What happened

As some of you read on Facebook and other various places, I had a bit of an experience last week. Here’s the details.

Tuesday before last (Nov. 30): I go to bed and start shivering uncontrollably. Somehow I get through the night.

Dec 1: Fever. Still shaking. Call in sick.
Dec 2: I ran out of medication for cholesterol, so I had to go see the doctor and have blood drawn. Yay. No fainting. Still feel lousy.
Dec 3: Sick. At home. Sleeping a lot.
Dec 4: Doctor gets hold of me and says that according to the blood work, I really should go into the ER.

Let’s talk a brief bit about normal kidneys. The way your “health” of your kidneys is measured is in how much creatinine is in your blood. Healthy adults usually have a creatinine level of below 1. When my blood was tested in May, the level was 1.2. Yes, I have high blood pressure, and I’m fat. Those affect the score, but not enough to scare a doctor.

However, the level of creatinine in my blood (6.3) was. If the number gets up around 10 (representing about 10 mg of creatinine per deciliter of blood), then you’re going to need dialysis.

In short, my kidneys were failing, and it wasn’t until Saturday that we realized this.

So, off to the hospital, where I get admitted to the level that isn’t quite ICU, but is more frequently checked than regular patients. Intermediate Care means your vitals will be checked every two hours, round the clock, and that’s where I went.

As some of you know, I’m needle averse, especially when it comes to drawing blood. I’ve fainted before, although I think I’m getting better at responding to it. Thus, when the nurse wasn’t able to get the IV started for the first three sticks, I wasn’t terribly happy. However, they finally succeeded in hitting the vein in the top of my hand. After securing it with enough tape such that I thought I was wearing an old-school Nintendo Power Glove, they started the IV. Why did it take so many tries? Dehydration. If you’re not hydrated, it makes it harder to find a vein.

So I spend Saturday through Tuesday at the hospital, watching the creatinine get flushed out of my body. The case perplexed my doctor and new best friend the nephrologist, simply because the only thing that was used to fix me was saline solution. The assumption was that due to the virus (which wasn’t flu) and sleeping the better part of three days, I simply didn’t get enough fluid in me to make up for what was going out, and I wound up being extremely dehydrated to the point of renal failure.

Given all this, it’s pretty easy to see this was a wakeup call of the largest magnitude to do something about my health. I have to lose weight; there aren’t many other options for me. I have to exercise. It’s no longer an intellectual stumbling block. It’s my life, and unfortunately, it’s affecting me in another way.

The other weird thing that’s happening in my health is this condition called pseudotumor cerebri, where there’s elevated cranial pressure without any real reason. The medicine I was taking to control that has the potential to hurt the kidneys, so I had to go off of it. The consequence of that is swollen optic nerves from the cranial pressure.

Hopefully I’ll be able to go back on the medication, or another medication will work. If not, there are some unpleasant choices that I’d have to make, and I’d much rather lose weight and live a normal life rather than go through surgery.

So, that’s it.

2 replies on “What happened”

Comments are closed.