Thursday, May 26, 2011

Running, Biking, weight lifting, stretches, and some yoga movements. Its been a rebirth of the hard core this spring. Am I over training? Not yet. Its been all fun and my body is responding real well to all the different things I'm pushing it to do. Had a five star ride two days ago in a perfectly perfect day when I combined running errands with a twenty some mile ride through trails, parks, and beautiful neighborhoods. Been running every day as well. Just feeling good and gonna ride it till a break comes and calls me out. The trans formative effect of physical activity, done with verve, and joy in the heart cannot be underestimated for the whole of the body, mind, and spirit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I probably written about this before, but this morning during dialysis, while talking to a couple of my regular nurses the issue of attitude came up in relation to ones overall quality of life and health. While the older and longer I have been on dialysis has certainly shaded and allowed differing perspectives on my overall philosophy about this. I have to a degree mellowed on my former "Rocky" theory of health care and personal responsibility, but still I regard ones core belief combined with a knowledge and education of ones personal health and mental situation towards surviving and thriving through any circumstance critical.

When I was four years old, sitting in a examination room at the Cleveland Clinic my kidney doctor at the time came bounding into the room and after and obligatory "hey tiger" began talking to my parents about everything that needed to be discussed and decided as to my care. My parents, grateful and polite, thanked him for all the information, but said to the doctor that he needed to talk to the patient in the room, me. As a four year old, and for all my years growing up I was directly included, and expected, to be a central party in my own care. So I learned to be responsible, and more importantly, aware of my own situation, medications, vitals, how to report my day to day health, and what was critical and how to accept the many forms of medical care that would become a regular part of my life.

I feel just as important as the above story and moral was an intangible belief that I have had, through my parents, my environment, all of it, or something else, that I have always believed in my own self. That I was, regardless of the process, that I was OK. As I am aware that a finger is no more of who I am that a lock of hair, I also know that my kidney, or my physical well being is only temporary, and in essence does not define who I am. By not being attached to the suffering, or the ecstasy I have learned, through hard lessons, that my life is not these "feelings". It does not always work that way in practice, but overall it has helped me through this unique life journey I've been on for almost forty years.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Its been a pretty good week as the infection from my freak arm injury has healed nicely, and dialysis has been a relative breeze. Since my ER visit 10 days ago I have run all but one day and have felt that everything is pretty good. My hemoglobin is hovering around 10 or 11 and breathing has been easy as well. I have had some good speed work, as my heart is catching up quickly to what I'm asking it to do. Also I'm on an easy streak with my renal diet and my fluid. When the heart and lungs work everything else is just so much easier to fall in line. It all works together. Except for the interruption in spring here in Midwest Ohio, have had some great outside runs last week, including a terrific bike/run day last Thursday, when it was really hot and humid before all the cold settled in.

I'll keep it a short post for now and come back to soon on a medical history entry, and other new stuff. I have my running stuff on for a workout in the next little bit. We will see if it is in or out?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I spent last Sunday, in the ER, after what seemed like an ordinary wound developed into trouble. A week ago, while hanging a picture, that is framed with a standard metal frame, fell off the wall onto my right lower arm. Luckily not hitting my AV fistula, but even though it didn't hurt when it happened, my wife noticed that it had swollen freakishly large soon after, and for several days later, it became black and infected. The weekend came, and it got way more painful, and I noticed that my body was breaking out all over with old shingles from a Chicken Pox outbreak twenty years ago. That is not odd, it can happen to many people who have a dormant form of shingles, and through some form of body stress or secondary infection, it can then "come back". It is itchy at its best, and pretty painful at its worst, and looks just terrible. Kind of a biblical ugly. Anyways the signs symptoms were mounting that it needed to be looked at by professionals. Sunday afternoon came and we were all on our way to the park for a Mother's Day cookout my wife had arranged. The day before she and I had done a great 6 mile park run, and even though I felt I labored through it, overall I felt good. So when Sunday came and all the symptoms and signs pointed in the direction they did, my wife and I discussed it and I headed to the ER, while they headed to the park.

Anything simple for anyone else always becomes a mini production for a dialysis patient, and this was no different. It was even discussed about admitting me for this dime sized scar, black as is was, due to it being so close to my fistula. These "infections" can turn bad so quickly due to my immune system being compromised from kidney failure and the dialysis treatments.

Six hours, two IV antibiotics, pain medications, and a fun scrubbing of the infected site later and I was on my way home. Its now OK. It always is. The next day, a bit more wiped out from dialysis than usual, I still did a three mile run, which cleared my head, and body of all the stuff in my blood stream not easily cleared out because, of course, no kidneys to do they job. The sweating and heart rate increase does help though, getting the pain medications, antihistamine (for allergic reactions to the antibiotics), and all the other antibiotics somewhat cleared from my system.

A few days later, I'm fine. I've run every day since and my arm, and body is clearing up nicely.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One great spring afternoon can make up for even a couple of months lousy weather. Running at the park with its rolling hills, blooming trees and shrubs, blue sky, fresh scents, warmish breeze, sounds of birds and golfers out on the course made it one of those beautiful runs. I've had a few great runs lately, and its days like this that make it come together for those moments of joy.

I would run no matter what, and that is why I've continued to run at least five days a week for over 12 years now, but to be able to have your whole physical and mental states in sync with the environment is a special feeling that makes being a runner special. Its also makes the miles just easier, even when you are pushing it like I have the past five days with 5+ mile runs every time I've headed out. I realized a long time ago that the running log doesn't lead anywhere except to the next run, and the occasional "show run", which doesn't really matter any more than doing the same distance in the park by yourself on a perfect day like today.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Austin Klapp

Dialysis Kidney Transplant Austin Klapp
In a year period, I have become accustomed to over 1600 blood pressure readings, 300 temperatures, between 45 to fifty lab draws for various results and readings, two needle punctures done for roughly 160 dialysis treatments, 320 weights, 160 lung and heart assessments, 160 or so needle pokes of epogen being injected in the arm, approximately 4800 pills, and 624 hours hooked up to the dialysis machine.

These numbers do not include time spent in the inevitable hospital stays for other complications, or additional medical situations that invariably arise during the year. These numbers do not reflect the numbers that reflect the cost for my care, to keep me alive, to keep the machinery of this life support system to work.
Most importantly, these numbers say nothing of what really is involved in what we do to care and live for one another.