Update on My Dad

My dad has been back in the hospital since Monday. His cardiologist sent him in after his blood tests indicated kidney failure. We were thrilled to learn the problem is instead a blockage and a cyst on his left kidney. However, his symptoms are mimicking that of kidney failure, including more fluid around his heart.

He had the fluid from around his heart drained yesterday and has a tube in his chest to drain any more that accumulates. The cardiologist and renal specialist said his heart is healthy, that the problems are coming from his kidneys.

He has been taken off almost all his medications (and there were many) to start fresh. Some drugs were actually making his symptoms worse, including fluid in his lungs. Side effects may have been an issue too.

I’m glad he’s been admitted to the hospital. He has a team of doctors working together and literally reading off the same chart. Before, he was driving all over the city, from one doctor to the next. They were all trying to help, but no one had a complete picture of the problem.

I talked to my dad late yesterday afternoon and he sounded better than he has in at least a month. My mom has noticed a clear improvement too. Now we wait while my dad gets poked and prodded some more. That’s not as hard as it sounds — we’ve been waiting for two years as one thing after another has gone wrong and no one can figure out why. To have a good group of doctors with a clear focus is reassuring.

That’s what I know for now. Thanks for all your good wishes and support. I’ll keep you posted.

Coping, Symptoms

An Update on My Dad & How I’m Doing

My dad came home from the hospital Friday and is doing well. He’s having trouble with atrial fibrillation, which shortens his breath and tires him out. This morning my mom went with him to see his cardiologist and came home with new medications. He’ll take them for a couple weeks then have a follow-up appointment.

My sister arrived Saturday and we’re all having a lot of fun. We haven’t been together as just the four of us in years. I am blessed with a wonderful family. We love each other deeply and laugh nearly constantly.

I’ve felt pretty good the last week. Reglan is getting me through the daytime nausea. I’m taking Valium for it at night and have woken up every morning ready to go. I’ve never tried Valium for my headaches before, but it seems to be helping them too. Maybe it’s the quality of sleep or level of relaxation.

Most important is that I’ve listened to my body. Instead of pushing myself until I fall over the edge, I meditate as soon as I notice signs of an impending meltdown. I have so much to tell you about what I’ve learned from meditation and how helpful it has become — much more than I ever expected. I need to get back to my family now, but will share with you as soon as I can.

Thanks again for your love and support. Knowing you’re pulling for my family and me is so comforting.

Coping, Treatment

Where’s Kerrie?

In Phoenix! My dad is in the hospital with pericarditis and had a liter of fluid drained from his heart sac. I’m here spending time with him and helping my mom. My sister comes in Saturday and I’m looking forward to the four of us being together.

Thankfully, my head pain has been low this week. The nausea is still present, but I’m controlling it pretty well with Reglan (metoclorpramine) and, when I can sleep for 12 hours, Valium. Breathing and meditation, skills I learned in my mindfulness-based wellness class, have been invaluable. I’ve been able to keep several “attacks” at bay, even with the stress of flying.

Monday’s appointment was only long enough to address the nausea. It was disappointing, but I have an appointment when I return home. My internist also has the list of all my symptoms, which I hope she’ll get a chance to look at before my appointment.

Posting here and on the forum are obviously not happening much lately. I’m not gone for good. Writing blog posts helps me think and cope, so I hope to continue posting at least twice a week.

Thanks for all the good wishes! Your support and love is keeping me going. I’m taking fairly good care of myself and hope you are too.