Monday, March 26, 2018

CPAP Effects on Allergies and Dialysis Patients

   I’ve had seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) for three decades before I was diagnosed with end stage renal failure (ESRD).  In the Philippines, I was given an allergy test that stuck rows and rows of allergens on my arm to see which one will get a reaction.  From there, I found out I’m allergic to some parts of beef but not all so I can have steak, some parts of chicken but not all so I can have breast and wings and egg white so I can have the yolk.  I’m also allergic to molds, spores and fungus so I can’t have mushrooms, which is too bad because I have a killer appetizer recipe of adobong mushroom, perfect for cocktails.  I got it from frequenting bars in Makati City after work.  Oh yes, those were my days of wine and roses!

   Rhinitis is called seasonal because it’s caused by pollen carried in the air during different times of the day or year in different parts of the country.  I was told by my allergy doctor that in the Philippines pollen is active between 5:00 PM and 6:00 AM, or when it’s unusually cold like in Tagaytay or Baguio.  I was given a weekly then monthly allergy injections at Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for PHP 2.00 per injection.  That’s right, it cost PHP 2.00 per injection back in the 80’s.

   In America, I first landed in Kentucky, where my rhinitis seasons changed.  It came between seasons, and all of spring and fall.  Lexington, KY, is one of the worst United States cities for allergies as per pollen levels and has extended spring seasons.  Lexington is only one hour and twenty one minute drive from Louisville where I lived so it’s safe to say the two cities shared the same allergen counts.  My allergy rose to a new high.  I went to Kentuckiana Allergy once a week for injections and was prescribed a 24 hour antihistamine.

CPAP machine
   After I was diagnosed with ESRD, I was sent to a sleep center and was given a CPAP machine.  ESRD affects not only the kidney, it puts fluid in the lungs, heart and other parts of the body.  The CPAP was initially prescribed for sleep apnea but I found it helped me sleep on those weekend nights when I am loaded with fluid.  The CPAP’s pressurized air can help dry some fluid hiding in the lungs and easing the lungs’ job of pulling air.

     It also eliminated my problem sleeping during allergy attacks by giving me filtered and enhanced air.

   CPAP is an expensive machine but with insurance or two you can have one for free.  It’s definitely worth the trouble of doing a sleep over at a sleep center.  If you are a dialysis patient, find a sleep doctor or sleep center in your insurance network of providers.  

See also:
My Bout with Pneumonia 
Vitamins to a Dialysis Patient 
Lifestyle Choice with Dialysis

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Song Perfect Matches REBEL


I found a love for me
Darling just dive right in
And follow my lead
Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet
I never knew you were the someone waiting for me
'Cause we were just kids when we fell in love

Not knowing what it was
I will not give you up this time
But darling, just kiss me slow,
your heart is all I own
And in your eyes you're holding mine

Baby, I'm dancing in the dark
with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass,

listening to our favorite song

When you said you looked a mess,
I whispered underneath my breath
But you heard it, darling,
you look perfect tonight

Well I found a woman,
stronger than anyone I know
She shares my dreams,
I hope that someday I'll share her home
I found a love,
to carry more than just my secrets
To carry love,
to carry children of our own
We are still kids, but we're so in love
Fighting against all odds
I know we'll be alright this time
Darling, just hold my hand
Be my girl, I'll be your man
I see my future in your eyes

Baby, I'm dancing in the dark,
with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass,
listening to our favorite song
When I saw you in that dress,
looking so beautiful
I don't deserve this,
darling, you look perfect tonight


They both dived right into marriage.
She followed his lead all the way up the mountains of Tagkawayan, Quezon.

He was 18, she was 17

All they owned was each other

There was no electricity in the mountains
They made love in  isolated grassy spots
They didn’t have a radio so he sang to her

They had no mirror, for months she didn’t know how she looked

He told her every day she was pretty

She grew up with thugs in Pasay City

Their location was underground

They had a son

They fought against government oppression 

He always said he didn’t deserve her.

