Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dialysis Treatment #45

It is 5:35 pm on Thursday, November 3, 2005, and I am currently sitting here in dialysis. Inspired by another blog I read this week, by Jonathan Finger, I thought that I would try and post to my blog during today's treatment. I am going to go through a simple walk-through of how today's dialysis is going (and I'll try to point out any deviations from the norm).

I arrived at the clinic today at about 4:20 pm. As usual, I came in, set down my blanket and laptop, and then I weighed myself. Today, I weighed 69.9 kg, which is 1.9 kg higher than my dry weight of 68 kg. An important part of dialysis is removing extra fluid from the ESRD patient. Too much fluid in the body can cause high blood pressure and can create problems for the heart. So, the dialysis machine removes any excess fluid that you have put on between treatments. They weigh you in kilograms (instead of pounds) to make the math easier. One liter of water weighs exactly one kilogram. The technician takes my current weight and subtracts my dry weight, leaving the amount of fluid that needs to be removed. They add 500 ml to that amount to account for the saline that is used at the end of the treatment to return my blood from the dialysis machine. So for today, they are taking off 2.4 liters (kilograms) of fluid.

So, the technician calculates the amount of fluid that needs to be removed and sets the machine accordingly. The machine (a Fresnius 2008K) calculates the rate at which to filter the fluid from my blood. Tonight, my technician cleaned my left arm with an alcohol pad and put in the two 15-gauge needles. She started the machine tonight at 4:25 pm, setting it for a four-hour treatment (my normal treatment duration).

Today, I set up my laptop after being connected to the machine. The good people at Netflix had sent me two DVDs from Season 7 of Star Trek: Voyager. I have been working my way through Voyager since early this year, and I am taking my time at dialysis to finish up the series. Voyager runs about 3 hours to the disc, which leaves me enough time to talk to Jenny when she calls. Since we do not get to see very much of each other on my dialysis days, we like to take the opportunity to talk to each other. We both have Sprint and use our free PCS-to-PCS minutes to talk as much as we want to.

It is 6:00 pm right now, and I've finished two episodes of Voyager. I am guessing that Jenny stayed later at work today since she knew I wasn't going to be home anyway (no reason to hurry).

They have wireless Internet available at the dialysis clinic, so I can check my e-mail and get online whenever I would like. Since I am watching Voyager on my laptop tonight, I am having to compose this blog entry on my Palm Pilot. I downloaded a program called U*Blog for the Treo 650. It is built to let you write and upload blog posts from the Treo. It is the same program that I used to make my post on Wednesday, and it seemed to work great.

Now it is 6:20, and I am starting to get hungry. Today, I have a Capri Sun to drink and a pack of Cinnamon Pop-Tarts to eat. I usually bring something easy-to-eat with me so that I don't starve to death during my treatment. Mmmmm...

It is now 7:35 pm. I have just finished talking with Jenny. I was right, she had to stay late at work to get caught up from being gone on Wednesday to take me to my procedure.

Since the end of the treatment leaves mt hands full, I'll fill you in now on what will be happening in about 48 minutes. When the dialysis time is complete, the technician will turn off the filtering, stop drawing blood, and begin pumping saline through the lines to return my blood. Once the blood is returned through the return line, the technician clamps the return and pushes saline through the draw line to return the rest of my blood. This is the approximately 500 ml of fluid that they remove on top of my added weight.

After the blood is returned, the technician disconnects the cables from the machine. She then removes the needles and covers the sites with gauze and betadine. I hold these two pads down for about ten minutes until the bleeding stops. After the bleeding stops, the technician puts clean gauze on the wounds and bandages them so I can go home.

This post has turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. U*Blog could not hold that much text, so I am going to attempt to e-mail the post with VersaMail.

Thanks for reading about an average treatment for me. I am sorry if it was a little long. Hopefully it will post to the blog perfectly. Until next time ... have a great one.

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