My creatinine level is 4.77  which means I have 12 % kidney function. 6 months ago I still had 20% function and was advised when it got to 5% I would need to go on dialysis.  It was predicted that would happen in 2 -12 months so I am right on schedule, sort of beating the odds really, hoping the longer time frame prevails.

One symptom of decreased kidney function is fluid retention. I have been retaining fluid for a while but it has been getting worse.  It used to  be that if I was active or laying down my feet would be fine but if I sat for extended periods they would swell up. Even if they swelled during the day after a night of laying down they would be fine. For the last month that is no longer holding true, they simple vary between being a little puffy or feeling like the skin is being stretched.

Another manifestation of fluid retention is a bloated gut. It accumulates in the peritoneal cavity.  While it is a bit unpleasant to be carrying around that extra weight, the other night it crossed a tipping point.  I was so bloated I was having having difficulty breathing hence was unable to sleep.

Like if you take a really deep breath and your diaphragm is fully extended, that was where I was starting. There was no room for the diaphragm  to  expand so I couldn’t take in much air.

Same with my ribs. When you fully inhale the ribs rise a little bit but they were already pushed out so I could only take take these shallow breaths so had to speed up my breathing rate to stay oxygenated.  Not pleasant at all.

I had been having to sleep on my back for a while so the fluid wasn’t pressing on my lungs. If I had tried to lay on my side it would slosh up against the lungs and restrict breathing, but this was the first night even laying on my back wasn’t working.  Sitting up didn’t even help much.

I called my nephrologist as soon as her office opened and they put me on 100 ml of Lasix every 8 hours. Lasix is a diuretic that helps shed fluid. I had been on 80 ml every other day but that was no longer sufficient.  They said call back in 24 hours and if that didn’t work I would have to go to the hospital and go on a Lasix IV.

Fortunately it worked and last night I was able to breath and sleep. I am still bloated but there is room for expansion of my diaphragm so I am grateful and not taking breathing for granted, it is really such a gift.

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