Friday, June 10, 2011

a (well-deserved) shout out for Sidney

6 months ago I couldn't have told you where my kidneys reside (around the back, under the ribs), how big they are (each is about the size of a fist, or what they do (cleanse waste from the blood, after which it's combined with water to form urine).  

Nor did I have any idea how brutal kidney disease and subsequent failure could be. How difficult dialysis is. How much life is compromised when these organs most of us pay almost no attention to, can't do their job anymore. How many things can go wrong deep inside that most of us never, ever have to think about.

My brother did. And as I joined him on this journey, so did I.

I just heard he's going home tomorrow. With Sidney chugging along, quietly and effectively doing his job. And so, I'm going to spend a moment giving my former kidney the shout out he deserves.

Unbeknownst to him, after invasive surgery, he was whisked out of the only body he's every known only to be thrown into a system that's been outrageously compromised for 45 plus years.

He made me proud. 

He started working right away. Not only that, he started doing great job. I'm going to get a bit technical here so bear with me. From the Mayo Clinic website:

Creatinine is a chemical waste product that's produced by your muscle metabolism and to a smaller extent by eating meat. Healthy kidneys filter creatinine and other waste products from your blood. The filtered waste products leave your body in your urine.
If your kidneys aren't functioning properly, an increased level of creatinine may accumulate in your blood. A serum creatinine test measures the level of creatinine and gives you an estimate of how well your kidneys filter waste (glomerular filtration rate). A creatinine urine test can measure creatinine in your urine.
Normal creatinine levels in a male are 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dl) in adult males. When my brother started dialysis he was over 6. 

After surgery he was down to 4. 

Then 2.7. 

Then 1.4. That's when it seemed everyone was getting excited.

Yesterday Sidney got it down to 1.3, within spitting distance of normal.

This morning? 1.2. Yup, 1.2. Normal. Healthy. 4 days post op and that little kidney made the impossible possible. 

I'm so proud. 

I'm so relieved. 

And I'm so grateful that despite the drama, the big move, and the new home, Sidney's settling comfortably in.

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