June 17, 2010

Seven Years

UPDATE: If you saw this here Tuesday you are right. I was wrong; the anniversary is today June17, 2003. At least I got the year right. Another senior moment. Having too many lately.

Today is the seventh anniversary of my kidney transplant, June 15, 2003. It is a same day anniversary, although I don't know what time; it was sometime after 4 pm.

My kidneys were destined to fail, I had Polycystic Kidney Disease and in my late thirty's my kidneys began to loose function, however very slowly. When in my mid-fifties the deterioration sped up and my kidney function was monitored very closely. The worst side effect from the disease was hypertension, not until I approached the need for hemodialysis that I became very exhausted. I didn't loose any work, even when I started dialysis December 10, 2001. Since I knew that I would have dialysis, I had had surgery earlier that year to create an access, a Arterio-venous fistula. I am glad it was done early so that I didn't have this.

I got called the evening before, so that they test 27 vials of blood, to match as many antigens and confirm my blood type. Sent home about 1:00pm, there were others tested for this set of kidneys. They came from a cadaver and were put on a pump to keep them viable. Called again the next morning for more test, then late that afternoon I was prepped to go into surgery.

Surgery didn't seem eventful but my whole body was swollen and red, a reaction to the unknown kidney. Then started the daily measurement of liquid I took in, the urine I expelled, the taking of my weight and temperature. While in the hospital, blood test and inter-venous pain killers (morphine pump at first). The medication; humongous sized immunosuppressant pills, huge doses, an anti-biotic and anti-viral,  insulin  and heparin shots. I seemed to be recovering well and I was out an about, then I began to feel more pain, very painful cramps on the side where my kidney is. I complained and only one doctor thought that I should get an ultrasound to check to see if any leakage in my abdomen. Somehow his recommendation got lost. I was schedule to go home in two days and that was that, even though the pain was getting worst. After going home the pain became extreme and I began to lose my voice and throw up when I spoke. During my first visit four days later,  I could barely speak and my sister had to explain how much pain I had been in, then the doctor decided to put me back in the hospital to do an ultrasound. They found that the Ureter of the transplant was leaking and they had to drain the urine from my body. Three days later on a Tuesday, I had another surgery. They took the Ureter from my kidney and attached it to the transplant. They completely removed the transplant Ureter, because it was necrotic. The surgery went well, but they cut through the same scar and the nerves were so damaged I couldn't get my legs to move right for a few days. I am still numb right over the transplant.

Even though the transplant has given me the ability to live better, at times it has seemed like that the treatment has been worst that the disease. Constant diarrhea and the onset of type 2 Diabetes from the types of meds I take. The osteoporosis resulting from the massive doses of Prednisone to keep me from rejecting the kidney, has exasperated the back pain I have had of late. When I had my native kidneys removed, that resulted in having to have another surgery to repair a hernia. Four surgeries within five years killed my stomach muscles, another factor of my back pain. I am now going to physical therapy to strengthen my core. Hopefully, year fourteen will be an anniversary like this, but without anymore side effects of the transplant.

June 16, 2010


I saw an interview with one of  the oil workers in the Gulf. He was upset that there was a moratorium on drilling offshore. He saw his lively hood going down the drain. It is sad to think that the company town  or region is back; where one industry has most of the jobs and if that industry chooses to leave or doesn't thrive, thousands of people are jobless.

Over the pass two years many have loss their jobs and there is this clamor to do something to create jobs. My question, where are those jobs going to come from? Can thousands of fast food, telemarketing, home health aides and retail sales jobs feed all these people and stimulate the economy? During the financial crisis, the financial sector and banks shrunk in size, although they became huge in the percentage of the market share. With technology, they don't need the same number of people to run those businesses. It is not that man is being taken over by machines, it is that in the US, hardly any thing is manufactured anymore.

I have always wondered just how many vending push carts would actually make money. Entrepreneurship is fine, but there have to be major businesses that employ a huge amount of people, in a population this size. Some politicians talk of how small businesses would solve the unemployment problem, as if this is 14th century Bruges. Quite often when an idea is developed, it is implemented overseas. The free trade treaties have not produced a balance of trade nor had it produced enough jobs for all parties. The economic world now is running on theories and ideology, not pragmatism. Some think that capitalism in its essential laissez-faire form is necessary to a democracy; as if this system was running like a machine, no human involvement what so ever.

In this new order there can be no restrictions to keep jobs in this country. However, one way survival may be possible, would be to finds ways to create small self sufficient communities. People within these communities would grow food and produce dairy locally and perhaps barter for local services such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical, landscaping and painting. It would also include reducing dependence upon technology. Thus, creating a community with a reduced cost of living, so that the few jobs they have or the hit many will take in their salaries, can allow for that American dream.