Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 2013 - Ketchup

This post picks up where the last post left off, at the beginning of February. We'll have our usual weekly dose of drama, with some sad news to report in addition to that. Will we finally catch up to the current day with this post? Let's see . . .

February 1, 2013 (Friday): They were able to use two needles in Mom’s fistula today. Hopefully that will become the norm some day and I won't even bother making a note of it.

February 5: Do you remember the potential issue with Mom's insurance I mentioned in the last post, where she was switched to a Medicare Advantage plan for 2013? She was concerned that the transplant group would not take the new insurance, but she found out they do so that was a big relief. Well, today she found out today that Dr. C, the rheumatologist she has been seeing for decades and is a very critical doctor in terms of taking care of her arthritis and getting her medicine just right, does not take Medicare Advantage. And the doctor across the hall that Dr. C refers overflow patients to doesn’t take it either. We never thought to ask whether or not any of her other doctors take Medicare Advantage. It could potentially be awful if Mom has to find another rheumatologist. Fortunately she called Aetna about it later in the day and they are going to fax a form to her to complete which will hopefully let her switch back to Medicare.

February 6: Mom’s recent labs showed good results. Almost everything is where it should be, or heading in the right direction. You know what that means, don’t you? We're due for some sort of issue.

February 8 (Friday): Mom called me from dialysis before noon today and said her permacath was badly infected and will need to be replaced or removed. She said the area is very red and it hurts whenever they touch it. They are doing dialysis right now in the fistula and they are using the largest size needles. The nephrologist is on the way to the clinic to determine whether the catheter needs to be removed or replaced. It would be so nice to get this permacath removed permanently, but given the inconsistent success they have using the fistula I won't be surprised if the nephrologist says to replace it, or better yet, remove the infected one and put a new one on the other side.

Mom drove home from dialysis and my wife Cathy took her to the Plano Vascular Center where they removed the permacath. [And there was much rejoicing!] Cathy said the red area all around the permacath was due to pus. As a result of the infection, Mom was prescribed that very expensive antibiotic again. A bottle of 28 pills would have cost her around $3600 without insurance. I think she paid $10.

February 11 (Monday): Now the sad news. You may recall back in July of 2012 when it looked like Mom would be doing peritoneal dialysis, we went to the home of someone who is currently on peritoneal dialysis so we could learn about it from the perspective of a patient. I covered that visit in the December 12, 2012 blog post, where I referred to him and his wife as GM and CM. This week I learned that GM passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 11, at the age of 74. He had been released from the hospital the previous Wednesday after a bout with pneumonia. He seemed fine when we saw them in July, and again in November at the amyloidosis support group meeting in Dallas.

February 15: There were no issues at dialysis this week, other than a little excessive bleeding once when one of the needles was removed at the end of the session. Let's hope this streak of successes with the fistula continues so they won't even consider putting a permacath back in.

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, this blog is now caught up to the present day. Back when I published the first post on September 29, 2012 I wouldn't have guessed it would take me 61 posts to catch up. But I also wasn't expecting what has happened since September. So what happens now that we're caught up? I'll discuss that in the next post, which will be in a few days.

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