Saturday, June 10, 2006

Catheter Again

So, today is Saturday, June 10, and I am writing to you from the dialysis chair. There are 15 minutes left on my treatment, so this post might be kind of short. I thought I would update everyone on how my treatments have been this week, and what kind of trouble my fistula has been having.

Tuesday night, I was hoping for a better stick in my fistula. Unfortunately, only one needle really got in well. The second needle caused a bit of infiltration, which made my arm swell up a bit (rather quickly) and hurt really bad. I had to do my treatment with the catheter, and it did not run very well at all. It stopped and started all night, and it was hard to keep still while holding a glove full of ice on my swolen and bruised arm.

And, let me tell you, my arm got bruised. The worst pain I had was trying to remove the one needle that they had inserted, and hold it to stop bleeding. It was really not enjoyable, and removing the tape that was holding in the needle was unpleasant to say the least. I left with one bandage taping up the small hole in my arm, and I could barely move it. It felt as if I had bruised my entire bicep, making it nearly unbearable to bend my arm.

I slept with the arm elevated, and it felt better in the morning. When I looked at it, though, it was kind of disgusting. There is a large hematoma (bruise) all around the area where I was stuck, minus a square when the bandage had been pressing, keeping the blood from pooling there under my skin. The pain was less, and a warm shower felt nice. My arm is still sore today, but it is much better than it was Tuesday night.

I used the catheter again on Thursday and Saturday, since my fistula is still quite bruised. The doctor mentioned that we should probably wait a few treatments before we go back to trying to stick me again. I also think I am going to have them use the 17-gauge needles for at least two weeks, since they tried 15-gauge on Tuesday night. Hopefully, using the 17-gauge will help my fistula develop a bit better before I try and use anything larger.

The only other problem was that my catheter did not work on Thursday. They had to use an unclotting medicine (which stays in the catheter for thirty minutes) to get it flowing again for my treatment. This meant that I had to stay later, but at least the machine was able to run better. Previously, it had been stopping every couple of minutes because it could not return my blood. Today (Saturday), I am doing great. The machine ran at 300 ml/min and only stopped a few times during the whole four hours.

There are only a few minutes left in my treatment, so I will try and wrap up. My blood pressure is 116/63, with a heart rate of 96. If you remember back to a few months ago, this is a huge improvement. I think that my current medications along with the "profile 2" that they are using to remove fluid, has really helped. I hope to continue to do well with this combination.

Please pray for my arm and fistula this week. Pray that the swelling and bruising goes away, and that my fistula will be ready to use again (soon, but not so soon that it causes problems). The insurance company called, complaining about paying for my dad's transplant testing. Pray that that will get worked out so that I can get started on testing someone else.

Thanks for coming to read my chronicles. They may not be as fanciful as Narnia, but they are mine. Enjoy!
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