I kept a list of questions at hand so I was prepared when I was finally able to see a Doctor. The first thing I asked was if the high blood pressure could be causing the kidney damage. Even with the $200/bottle of blood pressure medications, his blood pressure remained high. The Doctor said that this was unlikely the cause.
However, result after result in my internet searches showed a different answer:
“High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and, over time, can damage blood vessels throughout the body. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD).” (Source “High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease”)
Questions kept coming. Why was he given a Liver function test? Does he have compromised liver function? The Doctor assured me that the liver did not have any problems. Apparently, they were putting together a treatment plan for someone with a compromised liver, as it most likely happens with the auto immune disease. So this was preventative treatment.
I went through a variety of questions about his treatment plan, essentially trying to figure out if there was indeed a plan. The doctors were treating each symptom as it surfaced or preventing symptoms from occurring. There was no plan to get him back to health.
Next, I tackled the questions I had about each medication and it’s current side effects, pointing out his side effects matched his symptoms.
Each time I asked the doctors about medication side effects they informed me that the benefit of the medication outweighed the risks.
How is that possible if the risk is cancer or death!?
The answers I got from the Doctors were vague and did not give any hope. The medications were a crap shoot, at best. It was admitted guesswork, because of the complexity of my dads case.
By the end of his stay in the hospital, 2 weeks later, my dad had been given 3 blood transfusions, and was stable but couldn’t walk well enough to go home. The hospital put him on a renal diet that outlined how to limit potassium intake. They also gave him a maximum amount of 2000ml of liquid intake per day due to the swelling and his body not processing liquid.
When my dad left the hospital, that day he was loaded with medications and had his renal diet information. He regained his strength with a short stop of one week at the nursing home physical therapy facility. However, when he got home, he still wasn’t walking steadily and confidently. It was too cold to go out on walks in Washington, and the swelling hadn’t gone down enough to be comfortable. He barely had enough energy to keep a conversation and he soon spent the days and nights mostly lying down.