A good Bye To Dealertrack (corrected)

I worked just about the expansion of my life. I’v been car carhop, worked a hot dog stand, been in radio/TV, a Target Manager, been the “car bidness” and several things in between. It looks like it’s all over

I don’t know if I will ever work again. The credit to cancer. The sorrow is with the me. 
I few days ago I had a long and open talk with Jonathan Herrera, my boss and friend with my current employer, DealerTrack which is a worldwide provider of stoftware solutions. Chances are that if you purchased a car you touched bases with something Dealertrack sold the dealer. I  worked 7 years for them and was home based, but my team was mostly in New York. 
I don’t don’t know that I will ever work again. 

With my daylysis and Chemo schedules the way they they and never knowing what will be a good day or bad for me, I just can’t commit to working my, even if I want to. My job is now defeating multiple myeloma

The post is a correction from Thursday, when fell asleep during Chemo and accidentally sent the post to “published “. I apologize. 

This post also touches on the finance of Cancer and I plan to dicuss it next time. 

What’s the deal the Dialysis?  

Dialysis is a medical procedure that is cloaked in more mysterie than Bigfoot and Amelia Earhart. It’s a process that has been around extended lives for many years, but yet not much is known about what really happens behind the doors of a dialysis ficilty.

I am not an expert but I will do my best explain what I see from my viewpoint.

My technician getting my machine for my dialysis session.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:45am, I will sitting in my “chair” at my dialysis center in Arlington, just a few minutes from my house. It’s as true and easy too predict as the mail. The only day it’s the center closed is Christmas.  Rain, sleet or snow it does not matter because most all centers have backup power to make sure treatments get done. The treatments have to get done because life and death are depending on it. 

Simply put, when kidneys can not longer function the chances are high you will need Dialysis to do the job for you. My kidney failure is being cause my cancer, Multiple Myeloma. Without dialysis I would die. There is no other way around it.

When your kidneys fail, dialysis keeps your body in balance:

  • removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body
  • keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate
  • helping to control blood pressure

There are many dialysis centers to chose from. Most major hospitals will also house a center treatment, if fact the unit at UT Southwestern in Dallas saved my life because I needed immediate treatment due to toxins in my body that I could not get rid on my own and it was dialysis to the rescue!

There are many dialysis centers to consider, and in my search location was very important because a dialysis treatment is described as going as an equivalent as a 10k race an so you don’t want a long drive after a secession. After trying a few locations I cloose a center operated by American Renal Associates and it’s been a wise choice. 

I have found the people who work the centers to be, as a whole, good people and professional at what that they do.  They really care about you a patient and a person. I have never run across an employee I felt shouldn’t we working there and that makes for a good atmosphere for everyone. 

The center I has a about 25 beds, give or take, and they are all pretty much in use at most times. There are about 7 or 8 technicians who are very quick to respond when you need them, of if one of the mechines sounds an altert that it needs attention for some reason. There are also 1 to 2 full full time Registered Nurse’s on duty at all times and they serves as “the boss”.  The center also a has still a social worker and dietitian on staff and I have found them very useful. 

A least once a week you can expect a visit from your doctor, who works for the center. A doctor who specializes in kidneys is called a Nephrologist wich comes term  comes from the Greek word “nephros”, which means kidney or renal and “ologist” refers to someone who studies.

So let’s try and explain, in simple terms for me and you too, the Dialysis flow. I arrive at roughly 5:45am and, and after having no my weight and temperature taken I head to my chair, which is assigned and always the same.  I’m greeted by a technician who takes and records my temperature and weighted. The weight is critical because it determines how fluid the machine will “take off” this session. 

I walk to my chair where I will be greeted by my technician to for this treatment, which will likely change from one session to another. Once settled in the chair the procedure of hooking me up to the machine will begin, starting by a blood pressure reading, both sitting and standing. The technician then begins hooking me up to the machine, based on which way access to my blood is used. It’s either going to be a chest catheter or what called a fistula, wich is what I have as the point of dialysis access. 

