Thursday, September 30, 2010


It was threatening to be a bad birthday. Personal problems plagued me right until the previous evening. I almost cried. I started dialysis and was tossing and turning in bed until I fell asleep probably around 11.

Suddenly, the lights in my bedroom turned on. Jairam, the dialysis tech stood next to my bed and did a jig and then wished me. As I shook his hand, he signaled to someone. I wasn't wearing my spectacles so I couldn't make out what was happening. I was also half asleep. But I could figure out that there were some people coming into my room, one by one.

I was wondering what the hell was happening!

I reached out for my spectacles. I could hear someone giggle on seeing this.
When I wore my spectacles, I realized that it was almost the whole Nephroplus team in my bedroom!

I was totally surprised! They had all come to wish me at midnight!

They brought an eggless pineapple cake and made me blow the candles and cut it - all while on dialysis!

Then Sandeep played a video on his laptop that had pictures of me right from when I was a baby of probably a few months old to recently with background music. The video ended with a slide that said "We all love you Kamal"! That was really so sweet!

They also got me some flowers and a gift.

I was so touched. No one had ever made so much effort to make me feel so good! I was truly overwhelmed!

This is one thing I will never forget all my life! Thanks again, Nephroplus!

I did not sleep much after that. I got up early too and went to the temple. I was alone there which made the experience really good.

I then went to - where else - Poorna Tiffins and had my fill of 'Nayee Idli'. I am actually tempted to praise the idlis here but I know that if I write one more line about these idlis, you guys will kill me!

I took the day off from work. I relaxed at home in the morning, went over to Nephroplus in the afternoon to thank them for their wishes. Almost all the patients there had also called me during the day to wish me (one of them actually called at midnight too!).

I had dinner out with my parents.

When I got back, I quickly started dialysis with Jairam's help. Just as I was about to go to sleep, Srinivas came with a couple of his friends. They got balloons, a cake and gifts too! So, I again cut the cake - while on dialysis! We chatted for a while and then they left.

This was the best birthday I have had in recent times!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back after a great trip!

I got back last night after a great trip to Bangalore.

We reached Bangalore Saturday morning and headed straight for Wonder la. The traffic was really bad. It took us a good one and half hours to get there. The folks from Bangalore and Chennai had already reached.

We bought our tickets and went in. Some of us were interested in taking the dry rides. I was only interested in the water rides! After taking a dry ride, we grabbed a quick bite and then went to the the changing area, took some lockers and changed into our swimming gear. Wonder la is the only water park I have been to where they do not insist that you wear a swimming costume in the water area of the park. You can wear practically anything. So, most males wear T shirts and shorts. Females wear anything from salwars to saris!

We first hit the wave pool. They have an artificial beach like area - no sand though, which is kind of good - and then every hour, they simulate waves for about 15-20 minutes. Fun overall!

We then went to something called a Play Pool. They have this big pool, mostly shallow, with water spraying and falling from everywhere. Then there is this huge bucket placed at a height into which water keeps filling and then at one point, it suddenly tips over throwing a large amount of water at great pressure on you!

Then there is the usual set of water slides and rides. Every hour, for fifteen minutes or so, they also have a Rain Disco where, inside a big hall, they simulate rain with good music where you can dance. The experience was good. The music could have been better though.

There are two restaurants which serve food that is only manageable. This is one area they can really improve. Not only the variety offered but also the taste. One good thing about the park is that the temperature of all the water is controlled and that too using solar heaters.

By the time we left the park, it was close to seven. We got back to the city, had dinner at a restaurant and then got back to the hotel. It was midnight by the time we slept.

The next day, my friends decided to visit a waterfall called Shivanasamudram, about a three hour drive from the city. I opted out. The falls turned out to be really great. Something for next time!

I spent my day relaxing, met with someone on Peritoneal dialysis and then visited NephroLife, a renal therapy center. More about this soon.

What I like about these short trips is that there is not too much planning necessary. You can do them at short notice. The excitement and anticipation is still there. I also don't have to miss more than a night of dialysis. I really must do more of these!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Off to Bangalore for the weekend

I am going to Bangalore tomorrow. I will be there for the weekend. Well, the itch to go somewhere was getting to me. So, I checked with a few friends (all Effigent folks) and a plan was quickly in place.

There is no specific plan for the two days I will be there apart from going to Wonderla, my favorite water park. I have been there twice before and had a whale of a time.

Actually, this trip almost did not happen. The tickets were booked. Everything was ready. However the threat of disturbances due to the impending Ayodhya verdict was weighing heavily on us. A long email thread debated whether we should go ahead with it or postpone it to next week. In the meantime, however, the Supreme Court decided to delay the verdict, unexpectedly! So, finally, the trip was on!

Saturday we go to Wonderla. Sunday has nothing planned yet. I would like not to do too much though. On previous weekend trips (Hogenakkal, Coorg) I tried to do too much on Sunday and by the evening, was so tired that I barely had the energy to get on to the plane to come back!

Which reminds me - I did my lab tests recently and most of the tests were totally out of whack. I have no clue why. Hemoglobin, PTH, Calcium - everything was unexpectedly bad. When I get back from Bangalore, I will have some serious digging to do.

In the meantime however, I hope to have a blast!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sharps sting

I had what looked like a slight infection because of which I was put on a strong antibiotic and had to give rest to the three buttonhole sites that I  have been using for my arterial access during dialysis. So, I had to make a new set of buttonhole sites for my arterial access. The venous guys as usual have been well behaved.

