Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Is the Giddiest Number

Spent one full day this week under the sheltering shadow of the Gateway Arch, receiving my quarterly kidney checkup at my transplant center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Now, I think I'm doing extremely well. All my vital signs appear normal (I take them myself every day), I'm in no pain to speak of (well, not around the transplant site, anyway), and my urine is generally clean and pure. (Sorry: TMI?) But this week's medical inspection confirmed my beliefs far beyond my wildest expectations.

The incredibly fetching LPN, Skye Smith, carefully reviewed all my significant test results and gave Karen and me three pieces of very good news. One, my blood work has been coming back so consistently within accepted ranges that I may now push back my blood tests from every Monday to every other week. My battered and beleaguered veins breathe a sigh of "Thank you."

Two, from now on my quarterly trek to St. Louis can become a semi-annual journey.  In fact, Skye suggested, if we prefer we can check in with my in-city kidney specialist, Dr. Abdel Moneim Attia, every six months and only make the drive to Missouri once a year! All the hotels and restaurants in St. Louis are breathing a groan of, "Awww, we'll miss all that money."

The third item, however, was most astonishing to me. My level of creatinine – possibly the body's best barometer of kidney function, a range that should fall between 0.9-1.3 for a healthy man of my age, a number that soared past 4.0 at the height of my kidney failure – is now standing at 1.0! Unbelievable! Hallelujah!

With God, my friends and neighbors, all things are possible.

My Cheyenne, which Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin referred to recently as "the world's most famous aftermarket kidney," is kicking some serious booty. I belong to the local support group chapter of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, and at most of our monthly meetings the members, almost all of whom are dialysis patients or transplant recipients, discuss their creatinine levels like they were comparing golf scores.

Can't wait till our next meeting. I don't know their numbers, but I'm betting my 1.0 will make me the medalist for this round.