Once I was (relatively) forgiven for my (wildly funny) joke, things calmed down a bit. I was semi-permanently installed in that part of the emergency room for several more hours until around midnight.
After my residency there was completed, they found me a bed in a room up on the fourth (4th) floor and moved me there without much fanfare.
I think that I will stop typing and just let my hospital bed Facebook updates take over. These were done on my phone, and I was a bit groggy at the time(s), so pay no attention to the spelling errors…
Saturday morning before the visit to urgent care…
Another night at the bar with my new friend Ralph. Closed the place down again.. Say “hello”, Ralph…
From the hospital…
Bill Kammerer·Last Friday I climbed Half Dome.. Ever since then, I’ve considered it more of an accomplishment to be able to get my head higher than the toilet seat… Amazing how one’s perspective can change so quickly..
Going to be in the hospital for a few days. Maybe a week.
Happy aniversary Judy!
Feeling very handsome this morning.
Cream of rice cerial. And I’m trying to figure out if this other dish is French toast, potatoes, fish or bread. When you haven’t been able to eat much in 11days it doesn’t matter. Except maybe for fish, of course…
Just so there is no misunderstanding in the future, if anybody wants to invite me to join in on any Half Dome hikes, I’m pretty sure I have to wash my hair that day.
Jackpot!!! For only the first time since I’ve on the hospital, mine and my room mate’s jnfusion alarms went off and the life-flight helicopter landed at a time perfectly coinciding with the moment of the first instant I have fallen asleep since I have been here..
So, where’s all this ice cream?
AS difficult as it is to believe, I feel even more handsome this morning. And I have the breath to go with it..
Numbers back in the wrong direction. Boo. I wonder if I can get that changed to some sort of Alpha system.
Hospital food. I’ts what’s for dinner. And breakfast. And kinch.
two weeks ago right now we were getting ready to head out to the top of Half Dome. I had dropped 19 pounds in the 6 weeks leading up to it. Since last Saturday, in the hospital, I have gained 32 pounds based on fluid intake.
I have gone from Han Solo to Jaba The Hut in 5 days.
Don’t mess with the hut…
Steve to me in the ER last week: “…dad, you can have my kidneys”… I have never been so humbled in my life…
Good Lord… I have Hobbit feet…
starting dialysis early tomorrow morning. numbers aren’t coming down very well, so we’re going to force them down. Hopefully, dialysis will be only a temporary thing (if the kidneys decide to kick in, that should be the case). Bridges to be crossed when we get to them.
going for a ride to X-Ray.. Wwwweeeeeeeeeeeeee…
Time to roll the dice. My spit has the consistancy of uses chewing gum. And it’s lost it’s flavor in the bed pan overnight… There’s a song in there somewhere…
Hi All, I’m mosltly restricted to my Droid (with the ocassional foray onto my laptop when I can reach it) so it’s a bit difficult to keep up with you all. If you don’t hear from me personally very often, it’s not because I don’t love you any more.. 🙂 Just hard to navigate and type. Getting ready for another round of dialysis.
I am reminded that God draws straight with crooked lines…
Wow… Dialysis canceled for tomorrow….
This has been a life changing experience…
I get to go home today!!!!!!!!!!!
Just got home. Time to sleep. For about a week.
In the hospital, I went through 6 room mates. At home, I have a toilet seat I can trust…
Quick health update: I can walk, eat, carry light objects, sleep and pee. I prefer not to do them all at the same time, though…
For anybody who is interested, Judy actually provided more informative notes…
Bill Kammerer published a note.·
Inspirational Message from Bill Kammerer
Hello Bill’s Facebook Friends!
This is Judy, Bill’s wife. He wants me to convey a story to you about a man named Ted. Bill & Ted have been the best of friends for the past 30 years. Throughout that time, Bill has looked at Ted’s example when it comes to facing hard times. For instance, for many years Ted has fought and won on multiple occasions battles with leukemia. During those times, Ted has somehow miraculously provided daily and sometimes multiple times per day up-to-the-second detailed information chronicling his struggles, small setbacks, great successes, channeling the qualities of strength, fortitude and greatness missing so evidently in today’s society. And through it all, Teddy somehow incredibly maintained an unbiased approach in his daily reports. Bill has decided that Ted has provided a very high bar to reach for. However, because of Ted’s strength and courage, Bill has decided to attempt to follow his example as closely as possible, utilizing as much eloquence, objectivity, and attention to detail as so successfully employed by Ted. With that in mind, here is his first dispatch (verbatim):
Entry #1, day #1: Bill: “I am sick. I will get back with you.”
