Saturday, October 29, 2011

Immunizations & Rescheduled Dental

Chris got his flu & pneumonia vaccines administered at Wal-Mart in Boise today.

The test results weren't available from the dentist on Friday, so that appointment has been rescheduled to Thursday.   They said they'd call if the results are in before then.

Coming up:
 - re-testing the bloodwork Mon or Tue
 - dentist Thurs
 - more vaccinations (Hep, Tetanus, etc.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dental Delay

The dentist called this afternoon and doesn't have the results yet from Chris' bacterial DNA testing.   We'll be rescheduling to sometime next week, it looks like, so he can get the results and then the appropriate treatment.

Blood Test Results

Ashley from Dr. Mallea's office just called with some results of the bloodwork Chris did late last week.

Two issues:

(1)  His iron was very low.   She said he is going to need a series of infusion treatments that will last over a few weeks.   She will be checking with Humana first to see if they're covered and then having St. Luke's call us to schedule.

(2)  He had a spike in his creatinine levels, meaning that his kidney function is way down.  Of course, this is of great concern to Dr. Mallea.   The doctor is pushing once again for Chris to have the surgery to install the catheter to allow for the peritoneal dialysis.

Regarding issue 2: Chris told Ashley that he wasn't feeling any worse, and feeling worse is the main symptom that Dr. Mallea was having us watch for in regard to kidney deterioration.   She said that the creatinine level spike might have been due to dehydration.   Chris asked to be retested and Ashley said she'd send us over a new bloodwork order.   When we get that, we'll make sure Chris has plenty of fluids and he'll take another test.

Up next:  Dentist tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ross = Rock Star

Okay, so I doubt a trip to the cardiologist's office counts as "fun", but today's visit was pretty close.   We saw the nurse first and she did an EKG after taking a quick history.  The EKG was quick, but we both hate when they shave off little sections of Chris' chest hair.

Then Dana, the nurse practitioner, came in with an observer.  Dana didn't seem to think Chris necessarily needs the full-on stress test.  She listened to his heart and really seemed to enjoy herself.   She said his heart murmur is 'really cool', and she asked if the student NP next door could come listen.   Then the observer said, "I'll come back with my stethoscope.  I want to hear it, too!"

My boring organs are jealous.  This even happens at the eye doctor!  They always want to show their student/associate/nurse/etc.  Chris is one cool dude.  (At least at the cardiologist's office, they're not shining a really bright-ass light into his eyeball to get a better look.)

Everyone got their own personal dose of Chris' heart noises and Dana said she'd put together a letter for the U of Utah folks today to OK the transplant.   YEAY!  :)

I got to feeling a little better on the way out when one of my Copic marker students came up to me and said how much he loved my class.  This was like 20+ months ago, so that was cool.

Next stop on the Transplant Train is Friday's dental appointment.   He'll get a cleaning plus the results of the bacteria DNA rinse thingy that he did last Friday.   At that exam, they said he had no cavities or tooth decay -- so we might just get a clean bill of health.   If not, it'll be a 3-month series of aggressive cleanings and a re-test.

Chris is having some back pain.   He has degenerative discs, arthritis and some mild scoliosis, so we made good use of Groupon and purchased some certificates for massages.   He has one scheduled for tomorrow noonish.   We hope this will give him some relief.   BenGay hasn't been working.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nothing's Easy!

Today we thought we had a quick & easy dental exam.   Not so!

Well, in truth, the exam itself was quick & easy.  However, the dentist is being thorough and not just signing off on Chris' transplant paperwork.   He gave Chris a special bacteria test.  This consisted of a mouthful of salty fluid which he swished in his mouth for a set period of time and then spit into a cup.  The cup will be sent to a lab for bacterial analysis.

We'll go back to the dentist next Friday and see how the test went.  Chris will also do a full cleaning at that time.  With luck, his bacteria levels will be normal and Dr. McRae can sign the form.

