Saturday, 25 May 2013

"Fun" With Numbers

Since my journey with kidney disease started, It feels like I've had more needles than a heroin addict. In the hospital it was a daily event, that switched to weekly when I went home. Tracking the delicate balance of levels in the blood that nature generally takes care of, but in my case tends to produce a series of red flags. Vaulting into the electronic age, I realized I didn't have to wait for a doctor's call, I could read these juicy reports myself on-line in real time. In all of my years at the Ministry of Health talking about the advent of electronic health records, now was the opportunity to experience this first hand. This development is both a blessing and a curse. While I suppose it is nice to know how things are progressing, it is also a depressing read and it is hard to look at it with anything akin to clinical detachment. Sadly at this point my reports show about half of the numbers on the page outside of the "normal" range - some by a long shot. No number fills me with more than anxiety than my "GFR" - the number that estimates your current kidney function. In a woman my age it would normally be in the 85-90 range. As of yesterday the number was 12 and because it is calculated based on averages, the specialist estimates that given my size it is likely a few points lower. The challenge is last week's report said 13 and so did the report before it. Intellectually I know it has stayed reasonably consistent for the past two months - and I shouldn't read too much into it and yet - a part of me can't help but do just that. I wonder when the gaps between testing stretch to a month - what that waiting will mean, where my mind will go and whether it will be better or worse to wait another 30 days before learning where things stand. They say knowledge is power - sometimes I'm not so sure.

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