I just committed a cardinal sin. I set my laptop down on Dougy’s ottoman!
Out of nowhere, Dougy came running. He hopped up on the ottoman and gave a rigorous scratching to the battle scared fabric.
I got your message, Buster: “The ottoman is off limits to everyone but Dougy!!!”
Hard to believe this sweet little Persian guy, usually so full of good will, this pussycat can be so aggressively, obsessively possessive of the ottoman, yet that’s the way it is on Lane 2. Dougy’s ottoman. No trespassing.
For those who don’t follow me elsewhere, I’ve had problems getting on the Internet on my PC this first day back from hospitalization and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, my laptop is of the stupid variety. It isn’t set up to handle graphics chores.
(“Aw…!He just told us there’d be no new Dougy and Andy photos till he works out the technical glitch in his PC!”)
I did want to resume my blog as soon as possible on getting back, however, because I’ve a lot to tell you. First and foremost, as a weggie (a person diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, not an underwear waistband puller..!), diagnosed in 2003, I know the disease is for a lifetime: There is no cure.
I also know, as a weggie,that it can go into remission as it did in my case in 2005. Some weggies never know a time when their case is in remission. I was lucky and had several years that were active Wegener’s free.
But! But, it always is there, lurking behind the symptoms of other diseases. That is what the doctors at University Hospital (Denver) feel happened to me.
A couple months leading up to the week I became breathless and weak, I had a nondescript malaise, let’s call it, nothing alarming, just “there”. I didn’t feel really bad, yet I wasn’t 100% OK either.
I wasn’t alarmed.
Perhaps I should have been. The doctors feel an undiagnosed Wegener’s flare wiped out what kidney function the December 2003-May 2005 didn’t manage to do. Now, I will need dialysis three times a week. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just time-consuming: Four hours at a shot! It can be more or less that, depending on catheter function or need.
I tell you this because it is true. I don’t mean to depress you. I mean, this happened to me yet I am basically a happy, positive person. Let me tell you a little story about how I handled the news I was going to have to go on dialysis.
While at the University Hospital (Denver), several teams of doctors visited me each day, including one who’d been among the doctors who visited me daily in 2004. I was known to be a weggie, so the first thing they had to determine was whether my condition was Wegener’s granulomatosis or not.
No evidence of active Wegener’s showed up, but the signs were my kidneys had failed. (Of course, it was no secret to me because I couldn’t urinate!)
One by one, the doctors and interns, in pairs, came to report their findings to me. Each told a bit more of the story, but I knew where it was leading.
Finally, the nephrologist came by. The young doctor with him was quiet. The older doctor seemed uncomfortable or hesitant to give me the bad news.
“I have good news and I have bad news,” he said finally. The good news was it wasn’t Wegener’s I had, and you already know – just as I did! – what the bad news was: I had end term kidney disease. I would require dialysis in practical terms, many life changes in food eaten, and so on.
I sat on my bed in my hospital gown listening to what the doctor said. When he was finished (and clearly relieved I seemed to be taking it well), I said, “Doctor, you don’t have to worry about scaring the pants off of me because [comedic pause] I’m not wearing any.”
I got them both to laugh!
I tell you that story because I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I’ve had worse news from doctors after all, like when I learned I was a weggie.
My doctor came to my room and explained that my symptoms suggested one of three possibilities. He ticked off why two seemed less likely than the third, then said I most likely had Wegener’s granulomatosis and that I would be dead within two years.
On the third anniversary of the prediction of a two year life expectancy, I reminded my doctor of what he told me. “That sounds like the sort of thing I’d say,” he said. He actually was a very good doctor, one I still admire and respect immensely.
But when it comes to deadeye predictions, there are many factors that affect the outcome: Efficacy of treatment; patient’s attitude; the course of the disease and what stage it was caught at; faith; who knows?
The short of it (said he ironically), I will thrive and survive. I’m pigheaded that way.