Diagnosed with ESRD - End Stage Renal Disease in 2010 with 28% kidney function left. In January 2013, it dropped to 5%. Started twice a week Hemodialysis in February. My beautiful and courageous wife, Ninette, came forward willingly to be my donor and we started with the work-up in March. We finally finished everything and got approval 08 July 2013. We had the procedure the 25th of the same month.

Our journey continues...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Symptoms and Hospitalization

Image courtesy of Peter Quaife - The Lighter Side of Dialysis

For the past month before I started dialysis, I noticed that I was always tired. That it was easy to sleep anytime and anywhere. My heart rate was almost always elevated and doing regular tasks left me exhausted. It was becoming more and more difficult to get up in the morning to get ready to go to work. Taking a bath was an unpleasant chore. It left me panting and gasping for air for a couple of minutes after. At work, the elevator was my new best friend. Two floors up or down, I get on. One floor I don’t, but always dreaded it. 

Cold. I almost always felt cold. I wore a jacket everywhere. With hoodie on in air-conditioned places. Even the car air-con in sweltering outside heat made me shiver. There were times when I’d shake continuously that my wife, Ninette, thought I had Parkinsons. It is most uncomfortable. Also, at least three colleagues noticed and mentioned that I was pallid.

Food became unappealing. I’ve been trying to check my intake and have reduced it the past several months. I lost a little weight. But fruits were a different story. I loaded up on fruits especially for breakfast. You know, jumpstart your metabolism and all that myth. So every meal was concluded by fruit. Christmastime in the Philippines is fruit time. A lot of imported fruits, mostly from China, saturate the supermarkets. Christmas parties offer several choices. So I ate fruit. Better alternative than all the starchy Christmas fares. Fruits. Who could go wrong, right? And fresh coconut juice. No soda, no fruit juices. Fresh coconut juice. Refreshing, healthy, low calorie.

So feeling all those, I was convinced I needed to see a doctor. And I went to the last doctor I saw two and a half years ago. The nephrologist at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. I went to him on a Monday. Then had fasting blood extraction Tuesday. I went back to see him with results in hand Wednesday. Uremia, he said. Urine in blood, literally. Low hemoglobin count. Screaming creatinine and potassium levels. Five percent kidney function remaining. Dialysis ASAP. Dialysis for life. “Go home, get your things, check in to hospital.”

I had to ask the stupid question, “What if I do not undergo dialysis?” But unlike the question, the answer, albeit said calmly, was simple, common sense, loud and clear, “You will die.”

I called Ninette up, picked her up from the university, drove to my workplace to get requisite PhilHealth(Medicare) forms, then drove home to get supper and change of clothes. Like a good patient, I got myself admitted to hospital.

It is my intention to record this journey. How I am going to fare? I don't know. Will I be able to keep this up? I don't know. This disease is making me learn in a lot of ways. My thought process and my true feelings may not come out as I am no writer. I just need to do something during those eight hours of dialysis a week. So why not this?

My hospital stay and first hemodialysis experience next.