Author Topic: Lois' Story--From The Stones to Dialysis (part c)  (Read 2276 times)

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Lois' Story--From The Stones to Dialysis (part c)
« on: August 31, 2009, 05:51:14 AM »
 (continued from part b)

>Chapter Two<
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>The Stones<
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>"Stuck Between a Rock...And a Hard Place" The Rolling Stones<
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>         "After all what is man but an intricate and ingeniously devised apparatus for turning the red wine of Shiraz into urine," pondered an Arab sailing off the African East Coast in Isak Dinesens' Seven Gothic Tales. <
>         It was the spring of 1990 on the East Coast of the United States and I was driving Lois to the Massachusetts General Hospital emergency room wondering "what the heck were kidneys?" I knew I'd used kidney beans in my chili and that they had something to do with the color and content of her pee. I also knew she was lying in the backseat of her Plymouth Sundance wreathing in pain with a 104-degree temperature. <
>Like Benjamin Franklin, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and 60 Minutes curmudgeon Andy Rooney before her, Lois had also developed these "Pebbles from Hell." She had formed calcium oxalate kidney stones and was consuming what resembled several gallons of water a day?flushing them out. Every month or so we would transport a urine sample to the lab and have it analyzed and screened through a strainer measuring the amount of stone that passed, if any. This procedure was done following a relatively simple twenty four-hour process appropriately named "The 24 Hour Urine Sample."<
>         On day one Lois was to pee into the toilet upon rising for the first time of the day and flush. We would of course take a quick peek to see if it was cloudy. Every subsequent urination, within twenty-four hours, she would pee into an amber colored container the lab supplied. Then we'd rearrange the refrigerator so that it would fit inside and label it so as not to get it confused with the grapefruit juice. Upon rising the next day, instead of flushing, Lois would collect the urine one more time. <
>         The test was specific in the way it was performed and specific in what it tested for. Our own test depended upon sight and smell. We would sniff for odor and look at the color and clarity (cloudy urine could indicate blood, bacteria, mucus, or of course crystals). Understand me when I state that days could become good or bad depending on the color and clearness of Lois' pee. Glucose, protein, (protein levels could indicate pregnancy, fever, or kidney disease, since this wasn't supposed to be present) the pH and something called specific gravity were all measured. <
>         Specific gravity measured the amount of solids dissolved in urine. The higher the gravity the more solid material is dissolved hence the more water Lois drank the more diluted the urine and less solids or stones. <
>         Dr. Samuel Collins in his 1685, "A Systeme of Anatomy..."describes the production of kidney stones as:<
>         "...Saline and Earth parts, being united in a due quantity, and embodied with a petrifying Juice, or Spirit, do generate the Stone in Human Bodies. This petrifying Liquor is found in every soil, impraegnated with Minerals, and mixed with the Juice of the Earth, giving a growing disposition to Grafs, which is the nourishment of most Animals we feed on..."<
>In more modern times however, when a mineral like calcium combines with an oxalate to dense to dissolve a crystal forms that then attracts more and more crystals and presto a kidney stone is formed. Yes the process is a little more complex than these two descriptions but you get the idea.<
>         According to the National Kidney Foundation, (NKF) about 90% of kidney stones pass while urinating. The stones that were left in Lois appeared to be either infecting or obstructing her urinary tract?or maybe both. <
>         The Kidney Stone Center web site states that about 10% of men and 5% of women in the United States form kidney stones during their lives. They can be the most painful of human ailments and the cause of about 350,000 hospitalizations per year. Although there is no proof; and I do not intend by telling this story to try and prove it; Lois was convinced and in turn sold me on the idea that these stones and the mistreatment of her only viable kidney were the initial cause of her eventual renal failure. ?Over manipulated,? a urologist would later describe to Lois, on an operating table, this kidney.<
>         There are different types of kidney stones: Struvite or infected stones; Uric acid; Cystine and most common of all Calcium Oxalate stones (70-80%). I recently (2003) ran into someone who explained to me that they had Phosphate Oxalate stones--which I?d never heard of?and that she?d experienced lithotrypsy over twenty five times. <
>One of the initial treatments for this condition is a diet change and the consuming of enormous amounts of water. Hippocrates acknowledged this water aspect, as did Lois. Water was everywhere?gallons of it. I believe we held up our local supermarket?s profit margins by the gallons of water we procured. She would take a gallon to bed a gallon to work and a gallon to the hospital when visiting her urologist. Gallons were always consigned to the trunk and back seat of the car. <
>         The kidneys filter approximately 100 gallons of blood a day through a network of tubules about 40 miles long. This provides for many a rest area where a stone can find lodging; and when it does the accommodations are not as amiable as Motel 6 and certainly not the Ritz Carlton. Water helps to keep the kidneys flushed and hopefully the stones from napping for to long. It also keeps the urine from becoming too concentrated; thereby forming more stones. <
>         While water, as a whole, is a treatment for every kind of kidney stone, the calcium oxalate class requires dietary changes and restrictions. Able to consume small amounts of hot chocolate, beer, milk, and citrus fruits when tormented by other types of stones, these were a no-win situation when it came to the calcium oxalate category. <
>         Lois' doctor told her to abstain from eating chocolate, (uh, oh) sesame seeds, parsley (who eats parsley?), spinach, grapes, strawberries, peanuts and milk among other foods. These were rich in oxalate. Because she was lactose intolerant, milk and vitamin D products posed no threat. Spinach and peanuts were temptations hard to resist; yet these restrictions became a precursor to what would become "off limits" in the years too come. She would later write in her introduction to a never published, "The Renally Correct Cookbook."<
>         "Since toddler hood, I have always loved cooking. I remember following my mother around begging her to let me cook with her. In high school, I left the "corner" early to start supper. Even though this was the time of at-home moms my mother was forced into the workforce. We had a big family so someone better start supper or we'd never get any. This was my glory because no one else wanted to do it. Her one demand was that she cooks the fish. I remember the trouble I'd get into when thinking she was late and I'd start the fish. She'd be so angry; you'd think the precious fish was all she lived for. Every night she'd start the next day's meal in a big cast iron kettle." <
>         "My mother came from Odessa, Russia, which is near the sea and thereby her reverence for fish. Meat was only to vary the fish diet. She had diabetes on one side of the family and heart trouble on the other. This translates into no sugar and no salt. If this back round wasn't a good enough foundation for restricted diets, every summer we went away for the whole summer to the Maine seacoast. The foods we loved at home in the city were not to be had, but new foods were readily available. In winter we had Hoodsies' but in summer frozen custard. In winter we ate Chinese food but in summer clams and other shellfish. These were not interchangeable then. We couldn't even get our favorite candy bars in summer but we couldn't get clams and cotton candy during the school year."<
> "While things are different now, the point is that we learned to dive into new foods with as much gusto as the old foods. This is the first mindset absolutely necessary for people on restricted diets. Sulking over a hot fudge sundae can get you nothing but unhappiness. When we went to the coast, we just couldn't get some foods and had to have different foods. But it worked out fine. There are zillions of foods out there. Don't hang on to the old, the new ones are equally if not better-give it a chance!"         <
>Ironically, Lois would never be able to delight in my kidney beans and chili after these stones; not that this was any great forfeiture, mind you. <
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>To be continued...<
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>The End<
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>Lois<
>Shone the sun upon your last
eath,<
>You were

