Many years ago, when I was diagnosed with lupus, my kidneys were failing. If you aren't sure about what lupus is, it's an autoimmune disease. There are times when the body's immune system starts up and doesn't know when to stop. For someone with lupus, the immune system can and will attack any or all systems of the body. This includes the skin, muscles, and organs, including the brain and nervous system. Lupus is often considered The Great Imitator because the symptoms can be like those associated with many other diseases.
In my case, I went to the hospital on a Sunday afternoon because my chest hurt so much the night before that I couldn't sleep. When I called Doctor Mike he told me that I needed to get in right away. Well, it turns out that I was retaining so much water that my weight was up 25 pounds and my lungs were filling with fluid. A biopsy a few days later showed that my immune cells were trying to kill my kidneys. It took a good long while and steroids and chemotherapy, but my kidneys were spared with only slight damage.
Now I am a diabetic, and that can cause problems for lots of body parts too, including the kidneys. When I had blood tests in July, my kidney function was phenomenal. I mean better than it has been in all of the years since I learned about the names and numbers and what they meant. In October, however, there was a bit of a jump in the wrong direction as far as my kidney function numbers were concerned. Doctor Mike said that it might be because of dehydration, but that we needed to check it again and protect my kidneys.
I had a visit with Doctor Mike last week and he said he wanted to do a blood draw to check on my kidney functions. His question was whether or not I was sufficiently hydrated for a proper reading. I knew I wasn't, so I scheduled to come back for a date with the needle. "I want you sloshing," Doctor Mike said. "You need to be drinking three liters of fluid a day."
Yikes. I am a chronic under-hydrator. I'm sure that it has a lot to do with spending years working in customer service and retail positions. Employers tend to not like it when you have to vacate the area or phone line frequently to have a tinkle. I trained myself to not let it interfere with my job, and now not drinking enough has become an unhealthy habit.
Tomorrow is my blood draw. I am trying really, really hard to drink a lot of fluid today. I'm at about 2 1/2 liters, and I have to say it's a real pain. I have been trying to drink several swallows every 10 to 15 minutes. When it started to get late in the afternoon, Trent asked what I felt like having for dinner. Honestly, my stomach is so full of drink that I can hardly think of eating any food. It's the drinking equivalent of eating too much Thanksgiving dinner. My stomach is so full of liquid, if anyone bumps into me, I will make a sloshing sound. It's so full of liquid, it's a wonder I can even breathe.
That's not even the best part. I can't get more than ten feet away from the bathroom because I have to pee every twenty minutes! Hang on a second, it's time for me to take six more swallows. And yes, I went before I started writing, and have already had to take a potty break. And I may need to go again before I finish writing this post. It may be a very unrestful night.
My complaints are partly in jest. My kidneys are very important to me. Also, we already have one kidney transplant patient in the house, and we don't need another. I am taking this more seriously than this post might make it seem. I've been down the impaired function road before, and that's a trip I don't want to take again. Please send me some positive thoughts for this blood draw tomorrow. I'd love to get a call from Mike in a couple of days saying that it was a false alarm and that my kidneys are doing their job and doing it well. We shall see what happens. In the meantime, I'm going to take a few more swallows. And then I have to go. No, really, I mean it, I have to GO!
The (Sloshed and) Raving Lunatic
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