Well, next week I may hear when I get open heart surgery for a double bypass and to replace my aortic valve.

Seems my leg ulcers are healed enough to go ahead.

Originally my cardiologist wanted me to have the surgery in Janaury but my infected leg ulcers shot down that idea.

I’m keen but I am exhausted. Before January, I often but not always walked with a cane. I have been creeping with a walker for four weeks now.

I had spent quiet time wondering if I would run out of time before my chance for surgery.

I have been praying more and swearing less, but I am mostly exhausted.

week just past

ending May 23rd, Saturday

old photo of mine – a still life of tiny shells and a crayfish claw, all from our shore

Odd weather, two nights of frost, hard on the eager to get started gardeners.

My dialysis runs were mostly smooth.  A couple of days I used cane. Other days I shape shifted with my walker. I am trying to make my view of my situation more positive but still realistic. My leg ulcers jumped ahead in healing following debriding by a general surgeon on Tuesday.  Debriding is a somewhat neutral term for using a knife to cut and scrape away dead tissue from an ulcer.  Once the two ulcers are healed, my  heart surgery can proceed.

This reminds me of George Carlin‘s remark that the terms “wetland” and “rainforest” were invented by people who found it hard to raise money for swamps and jungles.

Canada geese families have been coming by to lunch on the plants on our shore.  The golden  goslings are tiny but that will change quickly.

I hope to get over to the Midland Model Train Show this weekend.

Clearance and other deadly stuff

2015 is going to be a big year

dental surgery

I have aortic valve replacement surgery coming.  I was cautioned to get my dental situation checked out, since a dental infection can get to the site of the new valve.  This is so certain that the surgeon will not proceed with the surgery if the dental situation has not been checked and resolved.  Bad teeth are a family tradition.  My Dad had bad teeth.  My mother had all her teeth out when she was around thirty years old. I had a little trouble initially in getting an early appointment for oral surgery. But then a call came and I went in on Dec. 30th.  The Doctor took out my remaining upper and lower teeth that day.  This is referred to as “clearance.” George Carlin would have jumped all over that one. The extractions did not hurt.  What smarted was the freezing needle into my upper palate.  In fact, I though he was only about half done when he had complete all the work.  The tough part was the mouth full of gauze.

aortic valve surgery

Next is the valve replacement, consult in late January.  Surgery perhaps in February.  There are risks of heart attack or stroke with this surgery, aome five per cent. I should feel more energetic after the new valve.  My calcified valve is not opening or closing properly.  I cannot walk very far without pausing or without sitting down for a moment.  I cannot go into large stores because the distances are too much for me.  We kept our late Mom’s old walker.  I have been eyeing it lately. If things get any worse I may put it back into use.


Once the valve replacement is done I should return to the top of the kidney transplant  list —  back in October I received a call to come get a new kidney, but had to turn it down because there were a couple of big questions about my health that needed sorting out.  They have been answered.  The day that call came was  strange.  I had been led to believe I would receive a pager when I approached the very top of the transplant list.  I had not heard from the transplant folk since April.  So for two minutes I had a new kidney.  And then I didn’t.  I t has been 6 years on dialysis.  In some ways I cannot imagine how my life will be with a new kidney.  I think I know ,but my life with dialysis is quite engrained now. The diet, the lenghty time of treatment per week, 16 hours for me.

Weight loss success

Toothless is an aid for my weight loss campaign. At some point in 2014 I weighed 130 kg.  Yesterday after dialysis I weighed 108.5 kg.  For older, Imperial measure stuck folk, that is 45 pounds.  My current weight is about three pounds heavier than my weight during university forty years ago.  This took place over four months.  I feel much better for the weight drop.  I don’t feel like I am starving to death constantly.  Key was smaller portions, eliminate the junk food, and as much fresh food as possible.  I slipped up and had some junk food and found that after the absence the stuff tasted awful.

Pet Therapy

Lots going on and lots of curious moods and attitudes churning inside me, my heart and my mind.  I spend more time talking to and patting the cats.  Cat therapy is wonderful thing.  Grace the dog listens to my troubling thoughts as well.

Big changes this year. I hope it all goes well.

snap day at dialysis

things have not been going well and much of the trouble revolves around low blood pressures on my part….

for example, today when I came in it was quite low….this makes it impossible to remove fluid without lowering my bp significantly below 100, normal and perfect is 120. I have quite  few moments of low bp during dialysis and felt light headed at home and out in public after dialysis.

it seems to the nurses and I that my bp medication needs to be reduced….

when I asked them to call the on-call nepjrologist at Orillia Hospital, they said no.  There is no doctor on site at the Penetang Hospital since it is principally a geriatric facility and also seems to handle physio for new amputees, altho I havent seen many amputees in a few months so that may have been moved over to the hopsital in Midland.  If a patient gets into trouble, an ambulance is called and they are transported over to Midland Hospital.  We see a nephrologist once  month on site here at our clinic.  Next clinic is pushed late in February for some reason probably winter holidays, it will take place on Feb. 13th.

