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Friday, February 25, 2022


Today's dialysis was a trial.

Yesterday my appetite came back with a vengeance and I was able to keep all food down (a rarity of late), so my body was craving solid sustenance. I ate everything in sight, but I made sure to watch my fluid intake. (Late stage kidney failure patients are allowed only thirty-two ounces of drinkable fluids per day, and that's it.) Nonetheless, when I weighed in this morning my weight was 6.5 kilos over what it should be (100 kilos), most of which was food weight. (I had not deuced-out yesterday or this morning, so there you go.)

I got a new Russian nurse today, as Shaunda, my favorite nurse, had the day off — girl deserves a month, and an all expenses paid vacation at Club Med — and when she heard my weight and compared it to my departure weight from my last session, she was shocked at the gain. At first she was about to scold me about fluid intake, but I politely cut her off and explained what I just outlined. She considered what I said, and then she called Olena , the hardened veteran nurse whom I adore, over for a consult. Olena absorbed the information, and I asked her what was the maximum amount of fluid that could be taken from me that would be safe. My usual max is four kilos, but five was possible, depending on my blood pressure, but that much can cause painful cramping, so it is mostly advised against for patients. Considering how much I came in with, I asked her if we could see how well I take the removal of five kilos. As I trust Olena without hesitation, and knowing that she was around should something go awry, I agreed to give the removal of five kilos a shot.

The treatment went fine four the first three hours, and I slept through much of it. But then, during the final forty minutes, the tendons of my lover legs began to cramp, and some of the muscles in my torso, and let me tell you: if you have never experienced dialysis-related cramping, it is like medieval torture. The tendons tighten, causing the feet to contort as well, and is extremely painful, painful enough to make me yell in agony. The new nurse and Olena kept an eye on me, but there was little they could do, as the session was almost over, so I just had to ride it out. As my legs grew taut from the cramping, I attempted to keep my legs and feet straight, or bend them, depending on the ebb and flow of the cramps. When the session's time was finally over, my chair was adjusted to the upright sitting position, and the new nurse asked if I was okay. I was still cramping, so I had to sit there for a while as she administered saline into my system to equalize my blood pressure. It took about ten minutes before I could properly function again, but it was physically and mentally exhausting.

When I got home, I got some minor grocery shopping done, picked up a takeout order of chicken wings and French fries from the dirty Chinese takeout joint (I was able to keep it down), and though I wanted to stay awake and get to tidying up my apartment, I instead crawled into bed and crashed hard, deeply sleeping for a couple of hours. I feel relatively fine now, though some residual pain from the cramping in my legs remains.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022


For today's ride home from dialysis, the car service sent the driver I mentioned a couple of months back, the Russian in his late 60's who was dressed from head to toe in a bright red track suit with USSR emblazoned on it, a matching red military cap with CCCP across the forehead, and Soviet military music playing on the car's radio. Today he was not dressed like a propaganda caricature, but he did have music playing that brought to mind images of Cold War-era troops marching in Red Square. I suppressed laughter as I videoed this.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022










This questionable Black History Month meme reminds me of a long-ago night during downtime at the barbecue joint, when a huge, bald, dark-skinned black dude was seated at the bar, kicking back shot after shot of whiskey and enjoying an order of our smoked 1/2 chicken. The brutha's mouth navigated that bird like it was a fondly-regarded lover, his eyes occasionally closing in sensual bliss, and when he was done he turned and directly addressed myself and one of the place's black regulars. With a deep and authoritative voice, he stated, with zero trace of irony," Gawd made chicken for US, for the black man. When I eat me a piece of chicken, my brain and body say 'This was made for ME.'"

Yeah, I like chicken too, but come on...