One way they measure kidney function is your output of Creatinine. In a nutshell, creatinine is a waste product produced by your muscles from any activity. It's filtered out through your kidneys - it's one of the wastes that you produce and pee out. So, when you're in End Stage Renal Failure, you don't pee it out and it builds up in your system. The typical human ranges for serum creatinine are 0.5 to 1.0 mg/dL for women and 0.7 to 1.2 mg/dL for men. While a baseline serum creatinine of 2.0 mg/dL may indicate normal kidney function in a male body builder, a serum creatinine of 1.2 mg/dL can indicate several renal impairement in an elderly woman.
So, I often read stories on the net, at other transplant blogs/forums/sites, where recent transplant recipients talk about having a creatinine of 1.1 and how great they feel. I get a bit wistful; my creatine was around there with my first transplant, and I remember feeling great. After the procedure that damaged my transplant, my creatine in my damaged kidney hovered between 3 and 3.5. Not great, but enough to keep me off dialysis. They say that ever number you go up with creatinine is 100x worse than the last. (4 is 100 times worse than 3, etc.) Basically, what one person would clear out of their system in an hour of filtration at 1.1, I'd take 3 to clear out at three. So, I was still a little rough around the edges, suffering from kidney impairment, but at least I wasn't on dialysis.
My creatinine, normally, has been hovering between 11-13 since I've been on dialysis. Everyday. I live with an 11 creatinine. It's no wonder I feel like crap most of the time. I dream of the day I have a 1.1 creatinine. To not feel so tired and rundown....ah.... it's a dream. I dream of my transplant.
I think about what kind of person I'd be with a 1.1 creatinine..... how much stuff I'd get done! I get upset, because I feel like I don't get much done... but I look back on my year, and all I've done despite being on dialysis and having a creatinine level of 11.....
- I shot a commercial
- I produced a video for the VA Nurses Week
- I performed with my band at the Taste of Syracuse
- I wrote, directed, shot, and edited a short movie with the help of my family
- I managed to get away to camp a couple of times in the summer
- I helped my wife remodel the kitchen.
I mean, these are just a few great things I got to do this year. I can only imagine.... and hope, that I'm still some kind of go-getter when I'm feeling better.
So, I'm gonna keep dreaming of that transplant, and that creatinine level of 1.1..... it seems like such a sweet dream. Oh, and don't worry friends, I'm still dreaming of peeing all over the great white northern woods when I get my new kidney. Don't worry about that dream!