The Friday Routine

Monday I had to go to the lab to have blood work done for the Pittsburgh nephrologist. I have to have the comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) done once a month for the next year. This go-round she’s particularly interested in my potassium level because initially it was too high (“eat this low-potassium diet,” she said), and then the next work up showed it was too low, even though I hadn’t changed anything in my diet (“eat an extra banana,” she said.  Joke’s on her. I don’t even like bananas).  Losartan, the new blood pressure medication, can cause an increase in potassium in the blood. I don’t know what the long-term effect of that is but apparently she wants to keep an eye on it. The CMP will also show the eGFR (the measurement of kidney function), among other things of course.

(Feel free to skip this paragraph if pee talk just isn’t your thing.) I also picked up the giant orange juice-looking container for another 24-hour urine sample. It is exactly as it sounds. For a full 24 hours you collect all your urine in the “hat” and dump it in the container and store it in the fridge. Oh fun. This is the ‘definitive’ test of the amount of protein in the urine. The random samples, where you just pee in the cup, generally just gives a “normal” or “high” reading but doesn’t give the specific number.  I dropped off the container Friday and also had to give another “random” urine sample, which will be repeated monthly as well.  I’m not sure when the next 24-hour collection will be.

I already know that it might take three or four months to see if there is an increase in the eGFR and a decrease in the urine protein so I’m trying to prepare myself for not seeing any change in either when these results come in. But it’s hard.

Today was the first day in more than a month that my blood pressure was normal.  It had been really high, like 170/100 high. The PA doc was on leave earlier this week when I messaged her, but her colleague told me to quadruple one of the BP meds I was taking.  Quadruple. Wow. So now I’m on three different blood pressure meds and one I’m taking four of.  Still mystifying to me.  But I was so happy to see it drop way back down this morning. I was really getting concerned about that.

Have I mentioned that I haven’t been able to taste food in over a month? (No, not COVID-19, silly! My smeller’s great.) Yeah, it’s the prednisone of course. That is super frustrating! Even water tastes weird. Oh well. It’ll get better.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Yesterday was my first time back to hematology since the PA trip and the “self-isolation.”  I’ll start back to my every-other-Friday routine of getting lab work done to see if I need the Aranesp/red blood cell stimulating shot. My last shot was the day before I left for PA, so it’s been six weeks. Not surprisingly, I did need one today but my hemoglobin wasn’t terribly low, only 9.7.  Not bad for so long since the last visit.

Next up: video visit with Dr. A in about 10 days.

Hemoglobin: 9.7

Do not, I repeat, do NOT make the mistake of mixing this with your vodka.

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