Saturday, January 31, 2015

2014 Recap

Ok, now that I have finished blogging about 2014 it is time for the 2014 recap, following more or less the same format I used for the 2013 recap.

First, here is what happened in the blog in 2014:
  • 27 new blog posts were written, which is an average of one every two weeks.
  • 21 articles were reviewed in 19 blog posts.
  • 22 additional countries visited the blog, bringing the total to 101.
  • The blog received 25 spam comments. Here are my favorite sentences from those:
Cuticles function as barriers to bacteria and fungus, but they can often overgrow.
The Hair Loss and Business Conference is just one of the new hairs against one of your longer hairs.
Reading through this post reminds me of my old roommate! He always kept chatting about this.

In personal news, here is what happened in 2014:
  • After being removed from the kidney transplant list in November of 2013, Mom was put back on the list in May of 2014 due to a change in how they categorize transplant candidates. Her wait time continued to accrue while she was off the list, which is good news.
  • During 2014 Mom had the following notable medical procedures and events:
    • Kidney ultrasound
    • Echocardiogram
    • At least two EKGs
    • At least two colonoscopies
    • Capsule endoscopy (swallowing a pill camera) 
    • Four emergency room visits for a recurring GI bleed, leading to three hospitalizations with a total of 16 nights in the hospital
    • Blood transfusions on three separate occasions
    • One overnight hospitalization for increased heart rate
    • Diagnosed with diverticulosis (not diverticulitis)

Dialysis was not a major issue this year like it was in previous years. Mom did switch to a new nephrologist at the dialysis clinic and she has changed her dialysis time to the late afternoon/evening slot, and the situation with dialysis is stable.

So what's in store for the blog in 2015? Generally speaking, more of the same. In addition to the updates on Mom as necessary I do want to try to publish at least one article review per month. There are not very many left that provide any significant information on fibrinogen amyloidosis, and I think I have reviewed all of the articles I am aware of that deal exclusively with fibrinogen amyloidosis. So I might finish the reviews of all relevant published articles this year.

In real world happenings, the big event in 2015 will be the familial amyloidosis meeting in Chicago at the end of October. Mom and I already have our rooms reserved, so hopefully we will see you there. It looks like one of the breakout sessions on the agenda is specifically for non-ATTR variants, so that should be informative for us aFibbers.

The next post will be an update on the situation with Mom's elevated heart rate. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome to 2015 everyone. Since this is my third Happy New Year post in the history of this blog I put three exclamation points in the title. Hopefully I'll be around long enough such that the number of exclamation points becomes ridiculous.

Instead of being a recap of 2014, this blog post will be another Mom update since there was some additional activity in 2014. At the end of the previous update she had been released from the hospital on November 26 after being admitted on November 22 for yet another GI bleed. I mentioned at the end of that blog post that based on the average number of days between hospital visits for GI bleeds in 2014, the next one would be due around January 29 of this year. It turns out we did not have to wait that long for another hospital visit, unfortunately.

You may remember that shortly after being admitted to the hospital in November, she had an episode where her heart rate jumped up to the 140s while she was resting comfortably in the hospital bed. That did not happen again during that hospital stay, but it did happen again on December 10 and then again on December 16. In both cases she was at home, at rest, and her blood pressure was fine when her pulse went up. There was no major discomfort (unlike the episode in the hospital), so she was able to lie down, take some additional blood pressure medicine, and have the pulse come back down after a couple of hours. And then it was time for Christmas . . .

Mom was having dialysis the afternoon of Wednesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve). After being on dialysis for about an hour she started having chest pains and could feel her increased heart rate, so she called my sister Amy and asked if she could come get her and take her to the hospital. Amy suggested that Mom instead have the dialysis clinic call 911 since she was having chest pains, which does seem like an obvious thing to do with those symptoms. Amy headed to the dialysis clinic, the ambulance came for Mom, and Amy followed the ambulance to the closest hospital which was one none of us were familiar with. The ambulance did not have its siren on, so the paramedics must have determined it was not a life or death situation at this point. I believe they gave Mom a nitroglycerin tablet in the ambulance and her heart rate started to come down.

Mom arrived in the emergency room and was admitted after they did the standard stuff such as drawing blood, taking a chest x-ray, and doing an EKG. Everything looked fine but they admitted her for observation and planned to do a chemical stress test the next day. Mom had the chemical stress test Christmas morning (December 25), no abnormalities were found, and she was released that afternoon. Merry Christmas! (Fortunately we had done most of our family Christmas stuff on Tuesday of that week, so no plans had to be changed as a result of this hospital visit.)

So that is how we finished 2014, with yet another hospitalization. The next post, which will hopefully be this month, will be the 2014 recap/year in review.

=====Monthly Blog Status Update===== 

As of December 31, 2014:

Total posts: 145 (1 in December)

Total pageviews: 22,300 (~800 in December)

Email subscribers: 12 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 101

No new countries viewed the blog in December.