Medical Mayhem

John is in for observation, for anything from 2 – 5 days. Turns out that when his blood/urine was tested on Thursday, his renal levels were fairly high (‘like only one kidney was working’) but not something the doctors were worried about as an immediate danger. From memory, whatever the hell they measure for kidney function was at 140 and should have been no more than 110. This morning it was at 170 and John’s blood pressure was 220 over something.

I’ve not spoken to any doctors as I haven’t been around when they have examined John, so bear in mind that all I am telling you is coming 2nd hand from John. So the information I have is patchy at best. Which doesn’t help me make any sense of it. Or stop me writing partial sentences.

Everything is still up in the air. Nothing has really been diagnosed. John’s sight loss could still be due to cat scratch disease, or it could be related to this problem with his kidneys, or it could be due to something else entirely (we still have to pick up the MRI results). We don’t know what these high renal readings mean. Is it high, but manageable? Does it mean his kidneys have ‘failed’? What’s the prognosis?

John’s case is further complicated by the fact that he has had Hep C for 15 or 20 years. It’s a chronic condition, but John’s liver specialist has been quite pleased with how his liver function tests have come back (although he was to go back in March to get the results of the latest tests done in January). Nevertheless, the kidney specialists have mentioned that it’s possible that John’s liver condition is related to the kidney condition, whatever that is.

Liver guy needs to hook up with kidney guys, who are already hooking up with the eye guys.

The not knowing is very stressful. Doctors have a tendency (justified, perhaps) never to rule something out until all possible tests have come back, but I just wish we knew what the hell it is we are contending with and what the potential outcomes of this are for John.

Not knowing, I find myself imagining John losing his sight completely, his organs failing one by one, dialysis, kidney and liver transplants, brain tumours, cancer, long protracted illnesses with hideous treatments that do not – in the end – help at all.

Surely having a diagnosis, what ever it is, would be easier to deal with than my worst-case-scenario imaginings?

I am attempting to keep myself grounded in reality (tests are being done, we will know something soon) and to keep myself focussed on the positives (at least we are finding out about whatever this is now, he’s getting medical care sooner rather than later), especially since I know I have to support John through this. But it is so fucking hard. And it feels so false. That bloody mask again. I want to crumple, dissolve into a depressive mess, hide in the bed, but I know I can’t.

John’s pretty freaked out as well, and I know he hates being in the hospital. He needs cuddles and emotional support, but instead he’s stuck in a public hospital ward.

I am so fucking scared.

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February 2004
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