Thursday, September 6, 2012

Now You Tell Me?


Last Thursday by invitation (they made me an offer I couldn't refuse)  I had an MRI, that's the tunnel one on the left not to be confused with  doughnut shaped CT scanner on the right.

See the difference? Me Neither. It's all in the technology: Magnets or X-rays

Anyhow the reason for it is I passed the two year mark in may. Thanks to my wife's magnificent gift of a Kidney, I'm now in my third year of a full life (not the half-life of Dialysis) .   

Here's the offer   (badly scanned)

The fine print under the heading  

  Heart Disease in Renal Transplant  

Heart disease ... leading cause of death ... kidney transplant recipients ... 

whoa, say that again? 

leading cause of death ... kidney transplant recipients ... 

Okay, okay no need to shout 

highest in the first 5 years post transplant ... even ... with no prior history of heart disease. 

By 3 years ... 40% of kidney transplant people ( I think they mean recipients not the doctors and nurses) have experienced a heart problem.  ... you are likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

Now you tell me!  

(The bold text and underlined text is not mine.)

How could I refuse an offer like that:- to find out just how well my ticker was ticking under the new regime.

The experience was neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

I was lying down almost comfortable but for my unsupported arms at full stretch elbows down on the edge of the mattress,  the right with a needle taped into the vein. Lucky I'm thin eh. (and not claustrophobic - the tunnel roof is up close and personal.) Still after an hour like that the forearm an bicep muscles did ache somewhat.

Did  I mention that at some point around needle insertion someone said something about a 'gusher'. I couldn't  get my head around all the monitoring paraphernalia across my chest to see what was going on. I have a vivid imagination.

At some point during the procedure I was injected with a heart stimulant so they could watch my old ticker go through its treadmill like paces. I was tempted to ask for a copy of the resultant video but it's not wide screen, its black & white, has one character and a plot only a doctor can appreciate: thumpity-thump, thumpity-thump, ...
The accompanying soundtrack of the magnets banging away was like an atonal heavy-metal rock opera while a voice in my headphones kept telling when to breath in - out - hold - breath normally; over an over again.  Despite the mild discomfort and the noise I nearly went to sleep except for the voice telling me to breath.    

As for the implied death sentence by heart attack, its a moot point. Post dialysis transplantees released from a strict diet tend to put on weight leading to high blood-pressure, high cholesterol and/or  diabetes which in turn leads to the the above scenarios.

I'm relieved not to fit the profile, I skipped dialysis, and I have kept off the 14 kilo's I lost in preparation for the transplant.