Friday, 31 August 2018

An August camp with Dean

Meeting like minded folk is one of the pleasures of social media. Chrissie and have been in touch with Dean for a while now and he recently contacted us with a view to having a camp together. Fortuitously, I was just arranging to squeeze in a night out to keep up with my self imposed wild-camp-every-month-of-the-year challenge.

So it is that Dean and I are setting out late on Thursday afternoon.

It's utterly idyllic weather. Dry, not too warm, sunny. What more could you ask for? Good company? Tick!

We dine outside our tents. Dean enjoys photographing and videoing and we chew the fat on a wide variety of subjects before retiring, well after sunset.

It's a cool, clear night and we rise to the most beautiful morning. Our early walk back to Hayfield is wonderfully quiet and peaceful.

This view of Hayfield, the village where we're lucky enough to live, from the lower slopes of Kinder, is one I've never noticed before despite walking this area for years.

The most delightful of short trips. Thanks Dean. Here's to more.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Kidney donation, part 8

This journey really is a roller coaster.

We came back from a weekend away to find two letters re two different appointments on the same day, Sept 11th. One is for a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test and the other for a kidney scan. These are two big ones. The GFR process takes 6 hours. I'll be injected with some radioactive stuff and 4 blood samples will be taken over the 6 hour period. This shows how quickly the kidneys remove the stuff from my blood. The scan involves another injection and a scan is taken 2 hours later to show up my kidneys. Both these test are done in the Nuclear Medicine Centre at MRI.

Rereading the donation info revealed that this leaves only two further tests; an ECG and an ultrasound scan.

The letter re GFR tells me not to take any excessive exercise (nor caffeine, nor alcohol) on the evening before. I wondered if cycling to the hospital would be ok. I phoned Guy, my Transplant Coordinator to ask. He didn't know but said he'd check and get back to me.

A couple of days later Guy phoned and told me cycling in would be ok, but I must be there an hour before that test to allow my body to settle down. That means getting in for 8am, which is no problem. An early morning ride sounds good. Traffic may be quieter.

I took this opportunity to ask Guy if I was right about just the ECG and ultrasound left after these two big tests and he said, essentially, yes. He also told me that my ultrasound was booked and I'd be getting a letter shortly and I'd probably see the nephrologist (kidney specialist) doctor on either 19th or 26th of September, his surgeries being on Wednesdays only. At this appointment I should have the ECG. This doctor will assess my tests and decide if any extra ones need doing. It seems there may be another due to my age. Guy also said he didn't anticipate any problem with my GFR since the blood sample he took showed a GFR of 90, which apparently is the highest rate a blood test can show. Finally, he said I'd have a final scan before seeing the transplant surgeons. According to Jamie's transplant nurse, once I see the surgeons we'll know the end's not far off.

So, from feeling everything was going to take ages, it now appears that many things are going on within the next month or so.

In other news Jamie has been added to a waiting list for a deceased donation and simultaneously suspended from it, since he has a potential living donor. He will though start accruing points so if something goes wrong with my offer he will then be a high priority.

My fingers, and Jamie's, remain firmly crossed.

Pebbles and Islay send Jamie their love and big, sloppy kisses.

Comments are always welcome.

To read the whole story go to my kidney donation page which you can access on the left side of this blog.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Kidney donation, part 7

Today's been a day of mixed feelings.

My thoughts are a turmoil. In part it's to do with our labrador, Islay, being so poorly after an operation to rid her of a fungal infection in her sinuses. She's had the front of her skull shaved to allow two needles to be inserted for the application of cream to kill the infection. Home now, her nose is running with a nasty mixture of snot, cream and blood, as expected, and her skull and muzzle is swollen. She looks a sight. But it's all as predicted by the vet. Worse, she is likely to need a repeat of the operation in two weeks. I feel for her. This is nothing at all to do with the donation process, but everything to do with my mood as I cycled into Manchester this morning to meet my new Transplant Coordinator.

I met Guy, at the renal transplant base in Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI). I decided to cycle in to avoid any issues with traffic and parking. Plus it's good quality exercise and the 17 miles took less than an hour and a half. Guy was very pleasant and guided me through the work up to come. Today I had my height, weight and BMI checked. I also had some further blood samples taken along with blood pressure and I had a chest x ray.

Guy explained to me that the work up takes so long because access to the scanners used in a couple of the tests is prioritised towards folk with life threatening conditions. Since I'm healthy that puts me down the list. No account seems to be taken of the recipient's condition. But that's the way it works. As Guy explained, their team could do all the tests they needed in a matter of weeks but it's slowed by the access to scanners. 

In light of this it's no wonder that Guy predicts a 6 to 9 month process ahead. Chrissie and I have an Arctic trip planned for late summer 2019 and it's beginning to look as if this could be compromised given the length of time needed to get back to hill fitness after my operation. Guy's suggestion is to schedule the transplant until after that trip, which would be September 2019. As he says, there is no point in trying to rush recovery, better to delay the process by a few months. 

This is all hard to stomach but it's important to realise that the transplant could easily be delayed right at the last minute because either Jamie or I have a cold. Not to mention any other hiccups which tests mightt throw up. Nothing is certain.

I talked all this over with Chrissie after I got home and then phoned Jamie and explained all the above to him. That was hard. But Jamie sounded stoic and positive. He's clearly doing his very best to handle all this. I admire him for that. Although it's been made clear that the donation process is centred around me I cannot help but be honest with Jamie about what's happening along the way. For me, Jamie is at the centre of this and deserves no less.

So now I await the appointment for my next test, which I think is an ultrasound scan. Not sure, because I was a little overwhelmed with all the information today. No criticism intended.

Sorry to seem a little demoralised today. As I said to Jamie, I was perhaps naive in thinking all this would be done by the end of this year. However, I remain resolved to help him and will try to stay patient through the process to come.

I wish my friend Jamie well.

To read the whole story go to my kidney donation page which you can access on the left side of this blog.