This is what #KidneyDisease Looks Like
Well, it's been about 2 months since I started dialysis (I really meant to blog about this before now). It has required some life changes, such as a room dedicated to dialysis supplies, a machine that I'm hooked up to each night, a lovely peritoneal catheter, and a bunch of pills. So much fun (not).
Every night I take 30 minutes or so to get everything ready and hook myself up for my nightly dialysis that runs for approximately 8 hours. My husband is in bed by 9:30 during the week as he's up at 5:30 am so sometime between 8:30 and 9 pm I'm hooking up for the night. The lines are long enough that after I'm hooked up I can go out and watch TV or read in the living room but not long enough to reach the kitchen so all drinks, etc. need to be within reach of my preferred seat before I hook up. In order to keep my catheter clear I use heparin with my dialysis solution each night so every little cut bleeds like crazy.
Each morning it takes about 10 minutes to go through the routine to unhook myself from the machine. My catheter site requires special care after I shower (no baths, can't soak) using a special cleaner. Everything has to be clean - no reusing towels/washcloths, no shower poufs, and no bar soap. Being peritoneal, there is a higher risk of infection. One good thing - I'm restricted from cleaning the fish tanks at work! Yay! Once the site is cleaned I apply a strip of tape to keep it in place all day and I cover the site with a sterile dressing. I have a belt I wear during the day that holds my catheter - I only use that when I'm going to work or out in public as it's hot and it gets itchy after a while. If I'm at home I just tuck my catheter in my clothes.
All in all, it's not that bad. Next month I will have my first experience doing dialysis while I'm staying in a hotel - I'll be signing at Penned Con in St. Louis. The supply company will ship my dialysis solution straight to the hotel which saves some room in the car (and it's heavy!) I'll let you all know how that goes.
There is an upside to this type of dialysis - since it's done every night I can eat some of the things that were on my no-no list. On traditional dialysis the diet is more strict as it's not done over the weekend so the bad things can build up. I still don't want to over-do it but I can enjoy cheese, tomatoes, and other things.
Until then, know I'm doing well.
Love and dog kisses,