June 21, 2019
The appointment with my PCP finally arrived. I explained all my symptoms and how they tended to occur mostly with physical exertion. He ordered more blood work, and this time my hemoglobin was 9.0. So it had actually DROPPED even though I had been taking iron supplements and eating iron-fortified foods. (Remember Rose saying I wouldn’t be able to make this up with just supplements??) The doctor wrote a prescription for high-potency iron (65 mg) which was quite a bit more than the 18 mg I was taking over the counter.
Now, I like this doctor well enough. I’m going to call him Dr. S. He’s nice, he doesn’t rush me out of the office. But there’s just no sense of urgency about him. He’s very low energy and somewhat passive. But… I have seen him two whole times, and that might be a record for me and primary care providers. During that visit with him, I had also requested a lipid panel be completed, as I had continued to work on losing weight and wanted to see how my labs were doing. He said he would order it. I kept checking online to see the results but nothing was posted. After a couple weeks I emailed him and asked if he had ordered the labs we had spoke of during my visit. Apparently he forgot. He put in an order for the labs, and I was pleased to see that all my numbers were in the normal range.
Shortly thereafter, I received a message from his medical assistant, stating that upon reviewing my labs, my kidney function was “a little low” and that he was referring me for a kidney ultrasound. Well that didn’t sound good. Upon reading my labs more carefully and comparing them to norms published by Dr. Google, I was hit with the realization that my kidney function was not “low”! I was in stage 3 renal failure! What the fuck?? How the hell does that happen??
I didn’t suspect cancer, because in my mind, it would be highly unlikely to have cancer in BOTH kidneys, and people survive fine with only one kidney and aren’t in renal failure. So what the hell was going on? Luckily I didn’t have to wait long for the ultrasound. I had one scheduled the following week for my thyroid follow up, and they were able to add the kidney ultrasound on the same day. Just as I figured, it was normal. And now the fun was about to begin.