WEDNESDAY June 8th – Dan was feeling a bit better Weds due to the dialysis and was even up for some visitors. This was especially good news because I had to leave my post by his bedside and return to work. On the one hand it was very hard returning to work, but it was also helpful to see the sights outside of the hospital and to not be 100% focused on the kidney craziness.
I spent a good chunk of time communicating w/Dan’s family in England and also my family here (both were supportive and superb), as well as sending out texts & Facebook updates to let people know what was going on. It was beautiful to see so many people express their love and prayers for Dan, but despite the “virtual friends” it was very isolating. After 3 days of just me, Dan and a ever-changing stream of nurses and doctors, it was amazing to have flesh-and-blood visitors from Weds on.
After Dan started to receive dialysis he began to (finally!) show signs of improvement. He began producing more urine but his blood levels were still a disaster. All in all, Dan was more alert and awake and able to eat a little too (practically the first food he’d held down since last Friday). He still felt some nausea and a pain that he described as having a huge weight literally on his chest, but was less bloated since they removed excess fluids when they did dialysis.
THURSDAY JUNE 9 though WEDS JUNE 15 – Dan was improving and they moved him to another room, where he didn’t need a heart monitor. We even entertained hopes of still attending our dear friend Russ’ wedding in the Adirondacks that weekend…. but it was not to be.
When Dan improved after disalysis, it was hard to tell if his kidneys were beginning to function, or if the dialysis had just done the job his kidneys weren’t doing. The main way to know if one’s kidneys are working is if his urine output matches his fluid intake, so we kept a constant tally of every milliliter Dan took in and put out. Peeing was also important because if Dan started retaining fluids, the fluids could fill his lungs, causing pulmonary edema or congestive heart failure.
Thankfully, the doctor was optimistic enough to postpone the operation to have Dan receive an permanent-catheter that would be necessary if he needed to have continued dialysis treatment after being released from the hospital. The catheter currently in his neck couldn’t be used outside of the hospital due to high risk of infection.
And so the rollercoaster continued. Every day we asked the nurses, what the prognosis was:
“Will I need more dialysis?”
“When can I get out of hospital?”
“How are my blood test results?”
And they would reply, “You have to ask the doctor.”
But the doctor was usually only available for 10 minutes a day – which 10 minutes was hard to say! And you don’t even want to know how much money they charge for that 10 minutes! But, actually, despite the limited contact, our nephrologist was great.
Not knowing is the hardest part.
And the better Dan felt, the more restless he was to GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL! And after “camping out” at the hospital with him for 10 days, I felt the exact same way.