Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A jug of pee, and thou.

I really like my new kidney doctor at UT. His name is Dr. Suresh and he's handsome in the way some Indian men are.

He orders a 24 hour urine test to see if my lupus is eating my kidneys up. We've known something was going on for the past year. We just aren't sure what. I've been really lucky not to have nephritis and the type of SLE I have morphed out of a type of discoid that isn't associated with a high incidence of nephritis. This appears to be changing.

I've had this test before, but usually I'm in the hospital and all I have to really do is the peeing part. Not the collecting and pouring into the jug part.

"So, do I keep this in the refrigerator?" I ask.

"No." He says. "People will think you are odd if you do something like that. Urine isn't something you want to see someone's refrigerator."

Funny, funny man.

Not that I don't feel odd enough saving my urine over a 24 hour period. And I have two bathrooms so I have to move the urine saving paraphernalia from one to the other.

So, today I go into the lab at tiny little Baptist hospital in Newport to deliver my jug of urine. I also have to have about a quart of blood drawn. We get into an argument about the C3, C4 test.

Evidently the Mayo wants you to fast to do a C3, C4. I've never fasted for this.

"Just do it." I say.

The head tech has a book out. They evidently haven't seen a C3, C4 test before. I'm not surprised. I've had local medicos tell me the damn thing didn't exist.

"But the Mayo says...."

"Look, I've had this test done for the past 15 years. It's the primary indicator of how apeshit my lupus is going. The Mayo may say to fast, but the NIH, Emory, MUSC and UT say go for it. I need that test. Just do it."

I'm so damn tired. Bone, sick tired. I don't really need to be getting flack about something I know more about than the lab tech.

I get a wee bit snappish when I'm tired.

When I get into the phleeb, she looks nervous. I think the head tech has warned her that I'm "difficult". I'm not really. I hand her my jug of pee.

"Man, does that look like a lot of pee to you?. It looks like a lot of pee to me."

I'm trying to set her at ease with my quirky sense of humor. It's important that phleebs are relaxed and confident. That way you don't end up with a big bruise on you arm and I'm an easy draw so there really is no need for that.

She doesn't know if that is a lot of pee or not. She writes my name and when I started collecting the pee on the tag on the jug.

I show her my good vein. I've been using the same vein for 20 years. It's never failed me and even the most junior phleeb can hit it. She hits it without any trouble, but still is a bit nervous.

She drops one of the red tubes.

"I can hold the needle if you need to pick that up." I say.

She looks horrified but doesn't say anything.

"I have a lot of experience with hospitals. I was in one for six months. Anyplace you stay for six months becomes very familiar."

We talk a bit about my hospital experiences as she slips in the eight tubes to collect all the red stuff. I tell her about my living despite only having a 10 percent chance of doing so. I crack a few more inappropriate hospital jokes.

"And look at you are!" She says.

I laugh. It's hard to laugh as tired as I am, but I feel good that I've at least brightened up this one phleeb's day a bit with my irreverence.

"But you never really get over know...every time you go into a hospital...that maybe you won't be leaving there for some time. Since it happened once before. It's not really the sort of place you want to be familiar with."

I leave feeling that odd elation I always feel when I escape the hospital.


  1. BBC said...
    I’m sure that you don’t need this, but I spotted it in a newspaper today.

    Easy Goat Cheese Pizza
    Serves 4

    ¼ cup of tomato sause
    2 personal-size pizza crusts
    4 ounces goat cheese
    1 red onion, sliced
    10 sun-dried tomatoes (from a jar), sliced
    12 pitted olives (any kind)
    1 handful torn basil leaves, optional

    # Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a large baking sheet inside.

    # Spread tomato sauce on each pizza crust. Distribute dollops of goat cheese on each crust. Scatter red onion, sun-dried tomatoes and olives on top.

    Bake on preheated baking sheet 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and crispy. Top with basil leaves, if desired.

    A jug of pee.....

    I drink so much coffee in the morning and enough beer in the evening that providing a jug of pee, umm, or coffee or beer, is pretty easy. It seems like I'm always peeing. LOL

    But Lupus, ugg, nasty stuff. Just live each day as if it is a gift. Many with it didn't make it as far as you have. Hugs.
    Hayden said...
    uggh. 6 months- I can't imagine. I walked into an ER 3 yrs ago to have something "checked" and got checked in for 2 weeks. Terrified by hospitals ever since.

    I like your attitude w/ the phleeb.
    seejanemom said...
    I know some of the regulars around here aren't the praying types...and that's what makes the world interesting....but I am.

    And I will be.
    Anonymous said...
    Yo, Rosie; let's not get started on the medical stories, funny though they be to some of us. I'll be too tempted, I fear, and I already got a surfeit of those, thankee most kindly.

    As to my topic (yes, I had one) you got my re-play of a PM yet? I re-spelled your addy; it was (mostly) a fudge order.

    Anonymous said...
    Where's all the lil code letters; they were beginning to be overwhelming: eight characters of xlzldpkjj

    Johnie agin
    Anne Johnson said...
    Prayers will be said to Queen Brighid the Bright on your behalf tonight. She's bored, you see, and she has plenty of time to help people out.
    Rosie said...
    Hey Jane...We aren't all "godless liberals" fact, a few of us have more gods than we're supposed to . Pray is always appreciated.

    Hey Johnie...I ditched the little letters. It was annoying me on other people's blogs so I got rid of them on mine.

    Thanks, Anne. Our own Bridey was doing her happy goat dance on my shoulders today. I am feeling better today.
    Zan said...
    I've never had to fast to do a C3, C4 either. And I get 'em every four months. (Doncha just loooove Lupus?)

    I have to say, you write wonderfully. And I'm so stealing that pizza recipe :)

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