Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmastime Brings Musical Visitors...and More Surgery

One of the most soothing - and invigorating - gifts Steve and I have received through Steve's illness has been the presence of live music. Whether in the hospital or at home, Steve and I have our own personal songwriter and vocalist - Bob Bost. Some of you may know that Bob also works as a graphics designer, and designed my beautiful cover for "Complications: A Doctor's Love Story," as well as the striking butterfly logo for my medical practice weight loss program (

Steve and I present Bob Bost with a framed copy of the cover he designed for "Complications: A Doctor's Love Story." The photo was taken in the Spring or Summer of 2009 - when Steve was ambulatory.

When Bob comes to sing, he often brings friends to sing too - friends like Larry Murante or Alecia Healey. Friday's friend was the celebrity songwriter and vocalist Linda Waterfall. Imagine - Bob Bost and Linda Waterfall singing right there in our living room!

They sang a variety of Christmas and Winter Solstice songs, beautifully phrased and accompanied by their accoustic guitars. It was a magical, musical evening.

When Linda playfully invited us to "welcome the darkness," she looked as joyous as a little girl at recess - doing exactly what she loved to do best.

Linda and Bob had sung for Steve in June 2010, when he was still an inpatient at Swedish Medical Center. He was so ill at the time, he barely remembers the visit - even though we all sang Happy Birthday to daughter Brita.

Linda and Bob both commented on how much better Steve looks and sounds. I see Steve every day, so I see the babysteps. They could see a bigger picture, and this was a wonderful gift for me.


But this morning, I am sitting - as I have done so many times before - in a surgical waiting room. We got off to a rocky start this early morning, as the Nurses' Aides transported Steve awkwardly in the Hoyer Lift - flexing his hips too far for his comfort, evoking sincere groans from Steve.

A kind and competent nurse took Steve's medical history - his unbelievably complex medical history. It's odd the things we have now normalized. I heard myself say, "Oh, yes, he does have a pacemaker," and "That's right, he had Legionnaire's Disease many years ago."

And always, "Yes, we do dialysis at home - Home Hemodialysis, and his last treatment was yesterday morning."

But in the Surgical Pre-Op area, Steve slid into the well-oiled machine. Today, he will receive a Peritoneal Dialysis catheter placed laparoscopically into his abdomen.

We are running out of fistula access positions for dialysis, and there is no remaining central line position available due to earlier narrowings! This is a vulnerable spot to be in, and Steve is in full agreement with the pro-active approach.

With a little luck, we'll be finished with our Home Peritoneal Dialysis Training before his current dialysis fistula goes down once again.

Take care,
Linda Gromko, MD


  1. Wishing you and Steve the best as you begin the PD experience and hope that he continues to move forward to better health. Baby steps are okay when they're in the right direction.

    Happy holidays to you all. May the new year bring you more music, joy and laughter.

    Best wishes always,

  2. Miriam,
    As always, thank you for your good wishes and your support, Miriam. It's been an eventful year for you, too. I hope your holidays have been wonderful, and wish you the best in the year ahead!
    PS - I will be contacting you with my PD questions, so refresh your memory!