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Archive for June, 2012

Retina surgery…the day at a glance!

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

3:30 am – alarm goes off. Eye surgery day. Dr. Benjamin Spirn is going to remove scar tissue from Mark’s retina which is impairing his vision.

4:50 am – Dunkin donuts for coffee and sandwich.

5:25 am – check at JFK Hospital.

6:20 am – brought into Same day Surgery unit. Blood drawn. Blood pressure and pulse. More waiting.

7:40 am – potassium level is too high. It is 6.2 should be under 5.5. blood redraw done. They said sample hemolyed which may cause high reading. Mark’s never had high potassium so I think it is a lab issue.

8:15 am – waiting for bloodwork to come back. Eye drops are administered. Five different drops and three of each.

8:25 am – Dr. Spirn comes to see us. He says if potassium is not lower he won’t do the surgery because there is a high risk of heart attack. He will make determination after results come back. He is taking his next patient.

9:10 am – blood work is back. The potassium level is now 5.0. The surgery is on. I believe we are next after he does the surgery on the patient who was in the slot after us.

9:25 am – been awake for 6 hours and fading fast. Yawn. Guess who has a bed, blanket and pillow and us snoring away? It is not ME!

9:35 am – Dr. Kinsey, the anesthesiolgist came by to pick up Mark’s chart for review. Does that mean surgery is soon?

10:10 am – Operating room nurse came by. They are still with the other patient. More waiting. And for the record, she asked all the same questions as the last 10 people.

10:45 am – Dr. Spirn came in and talked us. It should be soon.

10:59 am – Dr Kinsey came in to briefly talk to Mark. He will be putting in the IV although I was a little concerned when he wanted to put it in the left arm even though there is a bright pink Limb Alert bracelet because they can’t use that arm because of the graft.

Now I do more waiting. Dr. Spirn says it will take about an hour. I figure I won’t hear anything until close to 1:00. Then an hour in recovery, and back to floor one where we started. I figure I am gonna be here for another 3 hours, at least.

12:55 pm – surgery is over! Dr. Spirn cleaned out the blood, removed the scar tissue, and did some laser surgery to reoair the leaky blood vessels. He put an air bubble in the eye to seal it and create a patch so it can heal. Mark will have a patch for a day. Dr. S thinks this will improve his vision and help in the long run. Mark is on his way to recovery and in a little while they will call me to go over there.

We have some prescriptions. We go to see Dr. S tomorrow morning for patch removal and check up.

So I think the worst is over…as far as this episode goes…

Can’t wait to go home and take a nap! Been awake for just short of ten hours and functioning on 3 hours of restless sleep!

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Categories: kidney disease

Clot… Clot…. Working it’s not!

June 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Last night at 2AM Mark wakes me up to ask me to feel his arm. He mumbles something about his graft not “whooshing”. I feel his arm, and sure enough, the graft is as dead as a door nail. No thud. No whoosh. Not a thing is moving through it. Guess what that means?

A trip to go see Dr. DeLaura so he can clean out the clot and get the graft working again. I woke Mark at 8AM this morning so he could call the office and get an appointment. He was able to get one for 1PM, and the car service would pick him up around 12 noon.

I spoke with Mark a few times during the day. The last time being about 3:45, and he still had not been seen yet. I’d have been furious, irritated, and most nasty. But not Mark. He takes all things in stride, and it takes a lot to make him angry. He said that there were a lot of emergencies today, and the 10AM patient showed up an hour late, making the whole schedule get backed up.

I know in cases like this, there is nothing you can do. Yet patience has never been my strong point, and I would have started to get antsy (to say the very least). Come to think of it, antsy would not be a good way to describe me. Other words like livid, irritated, frustrated, nasty, bitchy, and whiny come to mind!! LOL

But any way, Dr. DeLaura fixed Mark’s graft…. the clot is cleared out, and the whoosh whoosh is back. For the time being anyway! I’m sure Mark finds it extremely frustrating to have the graft clot every two weeks. Not sure why it keeps clotting up. No one seems to know why. The answer seems to be to take Plavix every day, double up on the aspirin…. take less Plavix, take less aspirin…. Get the picture? There are no real answers here.

Mark is going to try Plavix every day and one aspirin. He’d been taking the Plavix every other day. This might help prevent the clotting. Who knows? When school starts again in September, he’s not going to be able to take off a day of work if this continues to clot every two weeks. It makes it very hard to maintain normalcy. And his new principal sure is not going to like that kind of absenteeism. That’s gonna cause a huge problem for him!

For now the graft is working great and whooshing along….. Let’s see how this goes.

Categories: AV graft Tags: , , ,

Graft Issues…not QUITE so scary anymore!

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, Mark had another appointment with Dr. DeLaura at Image Guided Surgery today to get his graft cleaned out. It’s been bleeding for a longer time the last few dialysis treatments. When I say bleeding longer, it means that the time required to clot (after the needles are removed) went from about 6-7 minutes to 15-17 minutes. That’s a long time — especially when you consider that it adds to the total time at the dialysis center!

Dr. DeLaura told Mark that he didn’t see anything structurally wrong with the graft (always a good sign!!). He cleaned it out, and sent Mark on his merry way.

This made me think of the very first time that Mark’s graft clotted and they couldn’t perform dialysis. They sent him to “The Access Center”. I think it was in West Orange, NJ. It was a pretty scary thing (hard to tell if Mark was scared since he has a “it is what it is” attitude.”) I didn’t know that the graft could clot. No one ever told us that. I didn’t know that they could clear it out with angioplasty. The way that the dialysis center made it sound was that he had a blood clot. That is MUCH different from a clotted dialysis graft. I know my imagination ran away with me, and I was thinking surgery to replace the graft, a new catheter in his chest, or even worse…. death!

Now, three years later, I know that these things are (generally) able to be fixed, and that the graft can be cleared out. While there are always risks and dangers, this is no longer one of the things about kidney failure that terrifies me. But believe me, there are many NEW things that have taken its place!!!