Several of you have guessed that Tony isn’t doing too well these last few weeks. I’ve hinted about his loss of appetite, doesn’t like the smell of food, being tired all the time. Over last weekend we could both tell that things weren’t quite right. While we know he has congestive heart failure and liver problems, those were being closely monitored through weekly blood tests and medications were adjusted accordingly.
I suddenly realized on Friday night that I got home around 5:30. Tony was in his favorite chair. We watched t.v., I ate dinner in the back family room. I cleaned the kitchen, threw a load of laundry in. We caught up on some shows on the DVR. It wasn’t until we were ready to go to bed on Friday night that I realized in 6 1/2 hours Tony never got up to go to the bathroom. Huh.
Saturday I had my cleaning pants on and was busy doing chores around the house. He doesn’t sleep well over night, so he pretty much cat napped most of the day. When I heard him start to slightly snore, I’d move onto computer projects so I wouldn’t wake him. Um, I may have deleted nearly 2,000 unnecessary pictures off of the computer! Sunday is his big football day and my big cooking day! I seriously look forward to this day more than any other. Tony is doing what he loves, and I spend all day in the kitchen. I try to take as many food pictures for my blog for the upcoming week while I have daylight. I made a breakfast pizza for my brunch on Sunday. All of a sudden Tony says “what’s that awful smell?!” My first reaction was “my amazeball breakfast pizza!”
But then I realized the smell of food was making him feel nauseous, and just like that at 11:00 a.m. with a full Sunday ahead of me, my kitchen was closed. I will not sugar coat this – I wanted to cry. Cooking is not only my hobby, but it is my stress reliever. Ever start kneading dough and get lost in the feel of the dough and all the thoughts that are bombarding your mind somehow melt away? That’s what happens to me. It’s my comfort zone.
But I had to take a step back, realize I have to put my feet in Tony’s shoes, and I quickly turned my attitude around. I realized Sunday that Tony sat in his chair from 10:00 a.m. on Sunday until we went to bed at 11:00 p.m. and never moved.
Monday morning I got up. I was all pumped because I was all prepared – my clothes were laid out, my food was packed, my gym clothes were ready to go. Since I had so much time on the computer Sunday I wrote my Monday post the night before and had planned on getting in a brisk 40 minute walk before work. But I woke up, looked at Tony and we both quickly realized that this was out of our hands and we needed to go to the hospital.
So the post I wrote on Monday was kind of a lie. Yes, I did eat that food – but the salad I said from Mariano’s was from the hospital cafeteria. Tony didn’t want to worry his parents or his son until we knew what was really wrong. For all we knew maybe it would just be an adjustment of medications and we would be sent home. We got to the ER at 7:15, but didn’t get assigned a room until after 3 p.m. Our GP was taking full control of the situation, which I appreciated. Turns out Tony’s red blood count was low, we have his existing liver and heart problems, and now we throw in kidney problems on top of that. We now have 5 doctors on his medical “team” to figure out the solution of his now new problem – kidney failure.
So I have used up all my time off at work, and on Monday even went over by about 4 hours. So Tuesday and yesterday I had to go into the hospital 90 minutes before I went to work, and after work I’d spend about 4 hours. I usually have better luck on being there for doctors rounds in the morning, so yesterday morning I got to the hospital at 6:20 and didn’t leave until 8:15, and didn’t see a single one. All we knew was that the day before dialysis may be on the table. Yesterday morning during the nurse shift change, the overnight nurse tells the day nurse “so Jeff is just waiting on getting a shunt put in for dialysis later today.” We were both like “huh?!” Apparently his blood work numbers overnight made our kidney doctor order the dialysis. News to us, but I guess we’ll roll with it.
I have to leave for work not too long after that conversation. I had a Chobani flip that I got at the store a week before last for .99 – score! Only check out the expiration date! I didn’t care – it was close enough that I ate it, on the side I had my microwave egg white/spinach/ham/cheese omelet.
Later in the morning Tony texts me – I give you another episode of Texting with Tony!
I am glad he’s able to keep some sense of humor throughout this whole week. We had a nurse from Indiana on Monday, and when they did the shift change, the Indiana nurse left to grab something and when she came back, Tony said to the new nurse “I can’t believe you think all people from Indiana are dumb!” This nurse turned several shades of red until she finally realized Tony’s sense of humor.
I went to the gym at lunch – and nearly two miles into my treadmill walk/run Tony texts me and says our GP is calling me. So I think “now, in a half hour?!” I jumped off the treadmill, grabbed some paper and a pen in case he called and walked around the gym until it was time to head back to work. No call ever came. I dragged my cell phone, a pen and a piece of paper everywhere I went yesterday. To the bathroom, to fill up my cup of coffee, to the kitchen to heat up my lunch. My lunch was chicken tortilla soup that I had in the freezer – which I doctored up with some Frank’s hot sauce. You know I can put that shit on anything.
I ended up swinging by Jimmy John’s on the way back to the hospital since it’s right across the street from my office. Still hadn’t heard from the doctor yet. I jump in the car from the Jimmy John’s parking lot, get on the busy road that takes me to the hospital, when the phone rings and our GP is calling me. What? No pen, no paper. Oh well. Bottom line was that he and the kidney doctor thought he had a type of kidney syndrome that effects your kidneys when you have liver disease. He hopes that the dialysis will “wake” up his kidneys so they can function on their own again. I asked the doctor if Tony is brought to a different part of the hospital for the dialysis, and he said “no, they do it right in his room.”
So I walk into his room and see this giant machine:
And a tech who has to be in the room the whole time. When I got there he had an hour and twenty minutes to go, and then it takes about another hour for her to break down the machine and clean it. So from beginning to end, this was about a six hour process. The shunt is on the side of his neck – two ports – one that takes the blood out, through the machine to clean it of impurities and then the second port to bring the clean blood back in.
The doctor warned me that Tony would be very tired afterwards, and he was absolutely right – you know I am the sleep whisperer when I am with Tony and I don’t mind a bit. He feels safe with me in the room and can fall asleep.
I am not sure he was all that thrilled to take a selfie with me though! And if you were wondering, yes, I totally need my bangs cut.
Tony ate some soup, crackers and jello and I ate 1/2 of my Jimmy John sandwich – only the best one – Vito with no tomato, or stinky onion put extra cherry peppers for the win.
I did manage to get all my steps in yesterday too:
I won’t have much more information for several days. He will continue to get dialysis every day for the next several days, and then the doctors will reevaluate the plan of attack. Your continued support, email asking how he’s doing, adding him to prayer chains – it is more appreciated than you’ll ever know.
And you’ll be very proud of me – I haven’t eaten a pizza by myself this whole week! I am an emotional eater and with no eyes watching me, I could do some serious damage. Just trying to take each day as it comes and making the best of it. Tony has had such a rough year this year – starting on January 1 of this year, I think he’s been hospitalized six times this year so far between home and Mayo. I just wish he could catch a break, ya know? I tell him all the time that I’d switch places with him in a heartbeat, but then he tells me he couldn’t live without me and that he could never be as strong as I am if the roles were reversed. I love him.