Our "today" actually started around Thanksgiving last year (2011).
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 ...
About 22 years ago - around 1990 -, when Rick was 30 years old, he got the first "attack" of gout.
Anyone who deals with this knows that when it hits (especially for the first time) it is not gentle and quiet. It is usually a full frontal ATTACK from what seems the very pits of Hell itself!
2 a.m. He is awake with what he thought was a broken toe. Cannot stand for anything to touch it. Cannot stand for me to even move on the bed, or across the floor.
When it was a more decent hour - he called his dad and was telling him about it. His daddy said - "Welcome to my world! Sounds like gout to me."
We did not know what gout was - nor how to treat it.
Rick's dad and mom drove 2 hours to our house, brought the medication that his dad had been using for several years - and Rick soon had some relief from the intense and excruciating pain.
22 years follow that morning ...
Years of reading and research.
Tweaking the diet - finding out what brings on an attack, and what keeps one away.
Learning how to live with this sometimes crippling disease.
He saw several doctors in those years - gout was affirmed and reaffirmed, many times.
Allopurinol was prescribed as a treatment to help keep the gout under control.
Indocin was prescribed as a treatment to help with the intense pain during an attack of the gout.
Never was a word said of the serious and life changing, life threatening, side effects that were possible.
Oh, we got and read the paperwork from the pharmacies thru the years.
We even talked to the pharmacists and the doctors about possible - probable - side effects.
But nothing was ever found or said about the severe side effects ... those that don't always happen, but CAN ... and DO.
1995 ... Rick pulled a hamstring at work one day. Company sent him to the doctor. Doctor found that his blood pressure was high, and sent him to his family doctor for a check up before being released to return to work.
Family doctor agreed that he had mild to moderate high blood pressure, but wanted him to try diet and exercise before medication.
During the course of examination, blood was drawn ... Doctor said that Rick had diabetes.
Sent us for diabetic teaching ... no medication if it could be controlled with diet and exercise.
For the next 12 years - diet, exercise, no medication. Not always "good" in what we ate. Not always regular in exercise. Not always good numbers. But ... sigh.
Around 2007, Rick went in to have a DOT physical so that he could drive a truck. Failed.
Blood pressure. Blood sugar. Both too high to pass.
We went to the doctor ... with much discussion and arguments - between Rick and me, us and the doctor - and after many questions and research ... medication was given and taken.
Lisinopril was given for the high blood pressure.
Glimepiride and Metformin was given for the diabetes.
And once again - nothing was said about the life changing, life threatening, side effects that CAN happen ... and DO.
Side effects that happen not so quickly.
Side effects that have the potential of turning your life upside down and inside out - quickly and surely!
So, with diet, exercise and medication - gout, high blood pressure, and diabetes ... for the most part controlled.
Rick's blood sugar to our knowledge never went over 250. Except for the twice that he had an abscess on his back. And then it was at 300 - 330 for about a week.
A1C's were not "off the chart". Not the best always, but mostly on the high side of "normal".
Bottom number was consistently between 65 and 85 ... very rarely going above 85.
Top number would range from 125 to 195 - depending on various factors, and whether he had taken his medication before the reading or not.
At one time, he decided to stop all medication.
Within 2 weeks he was feeling BETTER. And his numbers were BETTER. More stable and solid.
However, the numbers were not low enough without medication to pass the DOT physical.
So, in order to drive a truck and make a living ... back on the medication.
And we find ourselves where we are today ...
Oh, my word! I haven't written here since August! Good grief!
Where has the time gone???
Caught up in the storms of life ...
Just trying to breathe in and breathe out ...
With Rick a lot on the truck from August till December - oh, I know, "Don't ask, don't tell" - we didn't ask, and we didn't tell. Saying it now - but ...
The holidays came. And they went.
We spent Thanksgiving at Joshua and Dessie's. Enjoyed good food and sweet love and hugs. :-)
Christmas ... well ... Christmas ...
The new year began with Rick not working as much - loads weren't available. And when loads were available - more day trips than anything else.
So, I spent more time at the house - going thru stuff, cleaning, trying to organize, and rest a little.
Rick's medication came up for the yearly checkup and renewal.
He also had a cough - not productive and basically no other symptoms ... just a cough.
So, on January 10, we went to the doctor.
She gave him the renewal on his blood pressure and diabetes medications.
And she prescrived him an antibiotic and an inhaler - also gave him a steriod shot ... for the coughing.
Because it was his yearly checkup - it was also time to draw blood and have labs done.
LIFE CHANGES SO QUICKLY!!!
I have a link at the top of this blog for all that has changed health wise for us ... "The Journey to Recovery".
Please - keep Rick in your prayers, and add him to any and all prayer chains (me, too).
This is totally new and unchartered territory for us.
God is good - all the time.
And He is Sovereign.
Even when it seems that things are out of control - they aren't out of HIS control.
Nothing catches God by surprise - which is why we often have "unanswered prayers" - just because He does know what is coming and how best to prepare us, keep us, and work us thru it all.
Trusting in HIM and in HIM alone.
Remember to show your love and appreciation for those in your life ...
Tomorrow may change everything ...
And tomorrow may never come.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here