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I Am Still Here

Can you believe it? It is January 16, 2023 and I am still in the hospital. It's almost mind-blowing for me. Literally, since. the year began, I haven't been outside this hospital. Nevertheless, I am not complaining. Someone went to sleep last night, with their affairs not in order and didn't wake up this morning. I remain grateful for life.

Even better, guess what? I am finally feeling great. It's been over a year since I have been well. Kidney failure is not for the faint at heart. It impacts every-single-part of your life. Things that you used to do become impossible to do. I mean things like walking, talking, and breathing. This is especially true when you are in end-stage kidney failure. My team of medical professionals are amazing. They made some decisions that others questioned. For example, putting off dialysis. They did not want to rush into dialysis (the process of using a machine to clean your blood) because the hope was that I would be transplanted quickly. The other reason for delaying dialysis was because I was still (and have always) been able to make urine, have BMs, and have certainly never lost my appetite. The inability to do all of these can be glaring signs that a person's kidney has absolutely no function and immediate dialysis needed. For me, I still kept all of those bodily functions. However, the time finally came and my body just needed a break. I was so backed up with toxins and fluid (over 100 extra lbs of fluid to be exact) that to say I got real ill would be an understatement. Hence, I came to the hospital and I am still in the hospital 15 days after coming to the emergency room on January 1 due to shortness of breath.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am expecting to be discharged this week. I told you guys I would write my way through this ordeal, keep you updated on the journey and that's what I am doing. The dialysis went well. Of course I was frightened to death. I had to call my big sister before going into the first procedure where they cut into my neck to place the tube. The doctors allowed me to have her on the phone up until the moment they started the actual procedure. LOL. I was like, "Can I have her on the phone the whole time?" I mean goodness, what if I didn't come through on the other side? Somebody needed to hear what happened, right? Can't just have medical people there and say, "Oh, he passed away from normal causes." Nope! I wanted someone to catch them saying, "Ooops! I didn't mean to cut his carotid artery!"

Thankfully, they did not cut my carotid artery and the installation of the temporary, emergency dialysis port went well. Do you all know they don't even put you to sleep for that? I was awake. Yes! Crazy, isn't? They do local anesthesia. I would have really preferred for them to put me all the way under. Just being honest. I was TERRIFIED.

They started dialysis right away. I have been receiving daily treatments since being in the hospital. After the first session, I felt immediately better. The pressure was relieved and I could feel the toxins leaving my body. It's all amazing. For those of you with your bodies intact, please take good care of your bodies and give it TLC or tender loving care--treat it nice. It works so hard for us. Every single day, all day long, our kidneys work non-stop to rid our bodies of toxic matter that if left in our bodies would render us immobile. If I could do it all over. If I could back up to when I was a child (and actually had the knowledge I have now), I would give my kidneys holidays. I would have drank less sodas (back in the day). I would have eaten better (growing up). I would have drank more water (as a child). I would have drank more beet juice tonics (once I became a health conscious vegan). I would have taken better care of myself. Well, for all of you out there that still have your kidneys and in functioning order you got nothing but time on your hands, I guess we can say I took one for the team. Don't be where I am now. True, COVID-19 was not something I necessarily could have prevented. Then again, I could have stayed home and stayed away from other living beings, huh? That's not really practical. Also, while COVID was the driving force, let's call a spade a spade. Most likely, I had some predisposition to or some vulnerability due to prior choices I have made. I realize I could be absolutely wrong here. I realize that my kidney failure could be 100% due to COVID and therefore out of my control. However, I think it's a better message to share if I say that we have to take actual and affirmative steps to control our own health destinies. So, it's my story and I am sticking to it. Overall, in my day, I could have benefited from eating less meat and drinking more water.

Since January 1, 2023, the hospital has removed approximately 100 pounds of toxic fluids from my body. These toxins rendered me immobile and sick as a dog. I couldn't even move my legs. Literally, the nurses and hospital technicians would come into my room to re-position my legs from time to time to keep me from getting bed sores. At one point I fell trying to go to the restroom and it took 3 nurses to get me up off the floor. I'm going to write about that experience in another post because it was a whole lesson in and of itself.

I came into the hospital weighing 265.5 lbs. Today, right now, I am at 175 lbs. I have about 10-15 more lbs to go to get back to the size I was prior to all of this. I cannot tell you how much better I feel with the excess fluid and toxins out of my body. My electrolytes and all my numbers are normalizing (except those directly kidney related like my BUN and Creatinine of course remain out of wack). However, my phosphorus, potassium, and others have come back to normal range. The body is an amazing machine.

I have so many experiences to share and I am looking forward to continuing to write about them. For example, I learned something from the experience of being evicted or moved from one room to the next. I was in one room for the majority of my stay; then, arbitrarily, they asked me to relocate to a new room. I was aggravated because I was comfortable and I was in a room that became a part of my identity room 2519A. That was who I was. But, once I moved to my new room, what I discovered was world shattering. Seriously. Another story I want to share, which I alluded to above, is about the time I fell and hit the floor. Lots of lessons there and the reason why I fell. Yet another story is concerning one of my roommates. He was an elderly man in his 70s. A kind, gentle giant. Something happened with him that sent me overboard-I want to share about that. It caused me to get real fired up. Then, there is the experience I had with a mental breakdown. I lost it. Temporarily, I went insane. my mind started to play tricks on me. I felt that the hospital building was moving. I called the nurse in (this was at 3AM) to ask if she could do something about the building moving, it was disturbing my sleep. She said, "Shawn the building is not moving." I broke down. I realized that I was going insane. I can't wait to share what I did to resolve that issue. Genius! And finally, since being in the hospital, I have had lots of time with the Lord. So much so that I have gotten new vision, new direction, and a new calling. Excited to share it with you, my community.

Light, peace, and love!

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