Coming Up:  The kidney doctor's office called this morning and said they're OK with the nuclear stress test, so Chris will go ahead and have that on Tuesday the 25th.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Emerging Issues

When I woke up this morning, Chris was on the phone with Doug (the transplant coordinator from U of Utah).   Doug had received the echo report from the cardiologist's office.  Doug said that due to Chris' valve issue, we'll need to have Dr. Undesser sign off on any kidney transplant surgery.

Dr. Undesser's office called and scheduled a nuclear stress test appointment for Tuesday the 25th.   I'm concerned, though, because this test typically includes the injection of radioactive substances.  Normally, this isn't a huge deal... but because Chris' low kidney function doesn't allow his body to eliminate foreign substances like other people's bodies do, I am afraid this test might be a problem from the kidney doctor's perspective.   I called and left a message for his nurse.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Application On Its Way

It's been over 20 years (did I just say that?!) since I sent out my college applications, but I remember that feeling.  The application has been sent, but the transcripts and letters of recommendation are pending.   Just like now!

The big form was completed over the weekend and mailed on Monday.   Tuesday we faxed a request to the cardiologist to send over the most recent echocardiogram report.   Chris has an appointment to do the dental exam on Friday morning here in Eagle.

We've done quite a bit of research/phone calls for the immunizations and we think we have that nailed down, too.  The nephrologist's office said that doing multiple immunizations at one time will not be problematic because of Chris' condition.  Walgreen's Website has a great function where you can see what immunizations are in stock at which store and then actually make an appointment to receive them.  Here's a link.  So handy!   And the Walgreen's with the shots IS in Humana's network.  (It's not our absolute closest Walgreen's, but it's within 5 miles.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Packet

The big packet from University of Utah came yesterday, and we filled out all the paperwork this afternoon.  It will go out via post-paid envelope tomorrow morning.

We have some phone calls to make tomorrow:
- Dentist:  Chris needs to have an exam and the dentist needs to fax back a form stating that he has no oral infections.  His last cleaning/exam was in January 2011, not within the 6th month period required by this checklist.
- Pharmacies:  Chris needs a battery of vaccinations.  (Some others we may not need to have, but they'll tell us if he's immune after he has a blood test in Utah.)  Also we'll need to look up which provider(s) are in Humana's network.  Then, we'll need to select a pharmacy that has the one-dose Tetanus in stock.
- Nephrologist's Office:  We need to find out if he can have vaccinations several at a time, given his condition.  How long in between shots or groups of shots?

Luckily, a few things on the checklist are either done or not applicable.   For example, he had an echocardiogram with Dr. Undesser within the last few months.  And, since he's male, he gets to skip the PAP smear and the HPV vaccination.

For now, we'll work on getting the tasks on the checklist completed.  The packet states that once the dental paperwork is in, we'll get scheduled for the pre-transplant clinic class.  These take place on Wednesdays in SLC.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looks Like Utah!

Today we had our appointment with Dr. Mallea.   Chris had a bad day Monday and was feeling a lot better today.

Chris' weight is down EIGHT POUNDS since the appointment with Dr. Davidson just one week ago.  Amazing how much fluid/water goes away when you're watching sodium intake!

I was really frustrated because today our insurance provider said that neither Denver transplant center was on our insurance network.  UGH!  I had already made appointments with both of them, and cancelled one, and now I have to cancel the other.

Dr. Mallea suggested Utah, and said he has had good outcomes with them and they're easy to work with.  Easy?  Sounds nice!  :)   They're also closest to us (only 5.5 hour drive).   His office contacted them quickly, and now we're awaiting paperwork from University of Utah Transplant Center.  Guess what?   Our insurance says they're a YES.   Whew.

After we go to Utah for the initial meetings, which we think will be mid-November, then we'll get a list of tests for Chris to complete.  After Chris completes his tests AND after the tests have been evaluated and approved by the folks in Utah, then we'll get a list of necessary tests off to his mom (and hopefully, donor) -- which she can work on in Florida.

We did go to Chris' kidney doctor today and went over his meds.   Chris will do blood lab tests in about 2 weeks and go back to the kidney doctor in 2 weeks after that.   (11/16)