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...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How does a kidney patient look like?

As part of clearance for a KT, I underwent ultrasound of the whole abdomen last month. The results showed some enlargement of the prostrate gland. So I consulted a urologist to make sure that the condition was not significant as to be alarmed. I filled up an info sheet just like anybody who sees a new physician. The form asked for some history, so I wrote that I was an ESRD patient seeking urology clearance for KT. The doctor was reviewing my form when I entered his office. Looking up at me, he asked, “Where’s the patient?” I replied that I was the patient. Then he said, “You don’t look like a kidney patient.”

Um... Ah... How does a kidney patient look like? Well, I guess I should take that as a compliment because I know exactly what the doctor meant. It’s the look of some patients I meet regularly in the NKTI Hemodialysis Center. This certain look. An aura, If you will. Pallid but dark, lacking in vigor, with an aimless stare. One the depicts defeat. I learned later that this happens when one is under-dialized; those who miss/skip sessions, those who go to the center just once or twice a week even when the doctor prescribed 3 sessions a week. I just hope I won’t reach that stage.

Going back to the urologist, he cleared me after performing a DRE and ordering a PSA test(the subject of my last entry).

With this development, I went to see Dr. Celestial(my nephrologist), to consult on what next steps to take assuming that I get a go from cardio come July. So again, scores of blood tests for me and Ninette(my wife and potential kidney donor) among others. Dr. Celestial told me this is the stage 3 out of 4 stages of tests for KT. When we clear all 4 stages and all documentary requirements, everything will be submitted to the ethics committee who will evaluate all results and documents and hopefully, approve the transplant.

I still learn a few things about ESRD and living with it. Sometimes I feel that medical professionals just do their work without educating their patients as well. Don’t get me wrong, they are very good at what they are doing. They are very well trained. But sometimes you learn details on your own. By reading, by talking to other patients and their companions, by experiencing. Yesterday in dialysis, a tech passed by my chair and did a casual glance at my machine’s touch-screen monitor. And he stopped and told me to inhale deeply. Apparently, for patients with a Permcath as access, taking deep breaths at certain times during dialysis is needed to prevent low arterial pressure, and prevent the alarm from sounding off. The nurses did not tell me that, the doctors did not tell me that. A tech did, and I had almost an alarm free session last night.