Now the area around my arterial sites have become quite hard with months of use. I started one a little down the arm, almost close to the fold on the other side of the elbow. That area was fairly soft and I had no problem creating the buttonhole. Three days of sharps were enough. No sting. No fuss.

The second however is proving to be a tough nut to crack. Last night, as I went in, I felt a sense of numbing pain. I should have known that is not a good sign. I let it be. Dialysis started. Sure enough, in less than an hour, the pain started. The effect of the lignocaine had worn off. The sharp needle decided to act tough and show its true color, so to speak.

In the beginning I tried adjusting my arm, tried massaging the area with my finger and every other trick I had learnt. The pain wouldn't subside. Sleep also decided to play truant. Pain and sleep usually don't tread on each other's toes. When pain is around, sleep lets it have its way. It won't interfere.

Around 12:30, I decided to do something about it. I woke Jayaram, the tech and told him to remove the needle and use the site that had already been formed. We could use a blunt needle. He said that the current site wouldn't stop bleeding so soon so that was not an option. Then I asked him to take some lignocaine in a syringe and push it down the site. That would numb the pain and hopefully I could go to sleep before the effect of the lignocaine wore off. He did that.

The effect of lignocaine in a painful cannulation site is only next to poetry. You can actually feel the pain disappear within a few seconds. It gives you so much relief! Once the pain was gone, I fell asleep. It was probably around 1:00 in the night.

Today, of course, I will be using a blunt needle in the site that has formed. Tomorrow will be tricky. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dialysis versus Dot Net Programming

Many times I feel that I haven't got a fair deal in life. Kidney failure, dialysis and all. But then I think about the poor souls who have to do Dot Net programming and my spirits rise. I have got a better deal than them for sure.

People on dialysis have to undergo something close to torture only thrice a week for four hours each time. Dot Net programmers have to undergo worse eight hours every day, five days a week. And that is if they have a good boss (extremely rare in the Dot Net world, a few years on Dot Net robs you of every vestige of niceness). Otherwise, it is 10-12 hours each day, 6-7 days a week.

The four hours on dialysis can leave your body quite drained. The eight hours on Dot Net leave you emotionally and mentally exhausted. Dialysis actually seems like fun in comparison!

Dialysis can actually be fun. You get to relax in a bed for four hours thrice a week, watch a movie, surf the internet (especially if you're dialyzing at a center like Nephroplus), read books, chat with the nurse or your neighbor dialyzor (whoever is prettier). Dot Net programming, on the other hand can be quite traumatic. You have to work on Windows, for starters! Gosh, Windows? Yes, Windows. A-crash-a-day Windows. A-virus-a-day Windows. A-security-update-a-day Windows. A-throw-up-a-day-on-seeing-the-UI-Windows. Then you have to work on C#. Which has basically all the bad things about Java minus all the good things about Java. And that brings us to the framework itself about which the less said the better.

So, you see, a life on dialysis can be a lot better than a life on Dot Net programming. Even if you're not going rogue and taking dialysis for the ride!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Getting tired of dialysis

Yesterday after completing my stuff for the day, I was so exhausted. I really did not feel like dialysing. The problem however was my fluid gain was quite a lot. I generally put on more fluid weight on holidays. So, despite being totally tired, I had to get on to dialysis.

This is happening a lot lately. Putting in a full day's work after traveling quite a distance to my workplace and then getting back in the mind-numbing traffic can take its toll. And then, when I am tired and itching to get to bed and get some rest, I have to prepare for my dialysis. I have to prime the lines and start dialysis myself. There is a tech but he comes very late and I really don't have the willingness to wait for him to come and start. I want to get it done with and go to sleep.

However optimal your dialysis regimen is, you do get tired of it after a point. Especially when you do it on your own. So, you have a nice little contradiction there. If you want good dialysis, you have to do it on your own. And if you do it on your own, you are bound to get tired of it after a while. On the other hand, if you don't do it on your own, it is difficult to get optimal dialysis.

This brings me back to seriously considering a second transplant.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't do this to me, Poorna Tiffins

I am hooked to Poorna Tiffins. For the last couple of years (more?) I have been going almost every Sunday morning (and sometimes mid week evenings too) religiously to this small little joint in Krishnanagar, Hyderabad to eat what I think are the world's best idlis.

I have also intoduced countless friends and family to the place and most of them are quite amazed at the quality of the idlis.

My brothers are convinced that one of the reasons I took up my current job at Grene and the secret reason I am involved with Nephroplus is that they are both quite close in distance to Poorna Tiffins!

The problem with Poorna Tiffins is if I don't get my weekly quota of heaven in the form of ghee-soaked idlis, my week does not go well. Really. I feel listless, incomplete, like something is missing, like I have not had a shower.

Now, the guys at Poorna Tiffins have this habit of going off on annual jaunts unannounced. So every once in a way, when I drive all the way to Krishnanagar, all excited at the thought of gorging on those idlis, to my utter shock and horror, I find the joint closed. How can an eatery close ever? This is the only eatery I know that actually closes.

Sure enough, this happened this Sunday too. On enquiring with the neghbours, I was told 'oorki vellaru andharu' (they have all gone to their  native place)!

The Jain Paryushan Parva begins this Saturday which is a time of general penance and fasting during which we don't eat out. So, I thought in case Poorna Tiffins had opened (it had been more than 5 days since the unsuccessful visit), I could make up for the lost Sunday and make sure I have a peaceful Paryushan Parva, not troubled by dreaming about idlis. No luck. The shutters were open but apparently they were going to take up some renovation work. So, no idlis for 2-3 days more, they said.

Drat! That means no idlis for me until the end of Paryushan Parva (next Saturday). So, I can now go only next Sunday.