I've written before about my struggles with the dialysis diet. For a person who loves food as much as I do, it's probably the worst thing about being on dialysis. For the past year, it seems like my monthly lab reports would always show high levels of potassium and phosphorus.
Then I would be sure to get a visit from the nutritionist or my doctor's nurse practitioner, the indefatiguable Patrick. (I love Patrick. Picture a 6-foot-7 bald black guy who smiles a lot and practices Tai Chi. That's Patrick.) They would proceed to give me the third-degree about what I'd been eating.
My Catholic friends would know what that felt like ... "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned ... I ate tomatoes three times last week, I had grapefruit twice and one piece of cheese."
Actually, I didn't do any of those things, and I was always puzzled about why my numbers weren't coming down, especially the phosphorus. Then a couple months ago, we changed my phosphate binder. That's the medication dialysis patients have to take with meals to prevent their bodies from absorbing the phosphorus in their food. (It can be toxic in high amounts, and the dialysis doesn't get rid of it the way healthy kidneys do.) The old binder I was taking was making me feel nauseous a couple times a week, so Patrick put me on this new stuff. Not only does the new stuff agree with my system, but it works better!
Apparently, it works too well.
Patrick called me this afternoon to say that now my phosphorus is too low. So we're decreasing the dosage of the new phosphate binder.
And another thing ...
For today, AND TODAY ONLY ... I get to eat any high-phosphorus food that I want!
Now, the high-phosphorus foods that I miss the most are dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt ... all that stuff. And the dairy product that I probably miss the most is ice cream.
How do I choose? Of all the wonderful ice cream goodies in the world, which one do I have for dinner tonight? Will it be Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche? Baskin-Robbins Baseball Nut? A chocolate malted milk shake? A hot fudge sundae? Banana split?
How would you decide? What would you choose?