I have been feeling light headed and beginning to black out, to grey out my vision, a few times over this month.

The snap by me came when they decided not to call the on call nephrologist.   Instead they suggested I get a bp machine and start measuring my bp at home.  It is my conviction that we have enough data over a long enough time to ask a doctor.  In my sixth year of dialysis, I have lost my temper just twice.  This was the second time.   For some reason at the last monthly clinic the nurse preparing my chart failed to note this issue. I blew it as well by not recalling it.  My talk with the doctor had to do with elevated phosphorus and with figuring out a new heavier target weight, tricky to do immediately after the holiday feasting season.

The other moment when this bp problem might get addressed is on next Wednesday when the nephrology do a clinic rounds by telephone to the “satellite” clinics (Orillia is the main unit and there are some 6 smaller satellites including Penetang Hospital).

Sitting their seething was beneficial today, it raised my blood pressure.

three holes in bowling ball, an odd dialysis treatment

A little trouble to get started with dialysis treatment using my fistula today: two nurses worked it out though and I ended up with three holes not the usual two.  My pump speed was excellent 420-430 and I cleaned 106 litres.

coming down the pike:

  • anigoplasty to fix a narrowing in the fistula
  • trip to Toronto, for a final check on my healed heel
  • end of August surgery to remove most of my parathyroid glands
  • seems we have lost one of our dialysis patient team to home hemodialysis, this program is ramping up in this area of Ontario – I will miss yakking with him in the waiting room

parathyroid removal is common related to hemodialysis

Blackberry tablet camera shots

RIM Blackberry tablet camera shots – watercolour effect-ed by uing the app Pencil Camera

my view of the dialysis clinic during my dialysis treatment and a late night kitchen self-portrait- I was in the kitchen for the strong overhead lighting, not for a midnight snack

hot time in the olde clinic today

temperatures this afternoon were in the 30s, with a higher number for humidex, perhaps 39 degrees Celsius

unfortunately,  the a/c unit for the clinic failed and both our afternoon crew and the morning crew fried

my dialysis is the longest at 4.5 hours, even though I wore shorts and a T-shirt, it was scalding in the dialysis chair, after forty minutes I was wondering if I mght pass out.  One of the nurses went down to the kitchen and came back with a resupply of ice.  I slipped ice chips down the front of my t-shirt, and later poured melted ice-water on to the washcloth that had been trying to cool me off with a dunk in some cold tap water.

The nurses looked pretty limp after the long oven shift, they were there from just before 7 am.

I asked one of the other dialysis patients if he was well done or just medium.

He said, “You can sure stick a fork in me.”

Repairs do not look iminent, apparently several electrical surges did the nasty to the electric motor and so Thursday patients both AM and PM will have a rough time.  The weather is supposed to breal cooler by Friday morning. I sure hope that cooler front does not slow down and arrives as forecast..  I  thought I might pass out or vomit from the heat, but I  dragged through.

There was an a/c problem last year.  The hospital was trumpeting how it balanced its budget.  I guess that didn’ include heavy duty preventive maintenance on that a/c unit, let alone a replacement.

One blessing, the rest of the hospital full mainly of geriatric patients, was a/c cooled all right, so those patients were comfortable.

Dialysis leak

yesterday after my run a new wrinkle….. I was standing up for my last blood pressure reading, actually my third last because I had a low reading and so they gave me some saline to pump me up a touch, when my arterial site (hole) popped under the bandage…..I had sprung a leak.  Something I have never done before.  I lost about a small teacup of blood which hit the floor missing my shoe and aircast.   I did not feel a thing and was watching the dialysis machine screen to see what my bp reading was going to be.  My nurse who was behind the dialysis chair stripping it to be able to prepare it for the next day morning shift, reached over and put pressure on my arm.  No other ill effect.  A record late time to get out of the clinic but that was no problem.   There is a reason why they ask us to wear old clothes to dialsysis.   Leaks do happen.

yesterday’s drive to Sodom on Lake Ontario

I had an appointment at 130pm at St. Michael’s Hospital in the downtown core of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  I lived in Toronto for 42 years so I have some experience in driving in its clogged traffic, but I have lived on Georgian Bay for ten years and I am used to the lighter traffic up here.  What’s more Toronto traffic is widely believed to be worse and getting worse each year.

The weather was poor, fog and rain all the way down and most of the way back up.  Around 7 pm I had reached Barrie on the return drive and decided to stop to unwind over a coffee and having finished it I walked out to get back on the 400 north and encountered a sharp drop in temperature and a strong wind.  The day’s drive had been bad with the fog and rain and all the vehicle spray especially the treat of having a tractor trailer pass by at 120km per hour.

