Log in

No account? Create an account
I just posted this on Facebook so this isn't all news. I'm reposting here for those who might be interested or know someone who might be.
     This month marks one year that I have been on dialysis. On September 19, 2012 I went to the emergency room suffering from headache, fatigue and chest pains. The ER nurse took my blood pressure and found that it was 211/182 (normal blood pressure averages around 110/70). I was at risk of having a stroke. A blood sample revealed that I was in kidney failure and that my kidneys were functioning at only 6%. I was admitted to the hospital immediately.
The next 2 weeks were a blur of drugs and procedures. The doctors could not figure out what had caused my kidneys to fail, but it became apparent that the function would not return. Their best guess is that my unchecked blood pressure was too much for my kidneys and caused irreparable damage. The only option available to me was dialysis and medication while I waited for transplant.
The symptoms of kidney failure are subtle and easily mistaken for other things, so it’s likely that I had been sick for some time without even realizing it. I mistook the fatigue as a product of my life as a single parent and full-time student. Likewise, hypertension is generally asymptomatic, so I didn’t realize how serious my health problems were. By then irreversible damage had been done to my kidneys.
     I have done pretty well on dialysis. With the help of lots of pharmaceuticals my blood pressure is stabilized. I definitely feel better than I did when I walked into the ER a year ago. But I am still not 100%. Dialysis is still only equivalent to about 15% kidney function, which means I am really tired most of the time, I have to restrict my fluid intake because my body cannot eliminate the excess efficiently (and excess fluid means my bp goes up, I swell up, have difficulty breathing and feel like crap). I also have to periodically take supplements to aid in red blood cell production, since that is part of the work kidneys do as well. Dialysis is just a stopgap; working as life support until a better alternative comes through. I still have to monitor my health very closely, see a nephrologist on a monthly basis, restrict my fluid intake, check my blood pressure frequently, have frequent blood tests and do dialysis daily.
     This is in great part the reason I recently moved from Los Angeles to Oregon. The cost of living is much greater in CA and in my current state of health I am not well enough to work full-time. Additionally, the wait for transplant in Southern California averages about 8 years, while in Oregon the wait is only about 2 years. Obviously that is a significant difference. The wait drops to no time at all if someone comes forward to donate a kidney to me.
     Sadly, there is a great shortage of donor organs in the US right now. Many people will spend a lifetime on dialysis or die before a needed organ becomes available. This doesn’t have to be the case. I am writing this mostly to encourage you to be an organ donor. Doing so could save so many lives. Kidneys are not the only organs that are in short supply. By being an organ donor, you would fulfill such a great need and potentially improve the quality of life, and extend life for so many people. You don’t have to wait to donate a kidney either. You can live with only one kidney, and studies show that the quality of life is not diminished for people who donate kidneys, while the quality of life for recipients is greatly improved. Additionally, kidneys donated by living donors last longer and have a lower rate of rejection than those from cadaver organs (organs donated post mortem).
     So yeah, I am asking anyone who is interested to give me an organ, but more generally, I hope all of you become organ donors. I have met some amazing people in online communities in the time that I have been dealing with this disease—people who have been sick for far longer than I have been and many who are far sicker than I am. They suffer simply because there are just not enough organs for those who need them. This does not need to be the case. You can be a part of improving the quality of life for scores of people by doing this one thing.
     Finally, I would just like to address a few of the common concerns that could come up for people who are considering being a live donor. You might worry that you don’t have insurance, or that your insurance might not cover the cost. The recipient’s insurance covers all costs related to transplant, from initial screening, through surgery and the post-operative period. The screening process for donor and recipient are very rigorous and no one is allowed to donate if there is any risk that doing so would cause them potential harm. People with existing serious health conditions are immediately excluded from live donation. If you are interested in donating to me and find that we don’t share the same blood type (I’m B+, by the way) then a donor swap is possible, where your organ goes to someone who is a match but has a donor who is not a match while I get matched with another donor.
     If you are interested in donating, I ask that you first do some serious research into what this entails before contacting me. Discuss it with your physician, family and even your employer (you’ll need to take some time off work). Talk to people who have been donors. If you have any further questions after reading this, please ask in comments or message me directly. It is not a decision that one should take lightly. At the same time, I don’t feel capable of dealing with the disappointment of someone offering to donate and then changing their mind. Please be sure. Then contact me and we can initiate the screening process. You can also get in touch with the Living Kidney Donor Network. They match people who are interested in donating kidneys to people in need of transplant. In the US you don’t have to be related to or acquainted with someone to donate so you could make a huge difference in the life of a complete stranger. It would be a really amazing thing to do. Please consider being a living donor or at least donating your organs after your demise.
      Please feel free to share this with your networks if you think you know people who might be interested in becoming living kidney donors as well.
     Thanks for taking the time to read this.

