some news, a transplant for someone on my dialysis shift


After six years on dialysis, one of the patients on my afternoon dialysis run of 8 patients received his kidney transplant this week.  The news is he is doing well.  Great news, indeed.

I have been on dialysis two years and two months.  In that time two patients on my runs have received new kidneys.

strange day


Yesterday after dialysis I felt odd and got some food and drink in me and still felt odd.  I was lightheaded and had felt a sharp chest pain to my left side and so…. off to Emergency.  That was about 7:15 PM

I left Emergency ten hours later at 5:15AM,  boy, is traffic light then in the Midland area.

It seems the protocol is to run a blood test to check for a tell tale enzyme that the heart produces when you have had a heart attack.  Then to repeat the test six hours later, which gives the heart time to really shovel out this enzyme.  The first test can be so soon after the attack that your heart doesn;’t have time to pr0duce much enzyme, so you could get sent home when home is not where you should be.

My first test showed a trace of the enzyme but that is normal for dialysis patients.  Dialysis is like a stress test on the patient’s heart.  My second test and my electrocardiogram were both fine.  No heart attack.  I don’t know some weird mixture of three weeks of coughing pissing off my chest muscles and maybe a little too much fluid taken off during dialysis.  It was I guess a cramp.  First time I have had a cramp like that in that position, but that seems to be the explanation for the moment.  After a little sleep, I feel fine.

Health care communication efficiency


an observation –  paper based requisitions are the normal pattern but this past week my dialysis clinic arranged an electrocardiogram, a followup on an odd dialysis run I had recently.  The clinic is at a hospital that is separate physically (one town away) but administratively joined to the lab where the electrocardiogram was to be taken.  I was told Thursday at 11am.  I show up at the hospital main entrance where they do intake for everything, a new efficiency measure put in place about a year ago.

There the chase began.  I had no req in hand. The clinic had told me no problem it is already in the hospital system.  But I was a little blurry and said echo cardiogram or was electro cardiogram.  If echo I was in the wrong place.  And I was told they normally dont give appointment times.  So a call to the local medical centre, a cluster of doctors offices and some labs including ultrasound.  Couldnt get through on the phone.  But a call back to dialysis got the fog cleared.  Down I went to the bowels of the hospital where after the two mile walk, the lab is a long long way at the far end of the building, I got there and took a number and waited.

Once in the lab itself I was told that the staff was not certain if they were supposed to go over to the dialysis clinic and give the electro cardiogram at the dialysis clinic, in the next town or if I was coming in to them.

So another example of crystal clear communication.

Angel on the facade of St. Michael’s Cathedral


I visited the cathedral on Tuesday January 18th, I was in Toronto for more preparations for a kidney transplant surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital. It is early days. There is a 5-7 year waiting list for a transplant. I have been on the list for two years.

The cornerstone for the cathedral was laid in 1845.

A few years back I heard the male alumni of the St. Michael’s Cathedral Choir School sing some lenten hymns in the cathedral.  A wonderful time.

US ARMY Rangefinder camera 70mm – Graflex Combat Graphic


Airborne Museum, Fayetteville, NC from a trip south in 2002

This is an excellent museum. lots of info and displays including a section the First Special Service Force “The Devil’s Brigade” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Brigade

This Camera is sometimes nicknamed a Texas Leica. It is a very large rangefinder camera, taking 70mm film.

See this: http://www.digoliardi.net/ks6/

Some features: wind-up spring driven motor drive, finder shifts for different lenses. A film cutter so you can change films anywhere in the roll. Shutter release is on the back by the right thumb. Field finder accomodates three lenses (rotates 180 degrees for the wide frame), the flash accomdates both Edison and M type bulbs (a socket for each. See the pics.) Has a big switch by the film speed dial to set the proper flash delay for FP bulbs. Tripd mount on bottom and one side. Uses the universal 70mm cassette common to Hasselblad and others. And more.

Film for them, double-sprocket 70mm, is getting very hard to come by. Very expensive.

It was surprisingly quiet, too.

Ken Bruen and his Jack Taylor books


I am part way through this Galway based dark but funny, and violent, but insightful crime series of books by Ken Bruen.  The new Ireland takes some scolding, alcoholism drenches the characters, but Jack Taylor, the protagonist suffering ex-Garda carries on moving forward or perhaps falling forward.  Do read these, you will learn a lot of side information and there are a lot of references to various books and authors.  Highly recommended.    The bonus for me is that I have visited Galway, back in 1996 and liked it more than Dublin.  Bruen is so very gifted.  read him, you will be rewarded.

dialysis modification


It seems my clearances have dropped down again, creatinin higher, so what would be the answer.  One possibility was to come in another day, which would make it four days out of seven.  Now this does not seem like that big a change but somehow psychologically it loomed like Mount Everest for shadow producing.  But fortunately that is not the way my doctor decided I should go.  Instead my current three days of dialysis got a little longer.  My four hour run is not four and a half hours long.  Aside from that things have been relatively smooth with the big D.  OTOH I am just getting over the national affliction, a wicked head cold, everyone in the country seems to have it.  My version has not gone down into my chest.  I seem to have turned the corner and today I was not blowing my nose every five minutes.  I hope to get over it by Monday.

valuing the high school research paper


Today I found a New York Times article about The Concord Review, which publishes outstanding high school research essays.  The founder and publisher gets a curmudgeon’s characterization, but Harvard pays attention.  For a high school student to have an essay published in the Concord Review is a stamp of quality they admire.