Monday, August 19, 2013

Progress with kidney.

Progress with kidney? Not much.

This morning I took my last dose of antibiotics that I've been taking for a week to knock out the staff aureus infection I had in this kidney. I still have the nephrostomy but the bag doesn't get nearly enough 'action' - maybe a teaspoon per day. I will have my blood tested again this week to see if the creatinine has gone down. I'm hopeful but not very optimistic. This kidney doesn't seem to be doing much of anything even with this tube giving it a clear drain-way.

I still bike to work every day and we drove 2 hours to Green Bay on Sunday to see the tall ships. I'm no longer feeling knocked out by the antibiotics and I'm taking a pro-biotic to help my digestion. So I feel fine. The nephrostomy hasn't been a problem but it will be nice to get it out just the same. But I'm in no hurry - just in case.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Too easy.

Too Easy

My friend calls them 'piss bags'.

Right after my surgery to replace my cancerous bladder with a neo-bladder, I had two of them and  when he would see me, he would say; "How are your piss bags?" I'd tell him (truthfully) that they were a pain in the butt.  They keep filling up and I have to keep emptying them - which is more repulsive than it should probably be.  But they are also heavy and uncomfortable as they fill up. They are hard to hide - if you're self-conscious. So I was very happy to be rid of them.

I have a 'piss bag' once again with this nephrostomy. The good part is that for the past 5 days - since it's installation - I really haven't had much to do.  The bag doesn't get heavy or make a bulge. It doesn't need emptying because it doesn't fill up.  So I just fold it up, pin it to my underwear and forget it. Every day I empty a couple tablespoons of fluid but that's about all.

But, of course, I know that this is also the bad part. This represents the total output of my left Kidney and should be measured in cups and not tablespoons (if I were measuring things). This concerned me right away and the day after the surgery I called my urologist. He said it sometimes takes a day or so for the kidney to recover and start producing again and I should call if it doesn't start in another day.

The next day was a Saturday so I talked to the doctor on call who recommended I go to the ER and have an x-ray to see if the tube had moved out of place in the kidney. Four hours later the radiologist ( same guy) injected some dye and said everything was still perfectly positioned.

He had tested the urine when he first placed the tube because it was thicker than it should be.  He said that the lab came back positive for infection. He said that he's seen this before when a kidney is having troubles (my words). He recommended that I call my urologist on Monday and see about some antibiotic.

Monday, my urologist called me and put me on a week-long course of antibiotics. I hate taking these things but we're fighting to save a kidney here so ...

I've been looking up kidney friendly diets. Hmm.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Can This Kidney be Saved?

The last 6-month check showed creatinine levels a bit higher.  Another test, after a month,  verified and showed a continued rise.  Once again I am asked to come in and visit with my Urologist. These meetings scare me.

Over the past couple years, my Creatinine levels had pretty much leveled out - high but steady - but on my last two checks they have started to inch up again. Nothing real serious, according to my urologist, but a sign that the tube that drains my left kidney (the one that has been swollen) into the neo-bladder may be closing up again with scar tissue where it is attached to the bladder.

So here I am with a brand new tube coming out of my back and draining into a brand new bag on my leg. I've had this tube before but I haven't had the bag - so that's new. The surgery was easy. I was awake and able to move my head to look around, able to move my arms to get more comfortable, and talking to the nurses and anesthesiologist through the whole thing and I even still remember a little of it.  But there was no pain.

They wanted me to hang around for a couple hours after it was over to make sure I was functioning again. I had a hearty meal and drank a lot of water, since I hadn't eaten in nearly a day or drank anything for about 8 hours. The radiologist, who put the tube in, told my wife that everything went fine. He was a little concerned that the urine was so thick and he took a sample to be analyzed by the lab.

It's been about 12 hours since the surgery and I just biked in to this coffee shop and from here I'll go to work (I'm working again).  I feel fine now but I did wake up in the night with some pain and I was a little nauseous. I took an Advil and lay back down - both of which helped.

There hasn't been much flow into that bag and it's still quite red. So it crosses my mind that maybe the urologist is less optimistic than I had thought. Maybe the real purpose of this nephrostomy is to conclusively prove, to both him and to me, that this kidney has stopped working and needs to come out.

We'll see.  The plan is to keep the tube in for a couple weeks.