Adventure of a Life Time

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So next Monday, Carolyn will be off for her semester in Granada, Spain!  She will be studying at a local university and living with a local in Granada.  She is very excited.  Of course it is projected to snow on Monday and we have to drive her to Kennedy Airport for like a 6:30 PM departure, but we will get her there somehow.  We will miss her but we are also excited for her and this opportunity.  I was scheduled to do a summer of working at a factory in Mexico City when I was 19 (a long time ago) but it was cancelled due to political unrest at the time towards Americans.  Meg did spend a semester working at the Met in NYC (which is like a foreign country if you were from WV!).  Kate wanted to study abroad but was only able to work out a summer 5 week program in Barcelona.   While she will be in Granada we hope she will get to see more of Spain and Morocco and hopefully some more of Europe.  She does have a week off during the semester so hopefully she will be able to see some more of the country and at the end of the term she can tour also as she doesn’t have to be back in the US until early to mid June for wedding stuff.

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Kate is coming this weekend to help us send off Carolyn.  We are planning a paella dinner for Saturday night.  While we have eaten paella several times this is our first attempt at making it, so who knows what it will be like.  We are doing a version with chorizo, chicken, shrimp, scallops, mussels & clams.  So even if it doesn’t come out that well, the individual parts should provide a meal at least!  And of course we should have wine and/or Sangria with this feast!

So my dialysis treatments continue without any real major issues.  I will be able to take Saturday night off to spend time with Kate and Carolyn and hopefully will take off Monday also to take Carolyn to the airport.  My arm has given me some issues in that I seem to be having a bad reaction to the embla cream that I use to soften my scabs and ease the pain of putting the needles in to my veins. The whole area of my access is very red and my whole upper arm itches like crazy.  It is worse on my days off from dialysis although it doesn’t bother me at all when I actually have the needles in my veins.  This has happened before and my nephrologist and training nurse want to cut back or stop totally the embla cream.  I tried that a couple of times and the pain is just too much to bear.  The doctor did prescribe some hydrocortisone cream for the redness and I use Benadryl for the itching.

Moving During a Polar Vortex!

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So we successfully moved Kate out of her apartment in Pawtucket.  She moved most of her belongings into temporary storage at her fiancés family farm into a cleaned out animal stall in an unused barn.  She will be living temporarily with an aunt of her fiancé until the wedding and then moving in to Kenny’s apartment in Waltham after his current room-mate finds a new place to live.  It was VERY cold and I was not much help in this process.  In the morning I  worked mainly in the apartment packing and moving boxes to the back porch to stay out of the cold.  Unloading was worse as it was even colder in the barn but windy outside by the truck.  Fortunately Kenny’s father (Ken) came and helped with the unloading and then invited us over to his house to warm up and have some tea.  Mrs. Carberry and Kenny’s twin sister Maura came home while we were there and we had a nice visit and watched the beginning of the Patriots vs. Ravens game.  At the half we went to check into our hotel and then visit Kenny’s apartment and then to a late dinner with Kate and Kenny.  Sunday we returned the Uhaul and then met Kate and Kenny on Federal Hill in Providence for a nice birthday brunch for Kenny.  Then home to dialyze.  Meg and I are very happy that Kate is out of Pawtucket and is now living with someone again.

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So Tuesday it was off to yet another Doctors appointment.  This time it was with my regular GP!  I really like my doctor but sometimes I wonder if he really pays any attention to what I tell him.  His first question was about my job – I have previously told him I am no longer working while trying to get a transplant.  Back when I was scheduled I had called and asked the nurses to tell my Dr. that I was scheduled for a transplant etc…   I then told him the transplant was cancelled three days prior to the operation and he was surprised it was even supposed to happen.  Now I realize he has thousands of patients but how many can be on the Transplant list!  On the plus side he does remember the important medical details.  The good news was my blood work.  My blood count is great!  My A-1C is down!  Cholesterol is great!  The only problem is a low vitamin D in my Blood so I got a new prescription.  My Blood Pressure was so good I have been taken off ALL blood pressure medicine!  I have been taking Blood Pressure medicine since Carolyn was a baby (she turns 20 this year) and I had a stroke caused by high blood pressure like 7 years ago so this is very.  Now after I get a transplant I may need to resume some BP medicine and I may not – it will depend on how I respond to kidney function 24 hours a day vs 20 hours per week – something I am really looking forward to experiencing.

