When I started this blogging thing some time back, I said it would not be about me, but about my viewpoint of things going on around me. Accurate or not, they have been my viewpoint. Today, I am going to digress from that statement somewhat. It will be a little personal, but maybe questionable on the accurate part. You decide. OH! and there are several people involved in this post along with me, but their names have been changed or just not mentioned in order to protect the guilty. So, on that note, bear with me, or just bow out. Your choice.
A long time ago in a galaxy far away. Oh wait, that story has already been told. Start over/
A not so long time ago, in a place close to here, I applied for a life insurance policy. Since this required me to take a physical, I went to the named person for the normal pokings and proddings. And givings. And in some of the giving there were found microscopic droplets of blood. So this particular test was done a 2nd time to determine if it was correct. It was. So I went to my doctor to determine what was going on. To speed up this post, I went to a urologist and was sent to a big hospital in a big city where some nurses rolled up some towels to about the size of a small barrel and then bent me over it while the Dr. brought out his core drill and took a core sample of one of my kidneys. The resulting tests determined that I had a disease that would cause my kidneys to deteriorate over a period of time. I ask if I would need dialysis or a transplant. Nope, he said, I would die of old age or some other thing before that likely came about.
Well, time marched along and I continued to be monitored by Doctors and had tests done and in 1998 I was told to go to the North country, AKA Albuquerque, for tests to be put on a transplant list. After several trips to the North country and many vampire pokes, and other tests I choose to forget about, I was added to a kidney transplant list. I February of 1999 I went to the local place of sick people incarceration and had a people carver install a fistula in my left wrist. Don't know what a fistula is? I am sure Bing or Google can enlighten you. I was starting to feel bad and just attributed it to being fat and old. But in June of 1999 a nephrologist told me I was going to have to have dialysis. What is a nephrologist? you ask. Well, that's just a fancy name for "this is gonna be expensive. He was a good kidney Dr. though. I say was, because he eventually relocated to another state and I no longer have contact with him. With his pronouncement, though, I objected. I had places to go, things to do and people to see. A nurse in that clinic said that if I didn't do this, I would get really sick, go to the hospital and they would bring me to dialysis on a stretcher. I it would not be easy to recover. So I went to work and told the boss I would be off for a couple of weeks, and why. They started me off east, using a 17 gauge needle. By contrast, a needle that you receive a shot in the clinic is about a 32 gauge or so. After a few sessions of dialysis I was graduated to a 16 and then a 15 gauge needle. Or rather two of them. 4 hours a day, three days a week. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I won't go into all the experiences I had while on dialysis, but I managed and I got to go places and do things and see people. An d I continued to work operating large mining equipment in an open pit copper mine. For reference here, if interested, go to phmining.com and look at the 4100xp. Yep, that is what I did.
Well, after 23 months on dialysis I received a new kidney. And a lot of medication. And trips to the North country for infusions of high powered medicines of some sort. And a set of instructions longer than this blog post. Don't push shopping carts, let your wife do that. Don't work in the yard, but if you do, use leather gloves. And above all, don't handle filthy lucre. Yep, money is one of the most dirty and germ laden things in our society. Fortunately that wasn't a problem. So, now I am back to a somewhat normal life, but with changes that my wife and I learned to live with. Stay away from sick people, especially kids. And don't mess with animals, especially birds. And on and on. Over time the meds decreased and some of them have went away all together. But the one that suppresses my immune system is still very much in existence. I use a lot of hand sanitizer. Sometimes I tend to get lax. A few years ago I got as bad Staph infection and had a part of my left ear trimmed. But it just never healed, so I was eventually sent to a plastic surgeon in the East country. I was put in a people carving institution and the above named surgeon carved on my left ear, and then carved on it some more and then carved on it a third time. Finally the lab told him the skin cancer was all gone. All this from a staph infection and a bout of MRSA, what ever that is. Now I am ear marked, but not branded.
