Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Outpatient Dialysis has Begun

Last night was my first outpatient dialysis treatment. It went okay, but I guess it could have been better. I was there for four hours, and they originally had scheduled to remove 3 kg of fluid. It turned out that when they were finished, they had taken off too much fluid and it caused my blood pressure to drop very low. So, they gave me an extra 500 cc of saline solution which helped bring my pressure back up to normal. Hopefully Thursday's treatment will be better.

Yesterday, I got introduced to the world of dialysis. Each night when I arrive, I have to weigh myself in kilograms. This is to measure how much weight you have gained since your last treatment so that they now how much fluid to remove. Since they removed too much fluid last night, I think they said they are going to start a lot smaller tomorrow and work their way back up to a higher number.

So, I go to the clinic, weigh myself, and sit in a recliner next to a dialysis machine. The nurse checks my blood pressure and enters my weight into the computer. Based on my dry weight, they decide how much fluid to remove during that four-hour session. Then, the technician cleans the skin above my access with alcohol and betadine. They put one needle in for venous access and one needle in for arterial access (this needle is closer to where to fistula is tied). Once I am hooked up, they give me a little blood thinner to help the blood flow and then start drawing my blood out into the machine. The machine filters the blood, removes some fluid, and returns the clean blood back into my arm. That describes the next four hours of my night. They also gave me an injection of artificial hormone to help my body produce red blood cells, as I will always lose a little blood inside the machine.

Well, there's dialysis for you. I didn't have any problems with it in the hospital, but they didn't take off as much fluid then, either. I am hoping that tomorrow's treatment will be better. I will see the new nephrologist at the clinic every week, and he and I will talk about (and possibly adjust) my treatment more next Tuesday. Thursday should be better as I know they won't be taking off as much fluid.

Here are my prayer requests:
  • Pray that dialysis will go well the rest of this week (no more scares)
  • Pray that my fistula will continue to grow so that they can use the larger gauge needles
  • Pray that my insurance card will come quickly so that I can turn in the paperwork for a transplant
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