Parenting Woes

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Every parent has the goal of always being able to make things better for their children but the older they get the less able we are to do that.  As they grow older and eventually move away it becomes tougher and tougher to help your children with any challenges or problems.  Recently my oldest daughter has had several problems that I can’t really help her with other than advice, which is only worth what you paid for it – nothing.  Her apartment was broken into and she was robbed – mainly taken were her lap top and jewelry.  Everything else was tossed but nothing else taken.  The good news was that she wasn’t home at the time and everything that was taken can, in time, be replaced.  She is temporarily living with her fiancé and it looks like she has some other temporary housing set up until the Wedding in June.  I am happy she is out of her old neighborhood but as a father you want to protect your children from things like this in the first place.

Then this week she had a blow out on the highway on the way to work.  Fortunately she was able to get off the road and the state repair truck that patrols the highway was there and able to assist her right away and she was able to get to work.  After work she was able to get a new tire and the tire place was able to repair the rim of the wheel.  Now, intellectually I realize that there is nothing I could have done to prevent this, the father in me wants to spare his child the stress of a situation like this.  The fact that she called me when it happened and I couldn’t really make anything better angers me although I know there is nothing I could do as she had dealt with the situation already.

This weekend Meg and I are going to Pawtucket to help Kate move out all her stuff from her old apartment.  She has arranged temporary storage at her fiancé’s families farm for her belongings and we will then unload the stuff going into storage.  Not sure how much actual ‘help’ I can be.  I am doing better than I was a year ago, but am still pretty weak and don’t have that much energy.  I am afraid to do any real heavy lifting for fear of damaging my fistula or my access to my veins.  It will be more like load a box, rest, load a box, rest,  repeat.  Meg and I are planning to stay the night and take Kate & Kenny out for dinner as it is Kenny’s birthday this weekend.  Hopefully we will get the chance to visit Kenny’s apartment where they will live after the wedding in June.  Unfortunately my other daughter is unable to join us as she is taking a class that meets all day Saturday and Sunday.  We will miss her both for her muscles as well as company as she will soon be leaving for Spain so we only have her for a couple of more weeks.  Hopefully before she goes to Spain we will have a fun weekend with her and Kate and we will make some Paella to get her set for Spain!

New Year Resolutions

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So the New Year is fully upon us and a lot of people have the New Years Resolution of going to the gym.  This is certainly true at the gym I go to and while at first I was bothered by it, mainly the trouble getting a parking space, I realized that a year ago I was one of the people who the regulars were annoyed with, and now, I am a regular.  Once inside, my gym has lots of equipment and space but the parking lot is a different story.  I watch as people struggle with programming the treadmill or trying to figure out the elliptical machine and realize that at one point we were all like that.  Now I realize that a lot of these people will peter out and stop coming but a year ago I was one that started going to the gym and kept at it.  When I first started going I could only do like 15 minutes on the treadmill at a very slow pace.  After a year I do an 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how much time I have) at a decent clip.  I still refrain from doing any weights because of the challenges it gives me when I put in my needles to dialyze, but I am fairly faithful to cardio 5-6 times per week.  This resulted in my losing over 30 lbs. this past year.

So this year I am hoping to continue in this regular habit of going to the gym as well as the improved diet I have been trying to follow.  This was a little stretched over the holidays but we are planning to get back to it with the New Year.  Today (Monday, January 5, 2015) the gym was fairly empty as compared to last Friday and Saturday when the parking lot was full to overflowing and most, but not all, of the machines were in use.  Today parking was great and there was just the regulars and a handful of unfamiliar faces – I guess a lot of people still work!  Probably will have more of a crowd after work or this evening.

No word on the transplant front.  I have not heard anything back from Yale.  Not that I was expecting results this quickly but you never know.   I did do my regular monthly Blood Test last Thursday and took it in to my Training Nurse on Friday and also made an appointment for my monthly Dr. visit for this Friday.  I don’t hold much hope for a good appointment as most of it will be based on the Blood Test that I did after two weeks of holiday food.  Not that we went overboard but compared to our regular menu it was fairly extravagant.  After the transplant was canceled last month we went into a depression that we treated with food for the holidays.  Knowing that I had probably 4 months to a year of waiting for the paired exchange to come thru I also knew I had time to get my blood work back in shape.  My dry weight has only gone up by a pound or two and that should come off now that we are back on the regulars diet and back to the gym.