Entry #2, day #1 (about 1 hour after entry #1): Bill: “Refer to previous entry.”
Entry #3, day #1 (about 1/2 hour after entry #2): Bill: “Refer to” … at which point Judy had no choice but to interrupt with: “I can’t take this, Bill! You need to give a tad more information so your friends will have some kind of idea what is going on. Let me take care of this.” Bill smiles as he goes back to checking his email. (Now that I’m actually entering this into his Facebook account, I’m getting a sneaking suspicion he planned all this.)
Judy provides some details:
1. Bill hiked from the valley floor up to the top of Half Dome, 7/15, … 6-1/2 hours
2. After a short time at the top, Bill hiked back down Half Dome to the valley floor, 7/15 … 11-1/2 hours
[Side note: Don’t go for a long hike without proper fitting shoes for both up and down slopes.]
3. Total time of exertional muscle stress … 18 hours
4. Subsequent nausea, flank pain, can’t “make water” (remember, Bill’s not writing this)
5. Urgent Care visit #1, 7/20 (Oakhurst)
6. Abdominal x-ray & urinalysis … probable kidney infection … antibiotics started
7. Constant nausea, vomiting starts, abdominal pain
8. Urgent Care visit #2, 7/23 (Oakhurst), 10am
9. Blood tests:
potassium: 6.1 (normal 3.5 – 5.3 mmol/L)
BUN: 168 (normal 7 – 25 mg/dL)
creatinine: 19.02 (normal 0.76 – 1.46 mg/dL)
eGFR <4 (normal >60 mL/min/1.73m2)
[“All results verified by repeat analysis”]
10. Doctor: “Your numbers don’t match how you look” (as Bill flashes his brave smile)
11. Doctor: “You are in renal failure and we’re sending you to the hospital in Fresno by ambulance”
12. Community Regional Medical Center’s ER … all night … CT scan, ultrasound, blood tests
13. Doctors, nurses, Foley catheter insertion (Bill: “COWABUNGAHHHHHHHHH!!*$#@!”)
14. Constant IV hydration with normal saline, multiple doses of Kayexalate (Bill: “sh_t”)
15. Midnight admission to room 454B
16. Admission diagnoses that I remember: Acute renal failure, uricemia, hyperkalemia, hypertension
Hello Bill’s Facebook friends … it’s been a week, so time for an update. Being a hospital patient involves a lot of fading in and out of oblivion (eyes shut, snore, eyes flutter open, “oh hi,” half smile, a few drowsy words, eyes shut, repeat process) so I’m taking it upon myself to throw out a few bits of information . . .
1. Creatinine should be around 1.0 … was 19 in urgent care 7/23 and has sloooooooooowly come down (17, 16, 15, 14) to 13.8 yesterday.
2. BUN should be less than 25 … was 168 in urgent care 7/23 and has slooooooooooowly come down (145, 135) to 130 yesterday.
3. GFR should be greater than 60 … was 4 in urgent care 7/23 and actually was worse at 3 yesterday.
4. The nephrologist spoke with us at 7 pm last night and said that after a week of pushing normal saline IV and drinking clear fluids, the numbers aren’t anywhere near where they should be. And actually Bill started “third spacing” the previous hour, where the fluids were escaping into his skin. The nurses have a difficult time finding a vein to keep open for IV’s since his veins have closed up at the usual places and he’s very edematous (retaining fluid all over) which results in a lot of weight gain which is hard on the heart. They’ve been giving him blood pressure medicine, but his BP remains high at around 160/95.
5. He’s having a tough time with his medications that include a shot of heparin in the stomach every 8 hours, which causes nausea and dry heaves soon after. But the heparin is a necessary prophylaxis to prevent blood clots in the tube/catheter. He’s getting Zofran for the nausea. Hopefully his body will get used to the meds soon so he won’t need that.
