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Sunday, May 13, 2018


So I had fistula surgery a little over two weeks ago. To facilitate my ongoing apheresis therapy.

This is a pretty common thing for people who take dialysis, which apheresis resembles. They're filtering my blood for different reasons but it's still filtering the blood. In my case, it's high LP(a) which is strongly correlated with early onset heart disease, which I have. Heart attack at 32, a double bypass at 43, it's financially ruinous, physically unpleasant, and time consuming but while there's no guarantees, it's the best shot I can see to being a senior citizen some day.

So this fistula. The surgeon basically hooked an artery to a vein in my left arm. Gotta remember not to let them take my blood pressure on that side ever again. And there's a visible bulge where this rewiring of my circulatory system creates a big fat vein for the apheresis clinic to access both for input and output.

The up side is besides making it easier to access me and possibly even to run the treatment a little faster, I'll have one hand free to jack with Netflix and whatnot (what else are you going to do when immobile for a half day?) The downside is if you were to cull my phobias and squeamishness to come up with the perfect freak out, the only thing this surgery is missing is giant spiders.

I played guitar this evening for the first time since the surgery. I was officially cleared to do so a few days ago but I wasn't feeling up to it. I have all kinds of neuropathy symptoms from the surgery that call back my senior year of high school when I dealt with a lot of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome symptoms that were misdiagnosed at the time as tendinitis. I have chills, spasms, numbness, sweats, aches in my forearm and wrist. It wakes me up at night sometimes.

Physically I seemed able to play pretty well, but it felt so freaky and sometimes painful. But the worst, looking down at my upper arm above the elbow and seeing the fistula bulge. I almost fainted dead away in the middle of the living room with the guitar around my neck.

I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it's not instantaneous.

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