Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coming to Grips, Sorta...

Coming home from the trip I did something I had never done as an adult. Make an appointment for a physical. Other than the kidney stone, I only saw a doctor every other year or so when bronchitis set in after a bad cold. The physical yielded nothing unexpected. I had really high blood pressure and my cholesterol was beginning to creep up, but hey, I was in my mid-forties, that was normal. But the blood pressure was anything but normal. Despite changing medications, using a cocktail of medications and changing dosages, the blood pressure kept creeping up. We'd get it under control for a while and then bingo! Back up it would go.

Side effects were major issue. I felt bad afer taking the big med's with headaches, dizziness and weakness. Fatigue became constant with frequent naps after work. Occasionally I'd fall asleep in traffic and have a couple of dented bumpers to show for it. My ankles were contantly swelling and I started taking diuretics but they were limited in therapeutic value. 

Expense was another issue. At the beginning I paid for expenses upfront and was reimbursed by the company's insurance carrier after filing claim forms and receipts. Eventually the insurance changed to a PPO which was better. Now I just had to pay the copay's, which were still expensive since most were top tier brands.

We gave some thought to PKD during all of this, but I refused to consider the option that I would face kidney failure. The very words would just stop my thinking process. Of course, there is very little you can do. I started trying to improve my eating habits, mainly by avoiding salt and cutting way back on coffee and caffeine, trying to exercise more and keep tabs on the blood pressure. High blood pressure is the biggest destroyer of kidneys.

But that's the problem with PKD. When it starts causing problems, you can just treat the symptoms. And then hang on and see where it goes.

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