Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Saturday and Tuesday

So, I have been chronicling my experiences with extra sticks recently. It seems my fistula is not working the way that I would prefer it to. Last week, I had 4 sticks on Tuesday and 3 sticks on Thursday (just to bring you up to speed).

On Saturday, I was lucky and only had to be stuck with two needles. This seemed to be a good thing, since they wanted to run an “access flow” check on my fistula. This is a quarterly test that they run at the dialysis clinic to see how well the blood is flowing inside your fistula. They tell me that a rate over 400 ml/min is preferred for an AV Fistula. My previous fistula never scored much over 300, and it eventually died. I was hoping for a better score with this one. Unfortunately, there was a problem, and they couldn’t run the test on Saturday. I guess one of the needles was not quite in the right place, because it kind of leaked a little bit the rest of the night. They stopped the bleeding, but I don’t think it was quite right.

On Tuesday, they had to use three needles before they could get me. Keep in mind that the same technician has been sticking me for about 7 straight treatments at this point. But, the needles went in and we were ready to try the access flow again. This time, it ran just fine, and the machine reported an access flow around 640 ml/min (or close to that). That is a wonderful number. I am very thankful that my fistula is flowing well, even if it is not sticking well. The extra needle this week was due to clotting again.

I received my monthly lab reports on Tuesday as well. Here they go:

Albumin: Protein in the blood that helps fight infections and aids in healing

August 2006 - 4.5 (goal is 3.8 to 4.5)

Your albumin (blood protein) is normal

enPCR: Protein Catabolic Rate; suggest if I am eating enough fish, chicken, beef, and other protein foods to meet my daily needs

August 2006 - 0.59 (goal is greater than or equal to 0.8)

Your protein catabolic rate (protein intake) is low

The dietician suggested that I try eating eggs for breakfast, so I will.

eKdrt/V: Tells how well my dialysis treatment is working and if I am receiving enough dialysis to clean my blood

August 2006 - 1.26 (goal is greater than or equal to 1.2) – this is up a tiny bit from last month

Your eKdrt/V is in the goal range.

Potassium: A mineral needed for normal heart rhythm and muscle function. High potassium can make my heart stop!

August 2006 - 3.8 (goal is 3.5 to 6)

Your potassium level is normal

Corrected Calcium: A mineral needed for healthy bones and muscles

August 2006 – 9.4 (goal is 8.4 to 9.5)

Your corrected calcium is normal

Phosphorus: A mineral needed for healthy bones. High phosphorus can damage my heart and blood vessels by making them stiff, and can weaken my bones.

August 2006 – 2.9 (goal is 3.5 to 5.5)

Your phosphorus is low.

This is the lowest I’ve ever seen my phosphorus. The dietician said it is still within normal range as long as it is above 2.5.


August 2006 – 9.6 (goal is 11 to 12)

Your hemoglobin is low. This is called anemia. You may need your EPO or iron changed.

The dietician did raise my EPO levels.

There was also a new chart showing my average fluid weight gains for the last six months. My overall average was less than 3.0 liters per month. The weekend fluid gains were between 3.0 and 3.5 liters on a monthly basis. This was well within my goal of staying under 3.5 liters (since that is about all my body can tolerate having removed in one treatment).

I hope the new format of the lab report wasn’t too confusing. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or e-mail. I have to go now. Jenny hasn’t seen much of me all week and is jealous of my blog getting all this attention.

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