Come with me on dialysis

20 października, 2023 * olahola
A few days ago I defended my master’s degree in psychology!!! I did it myself, so called giga chad, despite low hemoglobin, dialysis or other side threads I prepared for the defense. I do not know if it resounded, but on 5! At first I was anxious to simply pass. Of course, along with knowledge, my ambition grew. In the back of my mind I had the fact that my dearest sister defended herself with a 5, and after all, I didn’t want to be worse… So I went from the initial attitude of „let’s just pass” to „gee, but this 5 is what I deserve”. Super thing, I’m proud of myself. Not exactly because it’s the first time in 17 years that I’ve had a break in my studies, more because I’ve consistently achieved my goal with small steps.

So much for my bragging. I was wondering what I would like to add to this. Unfortunately, exceptionally, no smooth transition popped into my head so today I simply asked a question from Instagram: 
„How did it start for you? What initial research, how did it go?”

From about February 2022, I was aware that I would soon have to start dialysis therapy. In May of that year, I had a fistula created (at the wrist), which I went to puncture 2-3 times a week. This involves inserting a standard needle to draw blood into the fistula to make it more stable. The worst part was the vacations, I didn’t know if I could plan one last longer trip „before”. Fortunately, the results in July/August were not yet tragic, so I got the green light to go on vacation at the beginning of September. By the way, one of the better decisions, two weeks of touring, basking in the sun and eating French melon… Yum. Coming back-October turned out to be kind to me, but unfortunately I had to start dialysis at the beginning of November. Despite about 5 months of puncturing the fistula, it was still not „ready” to perform the procedure on it, so the whole thing was postponed by two weeks. 

I specifically checked the tests- in my case dialysis started with urea 260 and creatinine 7.6. There are no additional tests before starting dialysis. It’s just that when the parameters are too high, it means that the kidneys are no longer cleansing the body and the machine has to help them. I remember how scared I was on my first dialysis. Fortunately, at my station, the vast majority of nurses are super (warm regards<3), so external factors did not traumatize me more than my internal fear. I won’t write that it was super pleasant because just as I haven’t been afraid of blood draws all my life, so with the fistula I had to look away to keep from winding up.

In a nutshell, what the whole process looks like: usually I come already dressed in sweatpants so I just put my jacket in the locker, enter the room, put my stuff on the bed, sit down on the scale (you can see what it looks like in the photo in the last post), spread out comfortably and wait. I weigh myself each time before to know how much fluid the machine needs to take out of me. You know- since I don’t pee, all those fluids stay in my body, and every dialysis, in addition to cleansing me, the machine also pulls the excess water out. By my small size- I gain about 1.5-2l between dialysis, but there are some who can go more wild. The doctor sets a dry weight for each patient individually, which is the reference point. The dry weight-that is, the weight below which you are unlikely to go, because there will be a drop in pressure and overall you’re done. Then a nurse comes in and measures my blood pressure, we determine how much I’m dehydrating, and she hooks me up to the machine. During the process, you can eat, drink, sleep, study or read books. Halfway through, we measure the pressure again to see if it has dropped too much, for example, with severe dehydration. At the end, I ask to change the dressing at the catheter-obviously, this can not be done at home, so as not to get an infection. I know of two types of dressings-„cut” which is the kind you can see on my home page, changed every dialysis and „gel” changed every week.  When the machine lets me know that the party is over we finish the procedure, which means disconnecting me from the machine and closing the ends from the catheter. At the end, the scale again to see if I managed to get down to dry, or rather, to see how much has come in at the next dialysis. And so on and on… 🙂

In summary, this is how I spend every other evening. Let me know if anything surprised you. I think the most to me is that after a month of dialysis I „lost” 2.5 kilograms. Effective, but I guess I still don’t recommend it:D

Take care.
Olahola xo
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