kathleen kerridge

This is a post about a subject very close to home.  My home.  It is about politicians who wouldn’t know poverty if it chewed on their overpaid arses.

It’s about Jamie Oliver.

Now, to put this out there, I loved Jamie.  For years and years, I idolised the man.  He taught me to cook, when I could barely operate a Pot Noodle and we lived off Smash (dehydrated potatoes) and pasta (we even overcooked that).  I would watch all his shows and learn, slowly, from the TV.  In less than a year, I was able to cook a three course meal for 15 people.  Gourmet became easy and I was soon laughing my way through 3 meat roasts and cooked-from-scratch curries.  I owe my skill in the kitchen to Jamie.  I have a lot to thank him for.

Jamie Oliver was good to watch, when I had money.  Before I had…

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Some of my friends know that I have been struggling with failing kidneys over the past five years. My kidney function 5 years ago was 60% and it has been steadily dropping.   Earlier last year, it took a dramatic drop from nearly 50% to about 10%.  This was unexpected, but sadly once the degradation starts, there is very little that can be done to stop it.  Medicines, that I took helped to slow down the deterioration process and I aggressively managed my diet and managed to last out the last year without needing dialysis.

Now for a little medical lesson:  Kidneys are your body’s central filtration system that removes all the toxins in your body.  The have little glomuleri that works to filter the flood.  They remove waste such as Creatinine (created by muscle activity), Urea (by product of protein digestion), Phosphate, Potassium, Sodium as well as the maintain the overall fluid balance with the body.  This waste is excreted via urine.  If the waste is not removed from the blood, your body slowly becomes increasingly more toxic and your blood struggles to deliver the necessary nutrients to you cells.  Your body will eventually shutdown and you will die.

In modern days, medical technology has advanced to the level where a kidney failure is treatable in the long-term and there are several options to treat this condition.

Most kidney patients will be on some form of Dialysis.  There are two primary forms, although they may be not be available in all countries.  Original method was Hemo Dialysis which takes the blood out of the body and runs it through a chemical filter that absorbs the toxins returning clean blood back into body.  Usually this needs to be done multiple times during the week at a clinical facility.  A typical sessions if about four to five hours.

The second option, the one that I have chosen, is Peritoneal Dialysis (PD).  This works within your body and uses your body’s natural layer to filter the blood.  This process requires a small plastic catheter to be implanted within your abdominal cavity and rests as the bottom of your peritoneum.  Think of peritoneum as in inside of an eggshell that contains your digestive organs such as liver, stomach and intestines.  The inside of this shell is lined with blood vessels.

The PD process works by injecting dialyzing fluid within this shell.  Once the fluid is injected, it stays in your body for a certain length of time and through the process of osmosis absorbs the toxins out of your blood.  After the set time, the fluid is drained from your.  This process is then repeated four times over the course of 24 hours.  The process can be manual or automated.

The manual process requires you to manually fill and drain every four to six hours, 4 times a day.  Each cycle takes are about thirty minutes to do.  The automated process, my personal choice, works overnight to do this for you.

Last night was the first night of my new daily ritual.  It takes about twenty minutes of my time to setup and use.  Below is the PD setup I have at home.

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The PD Machine is heart of your system.  This is the machine that will fill and drain the dialyzing solution into your body.  The fluid bags are connected at rest on the top.  There are two fluid bags, each with five litres of fluid.  The drain bags for waste and connected and left at bottom.  Everything is connected via a cassette tube system that contains all the necessary tubes.  The usual routine is to connect the machine and set everything ready to go at tea time.  Just before bed, I connect myself to the machine, press the start button and go to sleep.  Simples!

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Over the course of the night, the machine will fill, dwell, and drain eight litres of fluid in two hour cycles with two litres at each time.   Last night, it filled 8,000 ml and removed 8646 ml, in the process removing 646 ml (little over pint) of liquid and waste.

In the morning, you disconnect yourself from the machine, drain the fluid into the toilet and dispose of the rubbish.  You are now ready to go and face the day, rested, refreshed and dialyzed.

Initially, I was scared and fearful.  I spent nights worrying over it.  It was mainly the fear of the unknown.  After doing this once with support of great nursing staff at the NHS in Portsmouth, I feel I am ready to take my life back.

Last few weeks have been really the pits in terms of my health and I looking forwards to enjoying my life again as the treatment starts making me feel better.

I am currently awaiting Kidney transplant.  I am on the waiting list so now it’s a matter of time.  You will hear more from me over the course of year and I chronicle this undertaking.

Year in Review – 2013

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

WOW.  What a year has it been.  As I take stock and review the past year here are some of the things that I accomplished that I am proud of.

This has been the most difficult year for me personally in terms of my health.  My health and fitness level have been steadily declining with reduction of my Kidney function.  Feelings of fatigue and nausea have been constantly growing.  For the first time in 15 yeas, I had to pull out of work business trip while on the road. First time I have felt that unwell.  It has been difficult not being able to travel as I enjoy traveling as a part of my work.  I used to love the week out of the country to go and do things and be on the road, meet different people and tackle challenges.   However understanding my limitations has been challenging.  I have had to learn some lessons the hard way.  I have to rely more and more on others to accomplish things and this is a new experience for me as I am usually the point person.  Now I get to plan and get someone else to implement.