So what is all this leading up to. Well, a few weeks ago a friend of mine had a heart attack. He recovered and is doing good, but he had to change his diet and a few things, but he told me that was a wake up call for him. He is a rancher and he works hard and making the changes that were suggested hadn't occurred to him.
Well, since I retired from the mining industry, my wife and I have started walking and eating better and I have lost weight and feel good. And this past Saturday wasn't seeming to be any different. We were up at 5 a.m. and then went for a walk as soon as it got light enough to see. Walked 2.5 miles according to the ped o meter I had on my pants pocket. Came back to the house and had a cup of chocolate. Watched a little Saturday morning TV and my wife started breakfast. Suddenly I started to shiver like I was cold, but I knew I wasn't. I went to the kitchen and the thought of the food my wife was fixing made me nauseous. Note. I said the thought of eating the food, not the food itself. I headed for the bathroom to throw up. I didn't but felt like I needed to. I returned to the bathroom a couple of times for that purpose, but didn't throw up. But I was definitely not feeling good and I didn't know why. Around 9 a.m. while sitting on the edge of the tub so I was close to the receptacle of any thing that might spew from my mouth, I just slid into the tub, sideways. Picture a cartoon Tom who has just been cold cocked by a cartoon Jerry as he oozes down a set of stairs on down a drain. That's how I felt. The main difference is that Tom revives and continues the mouse chase being no worse for wear. I did not. My wife eventually got me out of the tub with a lot of work on her part and a little effort on my part and got me to bed. Where I spent the next 7 hours. She gave me an aspirin in case I was having a heart attack, which I assured her I was not, it just didn't feel like that. I thought it might be a mild stroke. My wife was concerned and I was also. However, I was able to get up at 4 p.m. and each some soup and a sandwich. By Sunday morning I felt better, but still somewhat weak. My left leg was swollen and red. My Stake President and an Elder from our ward came by that evening and gave me a blessing. Need more information on that statement? go to a LDS or Mormon site on the internet and look it up. Or call a missionary.
On Monday I felt better still, but my left leg is still swollen and red, so I went to a Dr. She checked me over from stem to stern and mid section also. After she finished, she said no heart attack, no stroke, just MRSA. Yep, another Staph infection. When ask by my wife how I may have gotten this, she said I was a dirty old man and infected myself. Well, she didn't say it quite like that. What she said was that we as humans have a lot of germs crawling around on our skin, just looking for a place to get in. Now, a normal person, when they scratch themselves and one of those germs crawl in, the immune system calls up the troops and they come storming in with guns blazing and annihilate the bad guys. In my case, with my suppressed immune system, when one of the bad guys comes in, the troops have stand down orders. The marines and the army and the air force may put up a token resistance and the navy may come sailing down an artery and fire a weak torpedo, but they are mostly just token resistance. So, knowing this, I have to be vigilant. And mostly I am. But this weekend has made me realize I missed something. So to fight these bad boys, or girls, the Dr. prescribed to antibiotics and had her nurse bend me over a table and give me a shot where it would do the most good.
So what is the purpose of this post. Just killing time while the meds are killing germs. And like my rancher friend, this weekend has been a wake up call for me also. Not for the same reason as his, but as a reminder I cannot let down my guard and become complacent on health issues. My wife ask me how I knew I wasn't having a heart attack. My answer was I just knew. But did I really? After 40 years working in the mining industry and all the training classes I went to and all the things we were taught about health issues, including signs of a heart attack, I just knew I wasn't. Why did I think I might be having a stroke? Because I was weak and disoriented, I was slurring my speech and was just well, a cartoon cat sliding down a stairway with no control over my muscles. Turned out neither of those happened, but what did was bad enough to say, Hey, wake up and pay attention. I encourage any of you who may have actually made it this far to also become aware of your physical self and take care of your self so that you may not find your self in a position and not know what is going on. I will be paying more attention to my self and try to lose the complacency that I have seemed to slip into.
AND THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK