Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Chris' echo and his visit with the Cardiologist was just fine. They called later to say that everything was normal, and added "for you". They were pleased that he had lost so much weight.

Yesterday, we went to the mall... armed with a gift card and a few items to exchange. Chris found two belts (not stretchy!), a dress-up shirt for a wedding we're attending in May, and a pair of jeans. Size 38/29. Jeans are a significant purchase because he hasn't worn them for 15+ years. His balance due after the gift card was applied? Eleven cents. Thanks, Mel!

Weight right now is 201.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Dr. Koble's office called Monday to follow up on Digit's eye. It's certainly better than Tuesday when Chris took her to The Cat Doctor, but she's still winking and is clearly still irritated. (Chris has taken to calling her Babe-raham Winkin'. Nice.) We picked up new medicine {Erythromycin ointment} for her yesterday and are administering it 3x/day.

Speaking of phone calls from the doctor's office, Chris heard from Valerie late last week. Apparently, upon further examination of his labs, Chris is leeching Calcium. I think it may just be that he's no longer drinking 3 gallons of milk per week. But Valerie thinks he needs a prescription-strength calcium supplement. So yesterday we picked up Calcitriol 0.25 mcg capsules which he'll take every other day. Hopefully this will help.

I did call the cardiologist today for the echo appointment. The receptionist saw Chris' chart but it didn't say he needed an echo.... just a doctor visit. So she'll call me back and we'll figure that out too.

Edited to Add: Glad I asked her to check because he DOES need the echo. That's scheduled for Tuesday, April 21st at 9am with a follow-up with Dr. U at 10am. [I seriously wonder what happens with patients who don't have someone keeping track of everything like this.]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Doctor Days

We see lots of medical professionals, and this week's no different!!

First, Chris took Digit to The Cat Doctor this morning. Her eye was bothering her. We got an eyewash solution last night at the drugstore, but it turned out to be more than just a little irritating thing in her eye... it was an eye infection. So we've now got medicine to apply to her eyeball three times a day for the next 7 days.

Digit was sneezing a bit, so her bedding is in the washing machine now... this time with dye-free and fragrance-free detergent. (I thought I was doing her a favor by adding extra pretty-smelling fabric softener, but it turns out she may not have liked it so much.) Sorry, Widge!

Chris is nearly 100 pounds lighter than the last time we went to see our vet, Dr. Koble. I'm sure it was cool for Chris to have someone be so amazed by his weight loss. I bet it'll be similar when he sees Dr. Undesser (as soon as I call to make the appointment... note to self!).

Then Chris saw Valerie @ Idaho Nephrology this afternoon. She scared us six weeks ago with her poster and questions, but today was different. Chris' labs were EXACTLY the same as the last visit, which means his kidney function is very stable. But his these labs have been nearly identical since mid-2001. So, while we are armed with some information now about dialysis & transplantation, the stated goal is to not have the kidneys deteriorate further. His blood pressure was a little high at the beginning of the appointment, but taken later it was well under the 130/80 point. (This 130/80 point is where we need to keep his BP -- if it isn't done with diet/hydration/exercise/relaxation, it'll have to be done with medication.) Oh, and he was at 211 today. This is 10 pounds less than his weigh-in only 6 weeks ago!

His next follow-up is in late June, this time with Dr. Mallea. And the week after that is his 1-year follow-up with Dr. Oakley. Still need to call Dr. Undesser, though, for the annual echo & heart stuff.

Speaking of doctors... we're taking the CR-V to the car doctor tomorrow for a water pump, timing belt and oil change. I'll probably stop by Pep Boys for an air filter and then over to Les Schwab for a tire rotation and pressure check early next week. Whew!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kidney Meeting

So this afternoon was the much-anticipated kidney meeting at the DaVita location in Boise. There was a video (which Chris & I watched alone in a room... and during which I got up and changed the calendar on the wall) and then a technician came in and read us a printed-out PowerPoint presentation.

Basically, there are choices with pros and cons to each. We probably would have done better by just reading the Wikipedia articles on Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis. We asked a few questions (like whether the length of each treatment varies on a patient's size and how one goes about preparing for a transplant), but they weren't answered. She did give responses, but not any sort of answer specifically related to the question asked.

After the sales pitch, we went to St. Luke's for Chris' labs. We'll be back on the 17th with Valerie's interpretation. Oh yes, and it's time to call and schedule an annual echocardiogram & cardiologist appointment! :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Clothes (and Pizza!)

Chris doesn't eat much in the way of carbs anymore, but there were some he just couldn't resist. There's a terrific pizza place nearby that has something called "Your Day". When it's Your Day, you get to come in and make your own pizza with any toppings you want... and it's free. Chris took me when it was My Day and on March 4th, it was His Day. I tried to get the turkey hat on My Day, but it was already taken. Chris got lucky and wore the turkey hat, as you can see. From what you know about Chris, it should be no surprise that his pizza was full of meat, cheese, and meat. He even skipped the mushrooms so this would be an all-animal pizza. Good grief.

Frank was his assistant in the pizza-making venture... and he introduced Chris to their oven (called Dante) and all the other pizza equipment. Even the vat of flour had a name. Frank was hilarious and very well-cast.

Then for his monthly (eight months!) post-op picture, here he is! He's all decked out in new button-down shirt and slacks that fit nicely. He got a 2nd shirt today, too. Thanks to Mom, who sent the gift card! He spent only about half of it today and I'm sure he'll find more nice clothes there soon.

We've got our meeting with the kidneyfolk on Thursday the 12th along with bloodwork and then a follow-up with the doctors on the 17th. It's a busy 2 weeks coming up!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

7 Months Post-Op

I find this picture of Chris to be rather amazing. Last summer, this shirt languished in his closet because it was too small. Now it's too big! He's down to 220.

He needs new pants and at least one new belt. Things are falling down. He's almost done weeding out his super-sized clothing from the closet. Thanks, Mel, for the shirts from Penney's! He wears those almost every day now. We're planning a big yard sale in the spring, and 4XL men's clothing will definitely be up for grabs!

We did finally hear from the dialysis place today as a follow-up to our appointment on February 4th (read about it here). They only do these meetings on certain Thursdays at 2:00. (We hope they're more flexible about other things!) We're scheduled for the 12th of March.

His next kidney doctor appointment is March 17th, and he has to have labs done a few days prior to that. We save some time and take him on Thursday after the meeting if we're up for it. In the meantime, he's supposed to be checking his blood pressure at various times during the day and keeping a log. And keeping hydrated. And all the other things on the list.

One important thing on his list is not to get sick -- so much so that he even has to take antibiotics when he gets his teeth cleaned {which reminds me...}. By midday today, I wasn't feeling so hot. I really hope I'm not coming down with something.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Nephrology News

We met with a new Kidney specialist today. Chris had been weighed (221... woohoo!) and had his blood pressure checked by the nurse. Normal range. No problem. Typical rubber-stamped follow-up. We thought.

Then she came in, toting a big poster. Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Renal Failure. Grrrreeaaaattttt. Chris is in the middle of stage 4. She started talking fast. Are you itching? Are you nauseous? How's your energy level? You're anemic. Your bones are losing calcium because your kidneys aren't making enough Erythropoietin. You'll need injections. You've got some edema here in your legs. Keep checking your blood pressure. Let's take it now. 130/70, we need to watch that. Do you take iron? You'll need more Vitamin D. There's a presentation on options for dialysis vs. transplantation. Their office will call you. We may have to medicate for blood pressure. Check it often. Let's do blood work. Come back in 6 weeks. We should check for Phosphorus.

(Seriously, checking his blood pressure in the middle of all that? It was probably 180/100 by the end there! I know mine was.)

We interjected a few questions we thought might be helpful. Can he eat more protein in an attempt to counteract the anemia? No. He's taking Calcium with Vitamin D already, will that work? No, not a high enough concentration. He's got an iron supplement in his bariatric vitamins. He'll need more.

I left the office deflated. I thought losing all this weight and being off the medications was a terrific thing. He was finally going to be OK... like before all this craziness. And now he's not. I haven't cried yet. I think I'm still in shock. Feeling lethargic, defeated, frustrated, sad.

So my plan is to get as much rest as I can tonight (come to mama, Klonopin!) and try to hop back on the horse tomorrow.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year, New Guy

Here's a before-and-after comparison of Chris on the 10th of July 2008 and on the 10th of January 2009, just six short months later.

In the old picture, he's wearing a 4XL t-shirt. In the new picture, he's wearing a new XL shirt his sister-in-law Kristine brought him from the Denver area. {She originally brought an XXL, but it was too big!} Also notice that it's tucked in!

His 6-month surgical follow-up appointment was a success and everything looks good. They did recommend a change in vitamins but, since we just purchased a 3-month supply, he will be switching at the beginning of April. His weight right now is 227, which is 80+ pounds less than his pre-op appointment weight.

I'd say that's pretty ROSSOME!