What's the time?

"Paul Revere" was the first rap song that I knew all the words to. I listened to "Licensed to Ill" so much that I wore the tape out. Every track on that album has a distinct memory for me-- roller skating at Skate City to "Brass Monkey" in middle school, and also dancing around my kitchen a decade later with my two toddlers. Listening to "Girls" on the bus to school in the mornings, and then that one day realizing that the lyrics were kind of wack (and loving that song anyway). Besides, I couldn't stay mad at the Beasties. Even when they spat the occasional wack line, they were so goofy that you couldn't keep from busting up long enough to stay mad at them. They were my favorites from way back.
& MCA was my favorite Beastie Boy. I fell in love with his voice on that first album. I still remember pressing my ear against my boom box, hungrily listening for the sound that was so distinctly him-- booming and raspy. He gave me feelings that I didn't have words for back then, but there was a roughness and depth to his voice that moved me more than any other mc.Once, when I was in high school I was talking on the phone with my boyfriend. Rather, he was talking and I was kind of bored and listening to the Beastie Boys. I absent-mindedly started rapping along with MCA on "Time to Get Ill" and my bf freaked out because he thought there was a dude on the phone. I don't think I ever did convince him that it was just me. I think I had listened so closely to that album for so long that it became such a deep part of me that sometimes it would just come bubbling up and I could channel MCA and convincingly say, "today I feel like chillin just as chill as I can," because after all that listening, he was kind of in me, you know?
the Beastie Boys were the soundtrack for a lot of people my age growing up. On Facebook, I am really amazed by the diversity of people who are posting about MCA's death. But the Beastie Boys really did bring a generation together. Even the hardcore hip-hop heads I know who will tell you white boys can't rap will give The Beastie Boys their due props. People I remember as metal heads in high school miss MCA too-- then again, they were a punk band first. & The Beastie Boys definitely had a gift for laying bare the common roots of hip hop and punk-- the frustration of youth, the intensity, the anger, all tinged with a trace of humor and self-deprecation. For me, MCA's rasp perfectly epitomized everything about the irrepressible immediacy of youth bubbling up demanding to be heard. He will be missed.
I'm going to go now and spend the day dancing to The Beastie Boys. Just like in high school, I will dance like crazy in my bedroom-- with no trace of self-consciousness-- as if MCA and I are the only 2 people in the world. After all this time, he is still my favorite. RIP.
Black and white striped bikini cut underpants, mocha colored bra, white hanes ankle socks (with pink heels and toes), Lucky brand jeans that didn't fit a year ago, but are now kind of loose-- they are too long, so the bottoms are pretty badly frayed. There's also a tear that's spreading along the inner thigh, but it's still small enough that it's not visible for the most part. The tear is also low enough that even if it get bigger, it still won't be indecent. The jeans are also dyed in that weird way where they are more faded on the thighs and darker on the bottom and in the rear. Not my most favorite, because I feel like it brings unwanted attention to my thighs. Still these are the most comfortable pair of jeans I own.
     my shirt is a tangerine long sleeved tee. I think I got it from Old Navy. It has a superfluous chest pocket that is maybe just big enough to fit a small tin of lip balm. I hate shirt pockets, but it's a nice shirt to wear when it's a bit cool out.
     shoes-- my fluevog soccer sneaks that I wear almost all the time. They kind of look like soccer shoes and are black with brown and turquoise stripes. The shoestrings are turquoise and brown. They are laced with two pairs of strings and threaded so that the colors alternate. 
oh, & lest I forget, my lip piercing, the vertical labret: 18 gauge stainless steel curved barbell with stainless steel beads on the end. & a few cowrie shells in my hair, a silver cuff and a few beads. But honestly, my hair is so thick I kind of lose track of what all is in there.


thanksgiving food!

Here are some pics from Thanksgiving. There would have been more, but by the time everything was ready, we all just wanted to eat. There was no time for snapping pictures. The turkey was gorgeous and tasty. They stuffing was even better than I had hoped. The biscuits stuck to the baking sheet a bit, but were still quite tasty. My biscuits usually slide off, but I think the cheese made them sticky. Also, I think I am going to ask the property management to calibrate the stove because I think it's running a bit hot. The Girl made sweet potato casserole that was just perfect. She got the perfect balance of spiciness and sweetness. I'm so proud of her.the goodsCollapse )Read more...Collapse )
Done: bacon jam, cranberry chutney, cornbread for stuffing, green beans blanched, crab legs shucked, mushroom soup is simmering, and the turkey brined. Tomorrow all I need to do is assemble the stuffing, bake the turkey, cook the biscuits, potatoes, yams and pineapple upside down cake. I can't wait to eat!
     I turned in the prospectus yesterday, so I decided that we were all deserving of a treat. I deserved a treat for my hard work, and The Kids deserved a treat for putting up with me. So I decided we'd all go see HP 7. It was pretty awesome, much better than the book and I think my favorite of the franchise so far.The pacing was perfect, which is something I found lacking in the novel. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was still on the edge of my seat. Also, there was an additional scene that wasn't in the novel that made me cry. Such a good movie. I can't wait until the next installment comes out.
      OK, I need to check on my soup and put the green bean casserole together. & after that, I still have to make actual dinner for these children. Later gators.
The Farmer's market is foodie church, and since we are coming up on a high holy day, the place was a zoo yesterday. On top of it all, it seemed as if a good number of vendors had jacked up their prices, much to my dismay. I was still able to talk some deals out of my favorite vendors, though. I even scored a free orange which is going to be wonderful in my Cranberry Chutney. I realized pretty early on in this Farmer's Market expedition that I am quickly turning into an old lady because a) I was deeply irritated with all the people getting in my way & b) I am one of those people who sniffs and fondles food and won't stop, even if people are waiting to get past me. Also c) which isn't a new thing, but I have overly long conversations with merchants, wherein we talk about kids and swap recipes. Before you know it, I'll be complaining about my gout to strangers.
     The kids are out of school all week, and I don't know if I am going to be able to handle it. I have spent most of the afternoon trying to get work done in the bedroom, but I can still hear the nasal strains of iCarly coming in from the other room. They are leaving me alone, for the most part, but that's only because they aren't bored yet. Tomorrow will be a totally different story.
     Also, I wish I had found this recipe for Vietnamese Style Turkey before I put my turkey in brine. I am definitely filing this away for next year (if I can wait that long!).


Nov. 17th, 2010

Did the shopping for Thanksgiving last night. Made out like a bandit, since just about everything I needed was on club card special. I even got a few unexpected indulgences. Crab was $7/lb, so that was too good to pass on. All I need now is a few things that I want to wait to buy because they are perishable, and produce from the farmers market which I'll get on Sunday.
     This is what the menu is shaping up to be:
      Cornbread & crabmeat stuffing
      Green bean casserole (from scratch! Not the mushy mass you think you know. I use fresh from farmers market green beans and I make my own cream of mushroom soup. The only thing from a can is the french fried onions, but those are the bomb so they can stay.)
      Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
      candied yams (The Girl is making this. She is excited about cooking with me. She has admonished me to make nice and share the kitchen. I am going to try to suppress my territorial tendencies in the kitchen. Wish us luck.)
     Of course there will be turkey. I can't make up my mind whether I want to dry brine it or do my old usual, which is to cover the whole thing in bacon until the last 20 minutes. The bacon saves you the trouble of basting, since the bird is ensconced in fat. Also, bacon! What isn't made better with bacon. I'm afraid if I do both then I might end up with an over salted bird.
ETA: cranberry-orange sauce. It ain't Thanksgiving without the cranberries.
     For dessert, I am departing from the usual and making a pineapple upside-down cake. I think the last time I had this dessert was at some church social I went to years ago. It was always one of my favorite desserts as a child. The kids have never had it, so I think it's about time for me to share this wondrous thing with them. They are skeptical, but willing to give it a chance. I think in the end they will be won over. I had a time finding a recipe that didn't involve cake mix. I finally settle on this recipe.The boy did the conversions for me to make a recipe for a 10" round in a 9"x13" pan.
     Also, thanks to delux_vivens & saltypepper  I might also make bacon jam and cheddar biscuits. I'm trying to figure out how to modify the recipe in the absence of a slow cooker. I think "slow cooker on high with no lid" is probably close to "back burner on low and stir occasionally." I think (and hope and pray) that doing it in the dutch oven will keep the heat evenly distributed and it should work.
this is usually a space that I reserve for whining about personal shit that only I care about, but this whole NPR/ Juan Williams debacle has agitated me to the point that I feel the need to say something.
      First of all, this is not a First Amendment issue. I am so sick to death of people-- Laura Schlessinger, Christine O'Donnel and now Juan Williams and Faux News- deploying the 1st Amendment without actually knowing what it's all about.
     "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
      Now the most relevant part for our purposes is right at the beginning: "Congress shall make no law..." This means that Congress can't forbid Laura Schlessinger from saying "nigger" 11 times on the radio. At the same time, nowhere in the first amendment is non-governmental entity obliged to employ her if she engages in what they deem as objectionable speech. I find it especially egregious when so-called free-market capitalists argue that Schlessinger's or Williams' Constitutional rights were infringed upon, because the fact of the matter is that Schlessinger's dismissal is an example of capitalism doing its work. Schlessinger was dismissed when sponsors chose not-- as is their right-- to support her form of expression. The market spoke. There was nothing unconstitutional about it.
      Juan Williams is on even thinner ice with regards to a first amendment argument. His position as a news analyst should require that he be capable of providing an objective analysis of the news. He can think whatever he likes, but as a public figure he needs to maintain at least a façade of impartiality. His comments betray extreme and unsupported bias. It is appalling to me that someone in his position could be so poorly informed. What Williams said, in my opinion was indefensible. Does he have the right to say such things? Yes he does, but as his employer, NPR is within their rights to deem that such an extremist stance compromises his ability to impartially (& this should be the goal of a good news analyst) do his job. Seriously, if we are going to be made nervous every time a portion of a group does something heinous, then all I have to say to you is Timothy McVeigh & Joseph Stack III, & those are just off the top of my head and in the past decade or so. I could go on, but I don't think I need to belabor the point. My point is this: this is not an issue of constitutionality, but of partisanship. Juan Williams is well within his rights to be a right-winged bigot, but no one is obliged to employ him if he does it in public. Personally, I'm just glad I won't have to listen to his commentary during Weekend Edition. He's been on my nerves for years.
     & because I think this is infinitely worth reposting, I would like to conclude with my new and most favorite thing on the entire internet.

jumping on the bandwagon

I started a Dreamwidth account because lj is creeping me out with random changes. Same username. I'll still lurk over here, but I think my few and far between posts will all be over there from now on.
I am really enjoying this meme. It's been so long since I've updated every day. i think it's a good habit to get back into. Also, I am loveloveloving that so many folks are on board with doing this. I am learning so much about all of you! I'm excited.
     The first thing I ate today was a perfectly ripe nectarine from the Farmers Market. There was one small spot that I thought at first was worm hole, but it was just a superficial imperfection. In my opinion, stone fruit is one of the very best things about summer. It wasn't freestone, so when I tried to cut it in half I only succeeded in squeezing the juice out it. I couldn't pull the flesh free of the stone, so I just ate around it. Then I slurped up all juice from the saucer that I held underneath it. Then I sucked the stone clean.
       &, maybe because of yesterdays prompt, I thought of my Grandmama. She loved peaches. It's from her that I learned to suck the pit until there's no trace of fruit left on it. I've always preferred nectarine, except when my Grandmama would peel that fuzzy skin off of them for me. & She made the best peach cobbler. I make decent cobbler, but I have not yet figured out what it was that she did to make them so good.
    For brunch I had a ham and egg and cheese sandwich with mayonnaise on whole wheat bread. I made the mayonnaise myself, as I have done for years. Homemade mayo really is so much better than the stuff in the jar. I was out of fresh lemon, so I used lime. The egg in my sandwich was cooked a little past over-medium, so that the yolk was still a little juicy, but set enough that it didn't make a mess when I bit into the sandwich. The ham thinly sliced Black Forest ham from the deli counter. I used 3 slices. The cheese was Swiss. I also made iced coffee-- French pressed dark roast with one cardamom pod, 3 teaspoons of turbinado sugar and lots of half 'n' half.
   The Boy is having a sleepover, so I ordered pizza for them: bacon, sausage and mushrooms with a side of cheese bread. I had a slice of each and a glass of orange soda. I had dinner proper with ukashin : somen noodles, avocado, cherry tomatoes and shrimp dressed in a sweet gingery dressing that I need to get the recipe for. The noodles were a little overcooked, but still good. It was perfect for a hot summer night. Much better than the Papa John's pizza I left the kids with.
      Now I'm going to watch The Wire, since I never have, everyone says I should and ukashin has so graciously lent me the first season. Tune in tomorrow for My Definition of Love, In Great Detail.

Latest Month

September 2013