6. So last night the nephrologist said she wanted to start dialysis in the morning, do it for 3 days in a row, then do a kidney biopsy Tuesday or Wednesday. Bill agreed and a dialysis nurse spoke with us at 9:30 pm last night. He explained the process pretty thoroughly along with possible scenarios.
7. Bill was taken to Interventional Radiology at 9:45 am this morning (Sunday) and he said the team of doctor/nurse/technicians was really great and they gave him meds to be drowsy and forget what happened. He now has a Perm Cath below his right shoulder with 2 tubes sticking out that are attached to the dialysis machine during the 3-4 hour dialysis procedure.
8. Bill was taken to the dialysis room on the 10th floor where they started his first dialysis at 1pm. Since Sundays are more relaxed, they let me accompany him and stand by the bed. I helped him with his hot chocolate and fruit as the machine whirled and beeped and whooshed away. One tube takes the blood out of his body and circulates it into a membrane tube that serves as an artificial kidney, taking the waste toxins out, and sending the cleaned blood through another tube back into his body. He said he didn’t really feel anything. They set it to also reduce the fluid he is retaining by 2 liters. His only side effect when they were done (after 3 hours) was a bad headache which decreased after he got back to his room.
9. His kidney function numbers and weight should decrease by the time he’s discharged on Wednesday or Thursday … whenever they can set up outpatient dialysis at a center in Fresno 3 days a week for hopefully a very short time.
10. Right now we don’t know what caused all this. The hike appears to have triggered things. The doctors know Bill lost just under 20 pounds over the 2 months leading up to it. They know he drank 6 liters of water during the hike, which wasn’t hot until the downhill portion (it started off as a midnight hike). He had no previous indication of kidney disease. The doctors know he was in the hospital in 8th grade for what was probably a kidney infection. The nephrologist believes there is a chronic component since it takes much longer than 1 week for a creatinine to climb to 19 and reflect renal failure. We’re hoping the kidney biopsy will provide a more clear diagnosis. It will be sent to a kidney pathologist at UCLA and take 1-2 weeks to get the results back.
Bill and I thank you for all your prayers, good wishes, and friendship. It makes things quite bearable. ~ Judy
Bill’s nephrologist came by with a smile on his face yesterday, happy to report that his kidney function numbers are vastly improved! Creatinine was 12.3 on Sunday (after a week of IV fluid resuscitation and prior to first dialysis), 5.6 on Monday, 4.4 on Tuesday, and 4.8 today (staying down after being off dialysis 2 days). BUN was 119 on Sunday, 43 on Monday, 35 on Tuesday, and 36 today.
On Monday, the plan was for a day of rest on Wednesday, then dialysis in the hospital Thursday, followed by temporary dialysis as an outpatient until the kidney biopsy results come back and the numbers show his kidney function is stable. But on Wednesday, they decided to cancel the Thursday dialysis and discontinue the 3200 mg of RenaGel 3x day (4 pills with each meal, which according to Bill are the size of submarines). I’m not sure which Bill was more excited about, but I think it was discontinuing the pills. And today … (drum roll please) … the nephrologist cancelled the order for outpatient dialysis altogether since it’s clear his kidney function is returning. The hospitalist will be the one to decide whether he gets his Perm Cath removed by Interventional Radiology before discharge or wait until after the biopsy report comes back.
We’re not sure when he will be discharged, but it sounds like it should be tomorrow or the weekend. He’ll probably spend a couple days asleep since he’s very pooped after 2 weeks of sleep deprivation.
Bill’s main worry during this ordeal was the possibility of starving to death. He speaks highly of his hospital care, but doesn’t have anything positive to say about the food. I think my most important role was to bring him hot chocolate several times a day.
Thank you for being great friends and family, and for your prayers and good wishes. It’s definitely time to rejoice! ~ Judy
One year later…
One year ago today, I had an ambulance ride to Community Medical Center where I was checked in and connected to tubes, hoses, leads and this tree thing that held bags full of liquids. When I got there, people were amazed that I was alive, though they didn’t tell me that at the time.
One year ago tomorrow, Judy and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in the hospital, along with our kids and their spouses and girlfriend.
Today I ordered a huge cake. Tomorrow Judy and I will celebrate our 41st anniversary by bringing that cake to the doctors, nurses and staff at the nurse’s station outside the door to the room where I lived for two weeks..
Thank you, God, for those nurses doctors and staff.