Thursday, November 01, 2007

Nephrologist Visit

Gail and I met with her nephrologis (kidney doctor) yesterday for her regular monthly visit. Everything looks good. All her blood work is good, her blood pressure is OK.

Her doc's only concern is that Gail's catheter last until she gets the transplant. When the surgeon installed it, he said that the catheters are designed to last a couple of months, but he knew a guy who had one for four years.

The main concern is infection since it is a straight tube into her heart. Gail is 100% good in avoiding infection. She NEVER gets it wet. You can imagine how hard it is to go almost a year without ever getting the upper right quadrant of your torso wet. But she is adamant about it, thank goodness. I don't know that I could be as totally careful about that as she is.

So we aren't worried about infection. There is a possibility that the tube can cause a narrowing of the vein. This is serious because it is permanent damage that isn't resolved by just removing the catheter. The signs to watch for are that the arm gets swollen because fluid isn't draining out through the vein. So now I have something else to worry about.

Gail had the surgery and began dialysis on December 13th. The insurance coverage was authorized for a year, so that needs to be reinstated. Her transplant coordinator is taking care of that.

But her doctor reminded her that she had to take a bunch of tests last year before they would certify her to the transplant list. She recommended that we call them and find out if additional tests will be required to keep her on the list past the one year anniversary. If so, we will want to get them done before hand so that she doesn't spend time off the transplant list.

Gail is too scared to talk to her coordinator about this, so I have been delegated to do so.

She and I are very different about some things, and this is one of them. I crave as much information as I can get, and she feels safer not knowing. So talking to her coordinator about the tests is one way I can help out.

In a seasonally appropriate ghoulish aside, Halloween is a time of lots of drinking and driving. Maybe a kidney/pancreas will come available that is just her type!

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