Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Bad News, The Good News, and The BEST News!!

First, the bad news. Don’s abdominal pain increased to a level that was almost unbearable last Monday. So, after our monthly visit with the home dialysis care team at the Fresenius East Center, we headed for St. Mary’s Hospital and checked him into the Emergency Room. Don’s primary care physician (PCP) Dr. Robertson in Benson had suggested that he get checked for mesenteric ischemia, as noted in my last blog post. The ER doc agreed to order the angiogram (CTA with contrast) and keep Don in the hospital overnight.

On Tuesday morning, in prep for the angiogram Don’s nurse was delivering an FFP (fresh frozen plasma) because he has been taking warfarin. Just as I walked into his room, he had a reaction to the FFP, with his blood pressure hitting 210/120 and he was sweating profusely and shaking uncontrollably. Two nurses, two techs and the doctor were trying to take care of him when it was decided to transfer him to the ICU. I followed them and it didn’t take long for the ICU crew to stabilize him. The procedure was rescheduled for Wednesday morning.

Long story short, a multitude of tests were conducted during the next several days, and all of them turned up negative, leaving the cause of Don’s pain a mystery. It was discovered that he has Barrett’s Esophagus, and possibly a small stone in his gall bladder. Neither of these could be causing the pain.

That’s the good news. Don has no cancer, no polyps, no growths or abnormalities. His innards have been scanned from top down and bottom up, scoped, and examined every way imaginable. His body seems to be doing well. However, the pain persists.

Today Don and I met with a nurse practitioner who specializes in pain management. She is working to reach a level where Don can tolerate his pain since the source can’t be found. The doctor on duty this week isn’t as interested in finding the source of the pain as last week’s doc, and wanted to discharge him today. Don knew he had the right to appeal the discharge, which he did, and will be able to stay another day or so to work with the NP.

Now for the BEST news. Two phrenologists (kidney docs) have reviewed Don’s creatinine and GFR and have concluded that his kidneys have rebounded to a level where he doesn’t need dialysis! WOW! Prayers answered! After 9 months we understand that it’s very rare for kidneys to recover, but we’re so happy Don’s are in that small minority!

When we first learned yesterday that this might be the case, we both hoped against hope that it would prove true. Now that we have definitive results and advice, we became absolutely giddy in our joy! Time to celebrate! We’ll still watch his kidney function with frequent tests and continue to have him monitored by a phrenologist, but we no longer have to perform dialysis! HURRAY!!!

I have no pictures from this week, so here’s a happy selfie of me and Gigi.