Outside Hospital Pantai Indah, Pandan Indah – 4.15pm.
My kidneys are failing. That is an irrefutable fact. Their condition will only worsen with time. There is no way to determine whether the deterioration will be gradual or sudden. All I can do is to continue to be aware with the dos and don’ts of chronic renal failure and hope that their decline will be arrested.
When I was back in Penang recently, I did not have time to go for my scheduled check-up due this month. Since Wuan is on leave today, we spent almost the whole day at Pandan Indah. In the morning, I got my blood tested and had an ultrasound of my abdomen. In the afternoon, we saw Dr. Lim, the Physician and Nephrologist at Hospital Pantai Indah.
My serum creatinine had risen to 271umol/L from 258umol/U when it was tested in February. Although the calibration of the testing equipment of different laboratories varies, the serum creatinine count still shows an increase. My protein intake has to be further reduced in order not to strain the kidneys further. The three portions of meat that I was allowed is further reduced to two now.
Protein is needed to build, maintain and replace the tissues in the body. Protein provides the body with essential amino acids for such purposes. My low-protein diet, if not properly managed will result in protein depletion. This will cause a host of health problems from anaemia to osteoporosis. Symptoms for both are manifested in my blood tests and rippled finger nails called koilonychia.
Ketosteril was prescribed to supplement my low-protein diet with essential amino acids and Sangobion for my anaemia. Those are expensive drugs. One month’s supply of Ketosteril and Sangobion costs nearly RM600. That is not inclusive of Detrusitol that I am taking to relax my spasmodic bladder which is the cause of my renal failure in the first place. One month’s supply of Detrusitol costs RM170.
To cut down on the expenses for Ketosteril, Dr. Lim has suggested a “drug holiday” where I go without Ketosteril for Saturdays and Sundays. To maintain my protein intake, I have to increase it from 29gms of protein on weekdays to 36gms of protein on weekends. 36gms of protein will allow me three portions of matchbox-sized meat.
This progression is not something that I did not expect. Because of my spinal cord injury, I knew full well that renal failure will be one of the problems that I will have to come face to face with. Nevertheless, the thought that my kidneys may totally fail one day in the future is extremely unsettling. When that day comes, dialysis will be the only solution. That will be an expensive therapy and one that will restrict many aspects of my life. I pray that that day will never come.