See also:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Three Generations of Movie Enthusiasts

   My mom didn’t read much so I didn’t grow up on fairytales and nursery rhymes.  Instead she told me stories about the movies that touched her heart.  One of them was All Mine to Give, a 1956 drama film about a family in the American west of the mid-19th century.  The parents die, one after the other.  The six children have to look after themselves.  The eldest is tasked by his dying parent to distribute his siblings to the families that could appreciate them.  
   Another of her favorite was The Last Time I Saw Paris.  It starred Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson as Helen and Charles.  After Helen recovers from a near-death case of pneumonia, they get married and settle in Paris.  After a fight angry Charles goes home first and lock the door.  Helen comes home and couldn’t enter. She has to walk all the way to her sister's in the snow and rain. She catches pneumonia again and dies.  This is the movie/story about pneumonia that stayed with me, if it killed Elizabeth Taylor in the movie, it could one day surely kill me.

   Then, I got children of my own.  I read a lot but went to the movies more.  My children didn’t grow up on fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I co-founded The Makati Film Society, which sponsored film revival events with critically claimed movies like the Godfather, Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, etc.  I gave my mom and dad tickets to my film events.  I didn’t expect them to come.  They did and my mom seemed to be proud of what I had done. 

   The arrival of Batamax movie copies in the mid-80's killed the film revival projects. I brought home Betamax tapes of movies I liked.  

   I tried to sneak in my teenage son to a Dirty Harry film.  I told him to pretend he was my date.  The theater usher caught us and threw us out.

   Now, I have written two books, REBEL and The Email Ordered Wife that I wish would get a movie deal.  They could be blockbusters in waiting.  
   The third generation arrived.  My daughter wants to write movies.  She has written and directed a college play, and has a film, Anak ng Tikbalang, which won 2nd Place, People’s Choice Award.  My mom died when she was three years old, I wish my mom could see her now.
See also:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Bout with Pneumonia

   I’ve heard of pneumonia, of people dying of pneumonia.  In January, a 90 years old associate died.  She was in the twilight of her years but it was pneumonia that killed her.  I attended her wake and we all marveled at how her fingers remained soft while she laid in her open casket.  I touched her finger with mine.  It was tender indeed.  A well-meaning friend reminded me of the Bible Book of Numbers 19:11, which says “Anyone touching any dead person will be unclean for seven days.”  I was familiar with the verse.  I dismissed the warning in carelessness and in total disobedience, rationalized that there were no hand sanitizers during biblical times.  Food was served and I had ice cream without washing my hands with water or the sanitizer I had in my purse. 

   Two weeks later, I had cough and running nose.  Typical of Filipinos, I did not go to a doctor.  I self-medicated with the cheapest cough syrup and had my daughter put Katinko on my back.  Katinko had been a home remedy I trusted in the Philippines and have taken with me to California.  The cough turned really bad, like I never had before in my life.

   During my dialysis treatment, the nurse practitioner, Ruth Ramos, happened to be doing her rounds.  That was a blessing despite my disobedience to Bible advice.  Ruth immediately gave me antibiotics, Gentamicin and Vancomycin intravenously.  She was afraid I might just stop breathing.  She was getting ready to call an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.  I refused the ambulance.  I was afraid of what it would cost.  She got Ashraf, the Social Worker to come over to me to explain, it won’t cost me a dime.  I still would rather die than ride an ambulance alone.  She insisted that after dialysis I proceed to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.  

   I called my daughter to come with me after her shift at work.  I sat in my car waiting for her for five hours.  I was slumped in my steering wheel when the Social Worker got into the car parked next to mine.  He sat for a while deliberating if he should ignore me and go on his way.  He decided to go back in the building to inform my dialysis tech, Brian B. Reyes that I was still out there.  Brian came out to check on me.  I told him I was waiting for my daughter and I’ll be alright.

   The nearest hospital, Seton Medical Center, took an x-ray of my chest and back and gave me a discharge instruction that said I had pneumonia.
  My primary doctor, Dr. John Lai, forwarded a prescription of antibiotics to a pharmacy for me to pick up.  As I said, I have never had pneumonia before in my life and always thought it was a game ender.  For two weeks, I wondered if I was going to die.   When I had taken all the antibiotics, I went to see my primary doctor as per the discharge instruction.  He said I’ll be fine.
   The saga of the Filipina who can’t shake off the rebelliousness she got from the streets of Pasay City, Metro Manila, continues.