.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Good Laugh!

video

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Garlic

Just writing a mid-week post to say hello and let you know what's going on...

Not much has happened since the last entry. Joe is still going to dialysis on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays. He completed his first week this past Saturday and...thank goodness...so far so good!

He says that he hasn't noticed any drastic improvements in the way he's been feeling lately, but he hasn't been getting sick in the mornings anymore and no longer has night sweats. I know that there have been many times he's felt very sick to his stomach and over the past week, it seems like this has diminished greatly (correct me if I'm wrong, Joe). So that's the report for now.

Joe will (hopefully) be speaking with his social worker to get him into a new center (one that's closer and better quality) and on a new treatment schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)...so hopefully that will happen soon.

As for me, "life is good":
  • Joe is getting good treatment and is on the path to getting a new kidney (they haven't called him for a consultation yet, but at least the ball has started to roll)
  • Lucy is such a sweetheart (except when she's not, of course....ha ha)
  • My job is getting a LITTLE more interesting (more on that to come)
  • The weather, while hot earlier today, is now GORGEOUS as I type this on the patio
  • We don't have puppy kindergarten on the weekends anymore...which means we can start camping and doing FUN STUFF!
The only complaint I have is.....garlic is a MONSTER to peel! I hate, Hate, HATE peeling garlic. I know, I know....I could buy the minced garlic that is already peeled. But seriously, people...you'd think there would be an easier way than to try to peel the ridiculously thin skin from a clove of garlic!

Until next time,
XOXO

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I am literate

Theresa asked me to write a blog, and a certain sister of mine was accusing me of being illiterate because I never respond to emails or write blogs, so here's my contribution. I started dialysis last night , and it was interesting to say the least. I had to go straight from work to get there for 3pm, fighting traffic to drive 30 miles (I get out of work @ 2:30). So I got off the highway and look around, and realize I don't want to be in this neighborhood during daylight, nevermind after dark when my treatment is done. I really questioned whether or not the car would still be there when I was done.

I found the place and went in, and realized I am the youngest person there...by about 50 years. I got checked in and met my social worker. He's a nice guy, but he's a little weird. He ends every sentence with a laugh, he's from Maine, and he lives with his best friends wife. whatever, I go to the clinic to start my treatment and the nurse comes over to make me sign more paperwork, and there's screaming from the lobby. All the nurses run out of the room, then a few run back in looking for the "crash cart" and then leave with the cart, and don't return for half an hour. I swear some old person must have died out there. I never did get an explanation. On a side note, aren't people in the health care industry supposed to be healthy ? One of my nurses (who I'll call tiny) must have been 400lbs. But I digress. So I finally got hooked up to the machine, and the procedure started and really the only side effect was weight loss (4 kilos) and hypothermia...they keep the clinic at a balmy 32 degrees and you have to have your access site exposed at all times. Your access site being where the machine is hooked up to, in my case a catheter in my neck, so I had to wear a tank top for 4 hours. I watched TV, read a magazine, and finally it was over so I went looking for one of the 2 nurses that spoke english to ask them questions, but apparently their shifts had ended and they went home leaving me to ask an asian nurse who sucked at the english questions. I still don't know what the answers are. At least the civic was still there when I walked out. I called United Health Care today, I'll be switching clinics ASAP.

Voila, there's my contribution.