In terms of my health my biggest objective of the year was get through without having to start Dialysis.  In this I have succeeded.  I was told that I would be on dialysis by Christmas 2012.  I managed to eat right, and stay well enough to put it for for a whole year.  That one extra year does mean a lot and probably my biggest achievement for the year.

My second task was to pass my network certification exam.  This was necessary in order to maintain my certified status for another 3 years.   This is something in which I take a great deal of pride and I was happy to pass the exams and put this out of my head for another 3 years.

I have been so fortunate this year to meet a wonderful group of women.   They are one of the most intelligent group and have shared some wonderful insights with me, despite gender differences.  I think for the first time in my life, I may actually understand women.  I am sure I am better person now that I was before.  I have made some friendships there that will last a lifetime.  I have some great fun as well as intellectual discussions.  I loved debating with a few of them and exchanging ideas.  Some have offered me some very valuable advice and have been there for me when I needed help.

Michael, my son continues to grow and develop in to a wonderful child.  He is very smart, loving, intelligent and affectionate.  He seems to be one of these kids that is very popular and that everyone knows.   He has got Daddy wound up around his finger at times…  But it has been so much fun.  It’s hard work raising a child but it’s also the most rewarding.

All though the year my wife Toni has been my pillar of strength.  She continues to be my rasion d’Etre.   Always supporting and taking care of me.  Our relationship has strengthened through the year and I am really lucky to have someone so wonderful as my partner.

I looking forwards to 2014 with hope in heart.  Its going me an other year filled with new challenges and I look forwards to it.

Giving Thanks

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Giving Thanks

 

This is the time of the year to give thanks to all the things I am thankful for this year.  It’s the season to express thanks.

 

My first thanks goes out the higher power that has given me the strength to face my challenges.  My life is not perfect, its very challenging, every day is a struggle, but I come home to have a roof on my head, clothes on my body and have food and water on the table.   For these things I give thanks, because I know there are lot of people in the world who don’t even have these three basic necessities.   I have managed to rise each day to fulfill a purpose, and not been struck down with any terrible malady or tragedy which I know is part peoples life.  I have survived unscathed to wake up each day, for which I give thanks.

I give thanks to my family.  My wife and my son who love me unconditionally.   My wife whose face I see first in the morning when I get up and last thing at night when I go to sleep.  My day is not complete with a kiss and a hug from either of them.  The fact that I have their love in my life is why I give thanks.  I don’t think I could make it a day without them.  My wife has been constant source of support as a friend and lover through all my ups and down.  My son, well when I see him smile everything is all right in the my world, even if just for that moment.

I give thanks to my special friends.   They are truly the best friends that a guy could ask for.  Sammy who is fast becoming a very close friend to whom I can talk about anything.   Sasha who is always ready to hear my troubles and give me sane advise as well as a knock on the head when it’s deserved.  To Edie & Liz who are two of very wise ladies who have never steered me wrong.  Smile & Colleen who always makes me laugh and Wattle who always inspires me and fills me with hope.   I also have two very special ladies who I am proud to call my little sisters,  Steph & Ann.   They are always there for me when I need them.  I hope I do the same of them.

I am thankful to my boss Matt who creates a wonderful work environment and the wonderful colleagues within my team.  I know ours is thankless job, buy you guys and gal make it fun.  I look forward to coming to work each day thanks to such a great team around me.  We work hard and play hard and we always deliver J

I must also thank all the wonderful writers who keep writing such wonderful stories that provide me with hours of enjoyment.  The fact that they do it to pursue their passion without expectation of a reward.  The amount of the times, my day has not been going right, I come home in the evening and I read an update to story and all of sudden, everything seems a lot better somehow.  They have the ability to lift people out of their gloom with their prose and poetry. 

Finally, the last word of thanks go the special people at the Renal unit in Portsmouth.   Ana Morgan & Dr. Tim Leach have been incredibly helpful and supporting in helping me cope with my medical condition and providing me the best care.

This captures a lot of my thoughts and feeling regarding the casting. I somehow doubt that a reply will be forthcoming.

Things to do before I die.

Posted: July 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Everyone has bucket list of things they would like to do before they die. Here is mine.

TRAVEL:

  • Taj Mahal
  • Maldives
  • Eiffel Tower & Louvre, Paris
  • Niagara Falls
  • Disney World Orlando
  • Hollywood Sign
  • Venice Beach
  • Las Vegas
  • Grand Canyon
  • New York
  • Rome
  • Salzburg
  • Mt. Rushmore
  • Amazon Rain Forest
  • Machu Pichu
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Giza Plataeu
  • Alaska
  • Okawanga Delta
  • Masai Mara
  • Madagascar
  • Seychelles
  • Australian Outback
  • Tokyo
  • Forbidden Palace, China
  • Thermopylae, Greece
  • Athens

 

LIFE EXPERIENCES:

  • Sunrise in the middle of the ocean
  • Sunset in the middle of the ocean
  • Snorkeling in Maldives
  • Ride on a submarine
  • Transatlantic Cruise
  • DC on 4th of July
  • Times Square, NY on  New year’s Eve.
  • Sydney Harbor, New Year’s Eve
  • Sky Dive
  • Zero G Walk on a trainer or in Space
  • Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center, NY
  • Learning to fly a plane