The wait was medium for the Ontario health care sytem, 90 minutes.   I was there about the diabetic ulcer slowly healing on the back of my left ankle, my glacially healing heel.  My care at this appointment was from a chiropodist and a student nurse specializing in wound care.  The nurse’s accent place him as originally from eastern Europe.  His English was flawless.  The treatment last about twenty mninutes.  The wound is better.  It will still be several months before new skin forms a complete covering.

I have a return appointment next week at which I will see the plastic surgeon.  At the moment a skin graft does not seem to be in my future.  They seem to want me to heal this on my own.  Which makes sense.  If it takes months to heal the wound, the new wound from the incision to harvest skin for the graft would also take months to heal.

I have been wearing an aircast to off load the left heel.  I find I am tippy with this the air cast.  I wrap a small plastic retail bag around the open toe and tape it to the cast to keop my foot from getting soaked and freezing in the winter weather, both the rain and snow we have had this season.

I am also using a wooden cane with a flip down winter claw foot to snap in place of the rubber tip, for ice and snow and for balance.  Curbs and stairs are more interesting these days.

I walk well on level ground, but on uneven ground or bumpy and patchy snow I do less well. I follow my instructions and shorten my stride and take it slow.

It is hard to judge when this all began for a sore started on my other foot first but healed on its own.  This heel has been almost six months.   Perhaps another two to three months to go to get it well.


(this was written back in 2001, so you will need to adjust prices which have been affected by inflation, recession, bailouts, recovery and other acts committed by politicians, bankers, economists, and FOX NEWS)

Through the letter slot, a million and a half flyers have arrived over the past few days. It is the great season of printing. I look forward to this every year. I bet the printers do. I now feel fully involved in the economy. Christmas shopping stimulation through four colour printing.

One little booklet caught my eye as I was shovelling flyers into the garbage. It suggests some things I really need. Not all of them are Christmasy, but still…..

Laser hair removal for men and women. Specifically lip or chin (from $53 per treatment), underarms (from $80 per treatment), bikini line (from $80 per treatment), men’s back (from $347 per treatment), women’s legs (from $347 per treatment, which is $173.50 per leg). It is good that they don’t mention doing women’s backs and men’s legs.

After all that hair removal, I may just want to look at buying a new furnace or a fireplace to keep warm. A gas insert fireplace will set me back $1299. An electric fireplace is a bargain at $999.

And since I am warm and cosy with my new heating installation, there is a company that will bring me all kinds of stuff not just groceries so I don’t have to venture out in that cold air. They will deliver gifts, toys, chocolates, flowers, magazines, books, health and beauty (not just the products but the actual states of being I suppose), new movies, software, and office supplies.

There is a store specializing in perfume. A pair of products caught my eye. Versace Blue Jeans for men. Red Jeans for women. These are spray bottles for $29.99. I always wondered where women bought sprayed on jeans. Now I know. I was sad to note that Versace has nothing for Mr. Greenjeans.

To every thing there is a season. And although I have my new heating, a company wants me to buy central air conditioning. Another wants to steam clean my carpets and upholstery, my whole home for $79 or my car for $49. Either they think I have a small home or a very very big car.

After the carpets are clean, I can visit a 35,000 square foot showroom and buy an 8 pc. Italian bedroom with 4 door wardrobe available in 2 colours for $1989.

Next comes windows, storm doors, and a sunroom. This company suggests I can have installed vinyl windows for as low as $25 month. I was hoping to buy them rather than rent them, but maybe they’re right.

Another laser hair removal company seems to be priced less competively. This may be a misprint, I hope so. For women, they will remove hair from underarm, bikini, half leg (what not the whole leg?) or for men, full back or chest, for a mere $2,999. Perhaps, they will keep removing the hair for your entire life span. Seems pricey.

Once the fur is gone, the next obvious step is liposuction, breast augmentation, and something called micro-dermabrasion (“chisel away years” sounds pleasant doesn’t it).

Then there is the great nightmare of the closet. A company offers to get me a bigger house without getting a bigger house by organizing my closets. Real estate agents weep at this revolutionary idea. The company offers free installation for a limited time only. Does that mean that they take them out after a while?

Once I have my closets organized and all my “stuff” (apologies to George Carlin), I need to get some security window and door guards. But before that, I really need some custom wood shutters. I can have Californian, Plantation, traditional, arches or exterior shutters.

Now that everything is secured and shuttered and organized, I still need more service. It won’t stay neat long. So it is time for housekeeping. They do everything including cupboard fronts professionally washed (one would not want amateur washing). They also list one item that has me puzzled: right after senior discounts they list “injury claims”. This suggests to my over advertised imagination a vision of an unsatisfied granny smacking the cleaning crew with a rolling pin or a cane.

If that cleaning approach doesn’t work out, I can spring for a central vacuum system for a mere $649.99.

This is also my chance to buy solid wood furniture. I had my heart set on liquid wood, but I guess I can adjust.

Tis the season to shop, shop, shop. My addition may be off but I think I just spent $9,030.37. Yikes!

Text copyright © William Joseph Gibson 2001

Text copyright © William Joseph Gibson 2001