Saturday, April 2, 2011

A week without a doctor's visit

Yes, it is true. My family managed to make it a whole week without a single one of us visiting a doctor! No clinic visits, no surgeons, no lab work, no visits to the ER, no nephrologists, no sick kid visits to the family doctor, no hospital stays, no dentists, no eye doctors, no chiropractors, and, of course, no dialysis!

Now, to those of you who lead relatively healthy lives, this may not seem like a big deal to you. But, I can tell you that this has not happened in our house since the last week of May, 2010 - almost a whole year ago! I know this because with the overwhelming number of medical bills and insurance paperwork we get at our house, I find I need to use a spreadsheet to keep track of which bills have been paid, which ones haven't and which ones the insurance company screwed up. My spreadsheet for 2010 has 222 lines in it - thanks to four ER visits (three of which resulted in hospital stays), two fistula surgeries (one inpatient, one outpatient) and a whole host of dialysis sessions, all piled on top of the more routine medical visits.

I guess the most important factor in this momentous event is that Jeanne is down to followups at the clinic once every two weeks. One reason for this is that everything seems to be going great with the new kidney. Her creatinine levels are superb and it looks like the new kidney is going to work great for Jeanne (thanks, Barbara!). The other reason is that Jeanne has been through this before, having had her first transplant back in 1998. She's been following up with the same doctor at the same clinic for 13 years now. They know her and they know they can count on here to do the things she needs to do to keep the kidney going strong - most importantly, taking her medications at the right times and right dosages.

So, for me, this is a big deal. And the best part is that as time moves forward, I can look forward to more and more such weeks thanks to a wonderful sequence of events that allowed us to become part of a kidney donation chain that never would have been possible even a couple of years ago.

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