My left arm is a joke. Not the kind of joke that makes me laugh. But a joke in that every time I look at it, I shake my head in disgust. It still works as an arm does. But I'll describe it's current condition in a moment.
It became nearly unusable for medical stuff like blood draws and blood pressure, a ways back. When I diagnosed and we were struggling to find a treatment that worked and my creatinin was over 8, we'd check in with my nephrologist almost as often as my cancer doctors. Doc Zoller (no longer my kidney dr) refused to take out an external catheter in my neck unless I got a fistula in my wrist. She wanted it there in case I needed dialysis. My numbers indicated my kidneys were failing. But I had none of the symptoms of kidney failure. I wanted the catheter out and didn't know it at the time, but the doctor was basically resorting to Medical Blackmail. I was still working and had to tuck the catheter under my shirt collar. to avoid looks and questions. For months I could only take baths, a shower would potentially get into it, leading to a possible infection. At the time, I didn't know that I could advocate for myself and push back against doctor's advise. She wasn't giving advice though. In fact she even scheduled me for a 4 AM dialysis without consulting me. Leslie and I talked and ruled out dialysis. For me it was more a mental thing. I knew I couldn't handle an additional medical procedure at the time. Anyhow, the fistula went in. Never been used. And now 11 years later, if for some reason I had to do dialysis, it doesn't even work. I'd have to get a new one. And I can't even do party tricks anymore by shocking people with the powerful pulse. All I have is a scar and a small raised area in my wrist. Furthermore, I do have a fuzzy line in the sand, where I have told myself I'll never do dialysis, even if my kidneys do fail. It's a bridge too far for me.
That's not why my left arm is a joke though. It's a joke because it looks like shit. First problem is that I'm sporting a huge bruise on it. Leslie and I had a yard sale and garage cleaning extravaganza last weekend. It was a success and we got rid of a lot of stuff. Because of all the steroids (Dexamethasone) I've taken since 2011 and a daily baby aspirin, my skin is super thin. I bleed and bruise on a regular basis. A slight bump or scratch will leave an ugly mark and bleeding. After the garage cleanup, I noticed a bruise on my left arm. I have no idea how it got there and it seemed to be expanding in front of my eyes. I should have set up a time lapse camera to watch it grow. When I woke up Monday, it looked like this: