Thursday, October 16, 2008

My dad started dialysis today

My dad's side of the family has been hit hard by Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). We know that my Grandma "Kitty" had it and my dad tells me she was on dialysis for 20-25 years before she finally got a kidney transplant in the mid-to-late 80s. She felt much better after the transplant, but due to other health issues, she died within a few years of her transplant.

Her brother, beloved Uncle Nick, also had PKD and he also died from complications in the mid-90s. My dad thinks that several of grandma's other siblings also had it.

My dad was officially diagnosed with PKD in 1992, so I went in for an ultrasound shortly afterwards and found that I also have it. My PKD is still at the very early stage with normal creatinine levels. I do have to take blood pressure medication, but I have no PKD-related pain.

My dad is a different story and he had to go to the hospital earlier this year because his potassium levels were through the roof. At the time, we thought he would have to go on dialysis immediately, but thanks to an extreme diet change (the incredibly difficult renal diet) and changes to his meds, he was able to postpone dialysis for several months. Unfortunately, he has now reached the stage where he must start dialysis and that's what he did today. I took him to his first appointment this afternoon and I'm about to head out the door to pick him up as I type this.

My dad's a fighter and I know that dialysis will be really good for him, even if it will be a hassle. But if he doesn't eventually get a kidney transplant, he will remain on dialysis for the rest of his life. That saddens me, but it also makes me all the more driven to raise funds and volunteer for the PKD foundation so that all PKD sufferers will have much better options in the future.

If you would like to support the PKD foundation, I encourage you to do so.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains

Looter Winstone and Stain Lane
As mentioned previously, I first saw parts of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains in the mid-80s when it showed up on late night TV (Night Flight on the USA Network), but since it was never released on video or DVD, I never got to watch it from start to finish. I remember that I really liked what I saw, though, and I've kept my eyes open for it for the last 20 years.

When I found out that it was finally getting a real DVD release, I pre-ordered the movie, waited for it be officially released and finally watched it in its entirety a few weeks ago.

Actually, I watched it twice in the same night: the second time while listening to the highly entertaining commentary track from Diane Lane and Laura Dern. Ms. Lane was 15 and Ms. Dern was 13 years old when they shot this film surrounded by punk rock legends.

Since I watched it twice, you probably already realize that I really liked this movie. I can't write film reviews to save my life, but I found the story fun, the characters very believable (and grounded in reality, even if the plot is a bit absurd) and the music is just great. But, the music has to be great when you have two Sex Pistols and members of The Clash and The Tubes not only playing music but also acting in the film as musicians. For me, though, the greatest thrill I got while watching this film was realizing that the fictitious rock band The Looters, which included the aforementioned Sex Pistols and Clash members, was fronted by none other than (an incredibly young-looking) Ray Winstone. I had only known Mr. Winstone from his roles in recent years in films such as Sexy Beast, The Departed and that abortion of a franchise movie starring Harrison Ford earlier this year. Ray Winstone is a great actor, but I now know that he is also a great punk rock singer.