A day out triggers some not so tasty memories

IMG_7334It has been a cold, wet and blustery day here today, with wind and hail coming directly from Antarctica. Just the day to go down to the bay, drink coffee, and check out how the waves and ships handle the weather. We decided on St Kilda pier kiosk, a delightful little café at the end of an about a kilometre of pier jutting out St Kilda Pier cafeinto the bay.

The walk there was like a gym workout, struggling against the blasting wind, hardly able to keep our feet. But we finally arrived and despite our many fellow travellers heading in the same direction, we found terrific seats at a window facing the ships anchored in the bay.

IMG_3178We ordered coffee: Julie a skim milk, decaf latte and (despite me only ever ordering small coffees) I ordered a large flat white (mainly to help me recover my breath and body warmth). And a lamington to share.

We had a lovely time.

IMG_3180When I finished my lamington (I’m not supposed to eat too much chocolate, so I always leave a few crumbs as a sop to my conscience) the sight of the leftovers on my plate triggered a long-repressed memory.

About ten years ago, Keely, one of Julie’s nephews, came to live with us. He had grown up with his mother in Queensland and decided he would move to Melbourne to find a job and maybe continue his studies.

Like every 18-year-old (then and now) he lived on the computer – our computer. One time, after quietly waiting for him to finish whatever he was working on, he logged out and left. I jumped into the still-warm seat and called up my current work. I had been eating a lamington at the time, so I put it (on a plate) next to the keyboard. As you do, I slowly ate the lamington as I worked. When it was all gone, I noticed coconut crumbs on the keyboard, so I started picking them up and eating them. Finally, I picked up quite a large piece and started chewing. It was hard and sharp. It took it out and looked at it. It wasn’t coconut, it was a chewed off fingernail. Keely’s fingernail. I spat and spluttered any trace of it into a tissue and told Julie. For some reason all she could do was laugh.

Which reminds me of another Keely-activated adventure. I was sitting at the kitchen table, about to eat a biscuit and drink some afternoon tea. As usual, I forgot to get my phosphate binders from the kitchen shelf. On the way there I noticed one sitting conveniently on the bench next to the table. So I picked it up, popped it in my mouth and had my afternoon tea.

what-causing-persistent-cat-cough-501064295I thought nothing more about it until Keely came home that night. In front of everyone, he said to me, Hey, did you see the white pill on the bench? Yes… I said, with the start of a bad feeling. Oh good! said he: I put it there. Mitzy (our cat) was trying to swallow it and kept sicking it up, so it I thought I’d put it out of reach. What! said I. What’s the problem says he. I ***ing ate it, that’s what!

Again, no sympathy from the rest of the family, just laughter.

I waited a week or so to make sure I hadn’t got feline enteritis or something before I started to see the funny side.

Ah, happy memories on a cold and wintry day.

Another September medical adventure on dialysis

With my heartbeat restored to normal rhythm by those wonderful people at the Austin Emergency Department, life was sweet again.

Then on the evening of my third day back on BigD, about an hour into the run: crippling stomach pains. What the hell is this? Over the last few weeks, I’d had a niggling stomach ache, which I had attributed to a series of hotter than usual curries from my lunch shop. As you do.

red-curry-riceI’ve been losing weight lately, so I’ve taken to having a hot meal at lunchtime to try and beef up a little. I go to the same place most days, called ThreeAteThreee (‘cos it’s at 383 Camberwell Road, of course). It’s owned by a Chinese couple called Rick and Too-Shy-to-Say. Rick is a great cook. He makes a main meal every day: one day chicken, the next day beef. Usually, it is a curry (more…)

App review: My Food Coach for all BigD-ers

Menu

My Food Coach: Main Menu

A few weeks ago Ken Marshall, the Chief Executive of FoodCare Inc. in California, emailed me about a new App for renal patients called My Food Coach.  The app and its supporting website provide customised nutrition guidance for recipes, grocery items, restaurant dishes and meal plans for people with special dietary restrictions like kidney failure and diabetes.

It is hosted by the US National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and is an excellent tool to help us BigD-ers stick to our “low this, not too much of that” diets and still enjoy a range of different foods at home and out on the town.

And it’s Free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. (more…)

Dialysis, my boyfriend and me

Marli (not her real name) wrote recently:

Hello, my name is Marli. I am learning a lot from your blog so thank you so much for all that you are doing.

I am 19 years old and my boyfriend is 24.  We have been together about 8 months.  He was born with failed kidneys and it is a very touchy subject for him so I’m afraid to ask him about it.  (more…)

Dialysis and Fluid Restrictions – Tips and Tricks

This week, a guest post from Ros Ball, Past President and currently Secretary of DATA, the Dialysis and Transplant Association of Victoria (Australia).  You may remember Ros when I wrote about her in June a couple of years ago.  She and her husband Charlie have outfitted their caravan with a dialysis machine and travel where most BigD-ers fear to tread:  the wide open spaces of the outback.  Ros’s get up and go, regardless of the demands of BigD is an inspiration, and puts the rest of us sometime travellers in the shade. (more…)

Dialysis and another itch to scratch

It’s a cold, rainy, wintery day in Melbourne: to be expected since we are at the back-end of winter.  I met Julie at the local patisserie for lunch.  She had a chicken and avocado wrap and I had a ham and salad mini-baguette.  Each followed by coffee.  Sounds pretty normal, but as usual for us BigDers, there is always a little man in my head saying ”Should you be eating this?”.

He is right to ask of course.  Just about everything we eat has the potential to kick us off the straight and narrow.  (more…)

Dialysis: scratch that phosphate itch

I recently discovered that it doesn’t matter how long you have been on the BigD, or when you last read about a healthy kidney diet, you can still fall into food traps that can drive you mad, usually in slow motion.  I thought it would be useful to share.

Over the last month in have received a persistent “Could Do Better” after blood tests:  my Phosphate (phosphorus) was 2.9mmol/L, when acceptable is 0.81 to 1.78mmol/L.  Too much phosphate can be toxic. (more…)

Dialysis, calcium and phosphate binders

IMG_0425

One of the fun things that happen when two or three BigD members gather together for coffee or a meal is the phosphate binder ritual: all hands dip into pockets to find calcium pills, into the mouth, swallow with a sip of water and its back to the conversation.

We all do it, but I know it took me a while to understand why.  Just recently we had an in-house briefing about it at our dialysis unit from the very excellent Cath F, so I thought I’d share what was said.  (The good stuff is hers, any mistakes are mine.)  Thanks Cath. (more…)

Dialysis secrets: Resisting forbidden fruit

Every now and then the things we believe intuitively are confirmed by new research and things become a little easier to understand and handle.

Take self-control for example: resisting the many food and drink temptations that assail us BigD club members is a day-to-day struggle:

  • Mmmm Cafe Latte…

    We must avoid foods with lots of phosphate, like pastries, whole grain bread, cola drinks, coffee, chocolate, dairy products, mayonnaise, margarine, egg yolks, peas, lentils, nuts, puddings and gravies, processed meats and too many more.
    (Too much phosphate results in weak and brittle bones, and calcium deposits throughout the body. These usually lead to skin itching [been there, done that], joint pain and eye irritation and sometimes it can lead to unstable heart rhythms and even heart failure.)

(more…)