Saturday, December 07, 2013

I'm Free

Y'all probably have guessed by now that I'm out of the horse pistol. They actually let me go late Wednesday night - about 10:30 or so. I had Cuzzin Tom take me to Wally World for a few supplies - I stayed in the pickup. However, we ended up going back to the hospital for him to get his pickup, and  I drove home. Since it was so late, I was unable to fill any prescriptions, so I had plans to do that Thursday. Until I more or less slept until noon or one, and went back to sleep and didn't wake up until 5pm. I had a couple doctor appointments on Friday, so I went to those and made it to WalMart.

Looking back on what I've posted, I did say I fell, but I didn't say why. For some odd reason, I could stay on my feet fully clothed, but at home in underwear and a t-shirt my legs would shut down. I've got a pinched nerve. I could feel it coming on, and generally sat down for a couple minutes and things went back to working for another ten or fifteen minutes. I could feel my thighs going dead and thought I could make it to my chair. Nope. I dropped like a rock.

After living in the crappy bed and furniture at the hospital, I find that I'm more or less numb in my lower back. The bed had my ass asleep most of the time, and moving around didn't help. I can't tell if things have shifted enough to help, but it does seem to be that I can get around half nekked now. Just too numb to be sure. Since I have diabetic neuropathy, none of this is any surprise. Just something else to live with.

Officially, I was admitted due to congestive heart failure. In practice, that means I've filled up with fluid so much that when I ate something, it cut into space for the lungs to expand when I breath. My heart would also be surrounded by way too much fluid. Nothing actually failed, but things were certainly labored. By definition, I have COPD.

I also have borked kidneys. All the drugs are taking their toll on my major organs, and the kidneys are on the front lines, as it were. Diuretics force the kidneys to work harder, and eventually the drugs lose their effectiveness. The main test for kidney function is to check the creatinine levels. Creatinine is a waste product from the cells burning energy from food. If that is high, then the kidneys aren't functioning properly. So, my doctors had to try several different strategies with different drugs to still take water out of the blood, and retain effectiveness. Another thing that was borked was my red blood cell count - I was pretty anemic. They gave me two units of whole blood cells to help fix that. Apparently healthy kidneys signal blood marrow to produce red blood cells, and if the kidneys are out of whack, this does not happen. So anemia is another indicator that things ain't right with the kidneys. Now, however, my creatinine levels are normal, and I'm slowly losing water weight. I've also got an appointment with a nephrologist. I also have an appointment with the podiatrist that drained my infection in my foot as well. Since I've lost a lot of feeling in my feet, having someone look 'em over isn't a bad idea.

When I went to see my doctor, I told her I was sick of living like this and wanted to change things. One of the things I was aiming for was for some sort of bariatric surgery, probably of the lap band variety. All my doctors seem to be on board with this thinking, and she's working on getting me in to Via Christie's program in Wichita. Honestly, it's either do that or die within a few years. I may kick the bucket at any time anyways with the borked ticker I have, but if I don't do something, I'm stressing too many crucial systems by continuing to live the way I do. And if I do lose the weight, I'm removing most of the stresses.

I've managed to give up just about every vice I've ever had except for eating. Quit smoking cigarettes? You just don't smoke 'em anymore. Lose weight? You still have to eat something to survive. Very different. I guess that's my excuse for not having any willpower.

Which, for me, is the crux of the dilemma. Honestly, I have only myself to blame - I've blown right past common sense when it comes to taking proper care of myself. I don't exercise and eat way too much. I could rail on my parents for not blessing me with the genes necessary to pull that crap off, but I knew my decisions were bad when I made 'em. You will NEVER hear me cry out "Why ME, God?!?!?" I know the answer to that question already. It's my fault.

I can fix it, though, if I work at it. Do I wanna live or die? Pretty simple.


Dad Bones said...

You're a survivor, Jeffro. You'll probably figure out the best way to keep going without even thinking about it.

Jeffro said...

I sure hope so!

threecollie said...

You have a lot to cope with, but it sounds as if you are doing a great job.

Jess said...

It's all about inspiration and determination.

The inspiration is the wake-up call of health problems.

The determination is the hard part, but becomes easier when you realize your goal isn't some ethereal thing beyond reach.

I think you'll have fewer problems than you envision. Your determination is what brought you this far in your life. Focusing it on something else should be a walk in the park.

SteveK said...

So glad you're out of the hospital, Jeff, and I know things are going to get better for you.

lisa said...

Glad to hear you are out of the hospital! Heart and determination will get you through, and of course your team that routing for you!

Anonymous said...

Excellent, - you're out of the hospital. Now it's up to you to carry on the program.

Btw, I was just reading a blog by a biochemist who teaches in some medical school + teaching hospital, she was talking about bariatric surgeries. What she said you might find worthy of further research: that lap band alone might not have long-term success rate (after 5-7yrs some of the patients gain back what they lost (by eating very high-calorie food in small portions), but if it 's combined with gastric bypass, the prospects are better and also - NB! - it reduces (or even eliminates) Type II Diabetes.
Apparently, it is a known effect - see, f.i., this article:

I don't know what type you have, but that's something to think about.

So glad you're better, Jeff. I am worried about you.

drjim said...

Good to hear you're back home, Jeff.

Earl said...

Well, you have a large support base to josh you into better behavior, but like you said you have done many great changes on your own - difficult to change enough when you aren't looking, you have to know what you are doing all the time.

Keep moving, a little all the time. That will help, you are a complete system, not a bunch of parts.