 gone with the rose, the thorns and pain, you?ve left behind. Not knowing what I do<
>I tried to follow through. Yet it wasn't time<
>To fall in line. <
>I guess I need to pay.<
>Don't we all before we lay. <
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>Mother here I come, <
>I could here you say. <
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>So long for now,<
>To all of you. <
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>For I've paved the way, for more to come. Paved the way, for the good of some. <
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>How we ran the course. <
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>Flew with some, and to hell with the rest. Say hello to our friends, if you happen to meet. A distant memory lay six below our feet.<
>They too, have paved the way. <
>Don't we all before the end.<
> Don't we all before we lay. <
>Doesn't it all just come to an end. <
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>Copyright 2003 by John Francis Wissler<
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>For Your Viewing Pleasure-Our Home Hemodialysis Training Pictures<
>groups.msn.com/DialysisTransplantCity/jfwagshomehemotraining.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=193 Edited by: Jfwag at: 12/27/03 7:31 am<
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Wonderful and Thanks



Joined: 13 Apr 2003
Posts: 1

 Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:11 am    Post subject: Powerful  

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I am grateful for your sharing this with us. I havent lived this ,but it
ought a whole different aspect of what dialysis patients and love ones go through. Life is valuable and precious and after talking to both of you in the past,I got to know you and the fact that you worked together.Its beautifully written and powerful. Best of luck with the book.<
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>Its hard to believe that it has already been a year. But I admire your dedication that you both had for each other. Many dont have that kind of love in a lifetime. <
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>Thank you so much for sharing. It meant alot to me as I have talked to you both in the past. Thanks for sharing and know that you are important to us here.<
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>Arlene  
 
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brenda



Joined: 28 Oct 2002
Posts: 103

 Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 2:28 am    Post subject: Much thanks  

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and appreciation to you, as I know first hand what is like to go thru this experience. I have often thought about writing something remembering Brent's life and his dialysis years. Don't know if I could really do it as well as you have done Lois's. I know the task that went along with this story, the pain, the problems, etc. but the devotion towards one another was a story worth reading. Much thanks for sharing this with all of us, my friend and extended family member.  
 
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aprnjam



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 85

 Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 2:48 am    Post subject: Wonderful!!  

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I've just had the opportunity to read the beginning of your story. It is powerful, spell-binding, and leaves you wanting to read the rest of the book. My heart goes out to you for the pain, confusion and suffering you felt that day with no sound answers from anyone. Excellent job! You are a very talented writer! <
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>Joyce  
 
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jfwag



Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 140

 Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:56 pm    Post subject: Now On Sale!!  

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Poignant Moments...A Caregiver's Perspective (formerly known as Lois' Story) is now on sale (finally) @ poignantmoments.tripod.com/ <
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« Last Edit: August 31, 2009, 05:57:17 AM by Administrator »
"Like me, you could.....be unfortunate enough to stumble upon a silent war. The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing,becomes as political an act as speaking out. Either way, you're accountable."

Arundhati Roy