Sept. 18, 2003 – Earlier this month I was advised to schedule a medical procedure called a lower GI scope, which is a painless and not very time-consuming procedure, if you don’t consider the necessary preparation.
In my case it was a liquid diet for 24 hours and the night before drinking 4-liters of colyte, which a pharmacist described to me as pineapple flavored sea water.
I protested that that was about a week’s liquids on a dialysis diet, but he assured me I would retain none of the colyte. He was right, for at dialysis the following day I weighed in at a pound lighter than usual.
Fortunately, Dr. Gene Crafton found nothing to be alarmed about during the procedure—not even any polyps as were found and removed a little more than
five years ago during a similar procedure.
I had received a registered letter from his office on the fifth anniversary of the last exam, but had managed to put it off until advised to proceed by the medical staff at the dialysis center.
The blood thinner I have to take to prevent clotting around a metal heart valve further complicated preparation.
Under the direction of the pharmacy department at Baptist Hospital in Oxford during the week before the procedure, I was switched from the long lasting
Coumadin thinner to a 12-hour chemical called Lovenox.
Lovenox is not a nice pill, but is given by injection in one’s midsection, “at least two inches from your belly button.”
Based on my age and weight and height, etc., the dosage was calculated to be 68 mg. It had arrived in a foam filled package with 30 syringes already filled with 100 mg.
So after viewing videotape on how to administer the shots, I was advised to “waste” 32 mg, resulting in a dose of 68 mg.
On the day of the first shot I was in the hospital lab three hours later so a blood sample could be drawn.
The following afternoon I was advised to increase the dosage to 98 mg., which reminded me of a recent discussion with grandson Marshall Bailey, who
is a freshman in civil engineering at Mississippi State.
We were discussing how construction civil engineers calculate to the nth degree how much strength is needed for bridges and foundations and such, and
I recalled that in olden days, careful engineers would do the calculations and then double the strength as a safety factor.
Anyway, I increased the dosage by one half, leaving it off the morning of the procedure as a precaution or if polyps were found.
Since there were none, that night I began taking Coumadin along with the shots which was to continue until the shots were no longer needed.
I was advised to alternate sides with the shots, which I confessed to Jo Ann I kept up with a jingle, “Right at night.”
Whatever works, she said, as she avoided watching.
I couldn’t complain for she had been very helpful during the colyte, which required that beginning at 5 o’clock I was to drink an 8-ounce glass of the stuff every 10 minutes. It took almost three hours, during which she was trying to listen to Bruce and Calhoun City football game and play Solitaire on the computer, while I was otherwise occupied in the adjoining room.
•To those who have not reached that plateau, at some point in life, medications become a controlling force.
On the following Saturday night we were in Big Creek where the Kitt Bryant family is, in addition to other pursuits, managing the Steak and Fish House.
As at all meals now I count out the three PhosLo pills that are designed to control the out-of-control phosphorus buildup that cannot be removed in dialysis.
Anyway, I had laid out the three pills and, since I have not been able to get a common answer as to just when during the meal to take them, took one before the meal, the second about half way through, and planned to take the third when I finished.
As we came in the door from our return trip from Big Creek the phone was ringing. It was Elizabeth Bryant calling from the restaurant. They had found a pill on the table, and she said she knew I had meant to take it.
Jo Ann thanked her profusely, told her to throw it away—that I had plenty more at home—and I immediately took another.
As Jo Ann often points out, it takes a lot of folks to take care of me, for which I am thankful. Not that it takes a lot of folks to do it, but that there are a lot of folks who care.