For the last 3 or 4 years, Rick has gotten a cough/congestion about twice a year.
Usually about the time the weather makes a drastic change.
The last round of it, we went to the doctor and she gave him a steriod shot, followed by a round of antibiotics, Mucinex-D and an inhaler. Within about 3 or 4 days he was feeling A LOT better.
So, this past Thanksgiving when he came down with it again, he immediately started using the inhaler and taking the Mucinex-D. He was able to keep it from getting so deep seated ...
But by the first of the New Year it was still hanging on, and he was about out of the inhaler. It was also time for a medication check-up (annual).
I called the doctor and made an appointment for January 10, 2012 ... not knowing that that day would mark the "before" and "after" for us ...
The doctor checked him out.
Said that his lungs sounded clear, even tho he was coughing. She said that she believed the congestion was in the airway, not in the lungs. Gave him a steroid shot, a prescription for antibiotics, a refill on the inhaler, and a refill on his high blood pressure medication and diabetes medication.
Because it was the annual checkup - it was also time to pull blood and make sure of the numbers.
We left her office and went out to Wal-mart's. Turned in the prescriptions to be filled, and walked around buying a few groceries while we waited.
Rick had been having a lot of trouble breathing, but now he was already breathing better. He walked around Wal-mart for over an hour without any breathing difficulty. We were rejoicing!
Picked up the prescriptions, went home. Brought in a load of wood for the fireplace. Just fixing to set down and eat supper and watch a movie.
My phone rang.
THE phone call.
It was the nurse from the doctor's office. She said that we had to get Rick to the ER immediately. I looked over at Rick (he was standing there) and asked why? I told her that I was looking at him and he was fine. His color was good, his breathing was good.
She said that he was "critically anemic" and that under law she not only had to call us, but had to call the local ER. And by law we had to take him to the ER and get him checked
So, off we go to the ER.
All the way there thinking that there had to be some kind of mix-up with the lab results. ?????
We walked into the ER and they asked why we were there. "Your guess is as good as ours. We were told to come up here due to a low blood count." ?????
They got Rick into a room, nurses came in and started checking him out. Pulled more blood.
Doctor came in and told us that his blood count should be no lower than a "12" - his was at "6.8".
Indicating that he was about 4 pints low!
The doctor kept asking questions about how Rick was feeling. (Fine.) He wasn't bleeding out anywhere ... had no symptoms of low blood count - no fainting, no disorientation, no pale skin, nothing.
Doctor said that they would have to admit Rick in order to give blood.
By 10:30 p.m he was in Room 327 at the hospital.
Blood had to be matched correctly. So, it was around 1 a.m. when they started the first unit. By 3 p.m. on Wednesday he had received 3 units of blood. His blood count had only come up to around "9".
More tests were being done ... blood drawn and tested ... X-rays ... Ultrasound ... CT scan ...
Numbers were all screwed up ... potassium, phosphorus, red blood count, and words that I had never heard of!
We found out that the only way to get potassium down quickly is to have a major case of diarrhea. They were giving Rick something to drink every 4 hours - he said it tasted like chocolate milk with mud in it, and very sweet. YUK! The faces he made! But not funny ... sigh.
After 5 days in the hospital ...
"Acute Kidney Injury with Renal Failure"
Rick's kidney function tested at 21% ... dialysis is recommended at 15% or below - so not now.
Dr. Tobin (kidney specialist) says that there is a possibility of some recovery ... and a possibility of never having to have dialysis.
Medication usage complicated by adult onset high blood pressure and diabetes. Possibility of high blood pressure and diabetes being caused by damage done to the kidneys due
to medication. ???
*Dr. Tobin told us that 1 25 mg of Indocin can damage the kidneys to this degree. Rick was on this medication for 22 years! Not continously, more for the first 10 years. The last 10 years or so has just been when there was a major flare up of gout.
*Metformin is a good medication for diabetes, but it attacks the kidneys as well. Rick was on this medication for the first 3 years of diabetes medication. The last 2 years he had not taken much of it - cause it was making his blood sugar to
drop below 50.
*Lisinopril is the high blood pressure medication - but it raises the potassium, often to a dangerous level ... as in Rick's body ... potentially attacking the heart. Rick had taken this medication for 5 years.
So now ...
We go thru the doctors, the additional testings, labs, teachings and trainings ...
And we learn to live with Kidney Disease ...