After an absence of about 3 ½ months from my Word Press friends, I promised that I would explain. I missed all you folks fiercely, and I apologize for disappearing without any warning – as you will see it was not my choice.
The first week of November, I went to dialysis one evening, as usual. Except this day my, right calf was aching and it had some fluid built up – something I had never seen before. I showed the nurse and she seemed very serious and got a doctor.
The doctor insisted that I go to emergency after dialysis, not my favorite end to the night but they had me worried. I objected, knowing that I would spend hours waiting – but they persevered and off I went.
In emergency, it was a quiet night, and I got registered and had an examination room by 11:30 pm – a record given I had only entered at 10:30 pm. I figured this may go smoother than I had anticipated. Wrong. An intern came and took a history – complex with my cancer and then kidney failure. He left the room about midnight, and I guess they decided that my condition wasn’t going to kill me until the morning shift came on – so there I sat in the room until 7 am. At 7 am, my favorite emerg doctor appeared – a stooped white haired old pro who has worked emerg for decades, and he is sharp. I was happy to see him. He wears a Yarmulke and the nurses talk about his 10 or 12 children.
He examined my leg, and we discussed it – he always involves his patients in the discussion and diagnosis. Dialysis patients are particularly susceptible to infections because of the reduction in circulation in extremities and nerve damage. He was sure this was an infection and a nasty one – cellulitis. This devil kills 30,000 people a year.
Therefore, I was admitted to hospital and started on massive intravenous antibiotics. I had no clothes, no computer, no anything except what was on my back.
After about a week, the doctors were comfortable that the infection was receding and they released me with a home care nurse scheduled to visit daily and a pile of oral antibiotics. One of the major annoyances with broad spectrum antibiotics is that they kill natural biota in the colon and hence create considerable diarrhea – no fun. So the leg with the infection was now double its normal size and I could barely walk on it. I had to cut the strap on my house sandals and duct tape around my foot to make it fit. I also had to slit the seams of my pants to get them to fit over the leg.
I figured that I’d at least console myself with my online friends and when I arrived home, I found there was no internet. I contacted the building manager and he told me that a modem in the office had blown and that the repairman would be there the next day – internet was supplied with my rent. A few days went by and still no internet. The manager started making excuses, getting lamer each time. I began to be suspicious as I had seen this once before – three years ago. Most of the units are rented by university students and management had cut off internet for December to save a few bucks. This annoyed me to no end but all I could do was complain and fume. Also unable to walk, I could not go out and find a hot spot to let folks know what was happening.
Meanwhile, dialysis was not going well and I started to retain fluid. I actually put on 60 pounds (30 kg) and it was interfering with breathing, walking, etc. After talking to the doctors, I got aggressive with my dialysis – setting treatment goals that were painful (removing 5 kg of fluid at a sitting, normally 2 kg) and doing extra treatments. Each time I returned, the fluid would be almost all back again.
Early in December, I was rotting in my room, unable to get on the internet, hardly able to walk, when my door buzzer sounded. I figured it was either medical supplies being dropped off or perhaps a nurse showing up unannounced, so I limped down the hallway to the door and there stood a thin, sprite-like woman with long hair.
“You know, Linda Hill”
I pondered that for a moment – did I know a Linda Hill who would be ringing my door bell? Then it started to dawn on me – Linda from Word Press! OMG! I must have looked stunned because she smiled.
“I can’t, my son is in the car [and sure enough there he was waving from the car at the curb].I had to come to Ottawa for an appointment and everyone was so worried about you that I got your address from another blogger and came by to make sure you were OK.”
I apologized for my untimely disappearance and explained what was happening. We chatted for about 10 minutes before she had to go. My spirits were greatly raised knowing that I had so many friends who were worried about me. I felt rather guilty that I had left them suddenly with no explanation. With my spirits bolstered, I returned to my room.
[TO BE CONTINUED …. JOIN US AGAIN TOMORROW TO FIND OUT HOW PAUL FOUND HIS WAY BACK TO WORDPRESS!]
Paul Curran photo by Paul Curran; Linda Hill photo by Linda Hill