His dialysis nurse called yesterday asking about him. I told her that he is still having some pain, it still burns and itches. And we are having problems with the foreskin (too much information? sorry). She said that if by Friday morning we see no MARKED improvement - as in little to no pain or discomfort - then bring him to the Paris ER. That is the hospital that Dr. Greenwell works out of, as does the urologist that Rick has been referred to (but doesn't have an appointment with him for another month). Enough is enough.
Rick and I talked about this ... and neither one of us wants him to have to go to the hospital. He does not a good patient make. And it's hard to retain your dignity when you have to lose your privacy and pride. KWIM? But ... it's time. If these medications do not work completely in these 3 days - ENOUGH.
*His total blood count is down to "8". That is almost low enough to require a blood transfusion. Which is something they really do not want to do. Not only is it hard on his body as a dialysis patient, but it takes away a lot of the chances of a transplant should he be eligible otherwise for one.
*His protein level is down to "3.4". Should be no less than "4". But then, he hasn't been eating like he should be. For one, he hasn't felt all that good the last month - but that is probably because his blood is low, and his protein is low. And for another, we really have not had the groceries to eat 3 meals a day + 2 high protein snacks a day. Sigh.
*His potassium is up just a little - so we have to pull back on potatoes, tomatoes, and oranges. Not that he cannot have any - just can't have them every day for the next couple of weeks.
*His phosphorus is WAY TOO HIGH! He was out of his phosphorus binders for a couple of weeks, and then we got the natural ones. Whether it was being out of them, or maybe the natural ones aren't exactly the same - I don't know. But his phosphorus is up - so we have to really cut down on the high phosphorus foods, and we have to make sure he takes the binders with every bite, with every drink. Which is hard - because he only has enough to last maybe the next 10 days or so? Then the prescription needs filled again.
*His blood sugar is still not stable. The doctor has put him on Humalog. Rick has enough to last a couple more weeks. The prescription is good - but we don't have the $70 to get it filled. Sigh. Doctor said we may have to go to the "old" insulin, in a vial - see if we can afford that and see if it will work.
*Rick is struggling with fluid overload. That seems to be an ongoing battle. He is a water drinker! But with less activity, he cannot drink as much. Sigh.
Rick is disabled. And with the physical challenges/limitations/disabilities - comes a mental and emotional disability/depression.
I have found some things that I "think" would help him - but we have to wait until we can afford to buy them. You don't realize what simple, little, every day things can mean to someone who is stubbornly independent - but who can no longer do those simple, little, every day things. Sigh.
*Tweezers ... something so easy as using a pair of tweezers on his beard can bring such frustration.
*Home and bath products that were developed for those who have challenges. Awesome - and the ones that Rick needs are not that expensive.
Now, for the discouragement and depression? I am empty. I have prayed, cried, shared the Word with him, listened, spoke words of encouragement and life, counted our blessings out loud to him ... Nothing seems to help - at least not for longer than what these words hang in the air.
The nurse said that she would talk to the doctor about medication - but so many of the medications have the serious side effects, as well as so many of them do not work well in a dialysis patient.
Please pray for him. I think more than anything a sense of independence and a sense of control would help fight the depression. But then ... maybe that's just wishful thinking.