Day 22

On a scale of .6 to 10, how bad is 1.4?

At the beginning of the day, I thought my biggest problem was going to be the fact that I ran out of CO2 last night with a half glass a beer remaining on my agenda.

That changed when my kind nurse called to put me on hold, as my doctor wanted to speak to me. I had stopped in early in the day to follow up on my high potassium, which was noticed after last week’s blood test. In this conversation, potassium didn’t come up, so I assume that it’s gone down into the normal range–either that or this other issue is more concerning, which is my assumption no matter where the potassium fell.

As it turns out, my creatinine is above the happy threshold. Normal levels fall between .6 to 1.2 mg per dl for adult males, and I landed at 1.4. Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule generated from muscle metabolism, and is a reliable indicator of kidney function. So I took a few moments to be concerned about this possible problem. Symptoms include feeling dehydrated (have you felt my tongue lately?) and fatigue (yep, Sunday and Monday especially), shortness of breath (nope), confusion (some would argue that this is normal for me) and “many other nonspecific symptoms” (which I may or may not be experiencing).

What’s happening is that my body has exhausted all the old doughnuts and cheeseburgers in my system, as well as my meager storage of fat. Now it’s eating my own protein to supplement. So there’s a protein buildup in my kidney. It needs flushed, so the shortest-term solution is to drink more water. While there are a couple of days that I know I’ve under-hydrated, I sure enough am generally drinking tons of water (I pee a lot to prove it). So I must fire down even more. Fine.

The next solution is to add other liquids to my diet, preferably something with protein to supplement my own cannibalistic tendencies. It’s been three weeks today and tomorrow will be precisely the halfway point, so a rise of .3 isn’t going to get me down when severe kidney impairment is 8.4 away.

“As your doctor, I’d tell you to stop,” said Dr. Hadaddin. “As your friend, we’ll see what happens; you’re a healthy guy.”

At the end of the day, I turned from being impacted by hearing The Lemonheads’ “Into Your Arms” on Pandora (purposely thinking about God rather than any girl from the nineties) to considering Cracker’s “It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself.” But maybe that’s the beer talking.

Either way, life will go on, and so will my kidney. No sense in getting spooked away from a goal, not with all that leeway.

Peace and Pints!



About Wilson

J. Wilson is an award-winning homebrewer, BJCP judge and pretty good dad. View all posts by Wilson

2 responses to “Day 22

  • Patrick

    Interesting. Beer has relatively little protein, so you’re essentially on a vegan diet, but without the protein sources vegans normally use like beans and soy. I bet you could brew a beer with protein powder in it. Dissolving it in the secondary without airating could be challenging. I wonder how chocolate protein powder would affect the taste. Could work well in a dopplebock, or maybe not.

  • Reuben

    Your experience with creatinine has answered a long standing question of my own health. A few years ago, I went to the doctor to see about a skin condition. Noticing I was a bit over weight, he ordered a cholesterol check and exercise. So I did the check, and did the exercise (just walking for a start). He wasnt happy with the results of the check, so booked me in for a check up in 3 months.

    During that time, I took up Tae Kwon Do. When I went in for the check up, cholesterol was down, but not as much as it could be, and then the creatinine indicator came up. Over the course of 4 weeks, I was in and out of the doctors office, with peeing in bottles, EKGs, and renal scans. Eventually, some indicator popped up for my thyroid!

    I started to feel like the doctor was milking me, doing through one test a week and getting hit for a full consult fee everytime I’d go in to check results. So I stopped going.

    It’s been almost 2 years now, since the last visit. My creatinine and thyroid indicators could be blowing out the whazoo. I wouldn’t know. I’ve been doing my TKD for nearly 2 years now, and will be going for my black belt in 6 months or so. I’m only 3kg lighter, but I’m fitter than I was.

    Creatinine being the result of dehydration and protein waste sets my mind at rest, somewhat. Still, a visit to a doctor for a cholesterol check, again, couldn’t hurt. I’ll just be going to a different doctor this time.

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