The fistula is an ugly looking divice which I had surgically installed back in March.  I hate the look of it but I love how easy it makes the Dialysis process run smoothly. Above is an image of a fistula like in this one my arm,  with the entry and exit needles inserted and ready to begin the Dialysis process. 

My arm ready to go for dialysis.

The only part of the entire dialysis process that involves pain is when those needles are inserted, and the technicians know that and are very careful to make it as painless as possible. I’ve never found to be worse than a routine needle insertion. 

The technician will next go through the process of  actually connecting you to the machine, which I don’t know much about about but apparently is nothing more than flipping a few switches. At that point the the clock is running.  

At that point is comes down to how well you can manage the clock, which is clearly visible from any sport in the room and serves at constant how much time you have remaining in your session. Most all people are hooked up to the machine for four hours and the is no way to cheat on the time. It is what it us and I’ve found the best thing to do I’d simply occupy your self and ignore the ticking clock. 

All the chairs come with a TV with enough channels to entertain you, though there not a lot of real popular choices at 6am, I still manage to find something to watch if I choose to. Sleeping? There are times that I sleep I do find it’s difficult to truly sleep with a room full of people.  The chairers also equipped heateted, a very important feature because dialysis treatment tends to make you cold, and seats recline three what to help with comfort. I read, I write, and I talk to the technicians to help pass time too. 

Me looking as relaxed as possible during a recent dialysis treatment.

Finally the machine alarms signaling your time is up! Your technician will begin removing from the machine which will take about ten minutes. They will remove the two needless from your arm and will and will badge it.  A final bood pressure reading is taken from a sitting and standing positions.  The technician will escort you the the weight where a final weight and temperature are taken. If all checks out, you are sent along your way, until the next time. 

Gift from Sara Yates

My friends are so kind, generous and thoughtful to me that I do get moved literally to tears. Ask Melinda. 

The mailman and parcel services are getting a good workout too. Today I opened a box and inside is a beautiful, thoughtful card and a cool looking Texas Rangers mug from good friend Sara Yates. I can really use the mug to help measure and control my daily fluid intake for Dialysis as purpose. Thanks Sara. 

And thank all of you for your gifts but I very much appreciate the prayers and words of encouragement. It fills my soul with much needed energy. 

Rough morning at Dialysis. 

The true danger of going through a dialysis treatment showed itself this morning. 

A patient, a few chairs down from me, had an event that triggered the staff to call for an ambulance and emergency assistance. I don’t know what the problem was and I won’t speculate but I did say a prayer for this person, whom I don’t know. 

I also found out from the lady sitting next to me that a person that I knew as Al passed away a few days ago from Cancer related complications. That hit me hard because I knew Al as a nice older gentlemen. 

We are getting dialysis treatment because we are very ill individuals and events like this morning drive it home and hits very close. 

Busy day in my world. 

I woke up feeling pretty good today and it’s a good thing because I will need all my strength to feel the same at the end of the day. 

It’s just after 6am and I am sitting in the Dialysis chair having driven the 3 milies to my treatment center. I’ll talk about dialysis in a future blog post in detail but for now just know that I go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at around 5:30am and each session is 4 hours. 

I also have a Chemo treatment today, which is scheduled for 11:15am at the Moncrief Cancer Center in downtown Fort Worth. 

It’s s not at all unusual to have Dialysis and Chemo on the same day and in fact i’m accustomed to it on Wednesday and Thursday back to back. What is out of the ordinary is that time of today’s Chemo is a challenge for several reasons. I will get out of Dialysis around 9:50am and then rush home to grab a quick bite to eat which my body needs. I will also take my morning medications that Melinda will have left out for me. Then I will head out the door for the 15 minute drive to Chemo. 

The big key is how I feel after Dialysis because I will always feel tired but i’m hoping it doesn’t leave me also leave me wiped out to the point of making driving a challenge. Usually my Chemo treatments are at 1:30 or 2pm which allows my body time to recover from the morning Dialysis. 

I should get out of Chemo around 1:30 today and I will head home for what will likely be a much needed nap.