Joehammed

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hemo Rhymes with Chemo

For those who aren't fully up-to-date on everything going on, we sincerely apologize. Life has...(how shall we put it?)...been a little on the hectic side for the past several months. Here's a quick recap, though, to catch you up:
  • The Christmas season began to approach (way too quickly, as always) and Joe's vision became a little spotted.
  • Joe decided to visit the eye doctor to see what is wrong.
  • The optometrist told him to go to the ER right away because of high blood pressure (which was causing his optic nerve to pull away, thus causing spotty vision).
  • Joe was admitted overnight for observation. The original plan was to get him on blood pressure control medication and send him home.
  • But days passed and, after many tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, bloodwork, and a kidney biopsy, it was decided that he was in the end stages of kidney failure, or End Stage Renal Disease (which I will refer to as ESRD from now on).
  • They discovered (somehow) that his ESRD was caused by a disease called Glomerulonephritis, specifically IgA Nephropathy, more specifically Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis. I've researched a LOT about this, but don't want to go into TOO much detail right now, otherwise this post will be a bojillion pages long.
  • As a result of this disease, in which the immune system progressively destroys the kidneys, they decided to put him on chemotherapy (to sort of "attack" his immune system so that it would stop harming his own kidneys).
  • After two rounds of chemo, Joe's lab results showed that his kidney function was getting worse.
  • His doctors sent us to a modality class, which explain different methods of treatment for ESRD
  • The options (and I'm TOTALLY paraphrasing here): Hemodialysis (a process done in a lab in which they remove the blood, filter out the toxins and return the blood to the body), Peritoneal dialysis (a process you can do yourself in which a solution is infused into the peritoneal cavity, the solution then acts as a magnet for all the toxins in the blood and then the solution with all toxins is removed from the peritoneal cavity), Transplantation, or no treatment (which would, obviously, have the worst effects).
  • Joe's preference (in order): transplantation, peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis
  • Because of the negative results of Joe's most recent bloodwork, he got a call late on Friday saying that they needed to start dialysis right away and, because of the urgency of it all, hemodialysis was the option available.
  • Normally, in order to start hemodialysis, an arteriovenous fistula needs to be formed in the arm to allow for maximum blood flow. This is where a vein is fused with a major artery in the arm to make a sort of "SuperVein". This fistula, however, takes at least a couple months to mature and become strong enough for treatment.
  • So....the only way to get quick access to Joe's blood was to put in a venous catheter in through his neck. It sounds kind of gruesome, but isn't that bad. It is a little scary to think about since the catheter goes in to the superior vena cava of the heart (for those who don't remember from 7th grade science class...it's the major vein that carries blood directly to the heart)...but it's something that is temporary...to be used until he has a chance for a fistula to mature.
  • Catheter was put in on Monday morning.
  • First dialysis treatment was this afternoon and...so far, so good. Joe's relaxing on the couch now with Lucy laying across his lap (she's FINALLY calming down).
  • Now he begins treatment 3 times each week in addition to a very strict diet. FUN! At least we'll get to keep cooking new things and learning how to be more healthy (hey...I'm trying to put a positive outlook on this!)
Sorry for the earful....I just wanted to keep you all informed as best as I can for now. I don't know when dialysis patients start to notice results, but his first treatment was today, so hopefully there will be notable difference in his next round of lab tests. I've heard that a lot of people start to feel so much better, healthier, happier, having more energy, feeling less sick, etc. etc. etc. Ideally, Joe would like a transplant. And, since he's so young (and has 3 beautiful and healthy sisters who, we believe, are all willing to donate), he's a great candidate for transplantation. But [in the interim] I really hope this treatment works well for him because...well...that would just be wonderful if it did!

So wish him the best and MORE...

We'll definitely keep you posted.

Until next time,
XOXO

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds

And, yes....that's really her name. And, to be more specific, her pedigree shows that her name is LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS FUR. The "Fur" is her last name.

We were kind of half joking when we sent in the AKC registration, but thought it was kind kind of humorous to see the full name printed. Heck, we only call her Lucy anyway, so it doesn't really matter, right? Unless we decide to train her good and put her up in dog shows. But with everything else going on, I don't think that's really in the cards. Plus, then we'd have to spend forever each day training her. And she's so stubborn that it would probably take double time training!

Anyway, due to popular demand, here are a few of our favorite snapshots of her:

For more pictures of the little diva, check out Dog Paparazzi and click on the Grand Canyon picture gallery. Our little girl is famous!

Until next time,
XOXO
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