New action plan

13 października, 2023 * olahola
Hey, it’s me again! I’m on the last straight in preparation for my master’s degree, and in a break from studying I managed to prepare today’s post. That is, briefly about how you can make the most of your time on dialysis. What matters for this „guide” is that I am one of those people who love organization. I include both pedantically arranging things on shelves, doing my makeup in the perfect time interval before going out, or planning my schedule for the week. This approach helped me a lot last November when I started dialysis. I had to incorporate 3 sessions a week of 4 hours of „bed rest” into my existing duties. Sounds great huh?

Unfortunately, the reality turned out to be less sweet, but I’d like to focus on the facts first. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7 to 11 pm I am on hemodialysis. These involve connecting the patient (via a fistula or catheter) to a hemodialysis machine. Is it a lot of time? Well, probably a lot, but comparing that healthy kidneys work 24/7 and I can filter every 2 days in 4 hours it starts to look better. For the uninitiated, I will try to briefly characterize in one of my posts what this process consists of from the technical side:) Returning to the reorganization of my free time, I would like to present what positives I have been able to see in this situation.

First of all, I still have 4 days left in the week, which I can devote to developing my interests, additional work or meeting with friends. Nevertheless, I also do not want to portray this situation in a distorted way. It is worth noting that, especially at the beginning of hemodialysis, there are difficult days. In addition to the physical fatigue resulting from a situation that is new to the body, there is also a heavy mental burden. If you are in the process of starting dialysis therapy, or someone close to you is starting it-don’t forget to be understanding and kind to yourself/your loved one. It’s a good idea to give yourself time to adjust to the new situation, both physically (although this mostly happens beyond our efforts), but also mentally. For example, it will be helpful, consciously not to take on any new large commitments during this time. Your thoughts will probably focus on the new situation anyway:) Therefore, going back- taking into account the patience and kindness that I gave myself and that my loved ones bestowed on me- I was able to quickly adjust to the new situation. Although it is worth mentioning here that I work hybrid and have the opportunity on post-dialysis days to work from home. In addition, from myself I can hint that I recommend on „free” days to use remote activities- for example, learning a language, additional courses/webinars or working with a psychologist. It happens that on the second day after dialysis I am still tired, so this solution is very helpful.

The other positive I see in the current situation is using dialysis as a time to study, read books, and maybe catch up on college projects. For example, I try to occupy my time for the first two hours of dialysis. Most often I take turns doing English assignments or reading books. Recently, climbing to the top of my own ambition, I started reading psychological literature. After all, after the defense it would be good to take some further direction:D

As a counterpoint, dialysis can be used to relax. If you are working at high speed and having trouble finding free time, treat this time as an „imposed” moment to catch your breath. I know that we don’t always feel well after dialysis, but we can try to influence this. We won’t stop the falling blood pressure, but we can try not to overhydrate to reduce dehydration on dialysis. Also, if you happen to work or study during dialysis, try to put everything aside, take a good book and for those 4 hours don’t think about the „worries of everyday life”:). If you allow yourself to recuperate then, it will allow you to both rest your head, but maybe as a side effect you will also have time to systematize your existing activities and catch new ideas.

The last positive that can be drawn from this situation, which also kind of sums up this topic, is to look for, but also see opportunities in even the most difficult situations. If we give ourselves permission to experience negative emotions and then return to strength at a pace that is right for us, it is worth looking at as a super skill for the future. Building a sense of self-efficacy or something… After all, how do you manage to function normally while on dialysis/dialysis is how effective you will be after a transplant!

Let us know how you guys use your time on dialysis. Maybe some new inspirations will fall in:)

Take care.
Olahola xo
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