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Creatinine from the Black Lagoon

Posted Apr 25 2007 1:30pm
I met Brenda at the hospital today (six days post-transplant) for our post-operative check-ups. Brenda looks and feels great. We are both off of our narcotic (and delicious) painkillers in favor of (plain, boring) Tylenol. My wounds (three of them) from surgery are all healing well.
I was mostly interested in finding out our current creatinine levels.

Allow me to explain:

The functioning of your kidneys is best measured by testing the level of creatinine in your blood. A low level is good and indicates good kidney functioning. A high level is bad and indicates kidney failure and the need for dialysis and/or a transplant to save your life.

When kidney people talk about your “creatinine level,” it is generally expressed in a single number, such as “1.4.” What this is referring to (in the non-metric U.S.A.) is 1.4 milligrams per deciliter.

Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter.

A person with only one kidney may have a normal level of about 1.8 or 1.9. Creatinine levels that reach 2.0 or more in babies and 10.0 or more in adults may indicate the need for dialysis to remove wastes from the blood.

Before my surgery, my creatinine level was 1.2. Six days after the surgery, it is 1.6. I’m told this is normal. This number will continue to decrerase as my remaining kidney swells (with pride) over the next several weeks, and increases its filtration rate.

The increased level of creatinine in people suffering kidney failure causes their brain function to diminish. They often feel “cloudy” in their thoughts.

Prior to surgery (and during her kidney failure), Brenda’s creatinine level was above 9.0. Immediately following receiving my kidney, her creatinine level has plunged to 1.0.

She says her mind is no longer cloudy.

I say my kidney has made her a genius.

She says I shouldn’t get carried away.
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