Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Steve and Linda Make New Year's Resolutions

We're not terribly big on New Year's Resolutions in our family. My mother, who turns 93 this month, resolves, "Just get up everyday!"

When I asked Steve for his resolutions, his answer was simple,

"I want to walk. I don't care if it's with a walker or other equipment; I just want to walk."

Not such a simple request. With his new electric wheelchair, Steve is undeniably faster at scooting around during our weekly "dates" for dinner and a movie via Access Bus. But the truth is that he still has only one good limb - his right arm. His lower legs have a girth similar to my wrists - and these were the powerful calves that used to push 600 pounds on the leg press! His left arm was injured as a result of a fistula surgery, though it seems to be coming back little by little.

But walking means a better chance of survival and recovery from a Kidney Transplant surgery - and that is Steve's ultimate goal.

Steve asked me for my resolutions.

"Simple," I said, "I want to sleep in a big bed with you."

Since March of last year, Steve has been confined to a hospital bed. It's a requirement, given his mobility constraints and nursing care practicalities.

And while I logically recognize the necessity of the hospital bed, I miss the basic intimacy of sleeping with my life partner.

Next week brings another challenge: learning Peritoneal Dialysis. Because of Steve's limited fistula access - and the absolute lack of central line back-up sites, a new plan is critical. During our last few Home Hemodialysis runs, we've struggled with high venous pressure alarms.

We have only three or four runs to go before starting with the Peritoneal Dialysis training. I think we can limp along until next week.

So, it's a new year with new perspectives. We are grateful for the gifts we have.
Take care,
Linda Gromko, MD

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