Monday, August 07, 2006

Three Sticks

Well, I had a few more sticks than I would have preferred this weekend. I normally go to dialysis every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evening from 4:30 – 8:30 pm (or there about). Unfortunately, I had a minor problem this most recent weekend. I went in for my normal treatment on Thursday, the 3rd. I arrived at the clinic around 4:15pm (which is normal for me) and headed over to my chair for dialysis. I requested my usual technician (who has had several good sticks with my new upper arm fistula). She had some trouble getting in the first needle, though that is not unusual. It finally flashed (which is what dialysis people call it when the blood pulses in the needle). So, she taped the needle down and began working on the other side.

The second needle was a bit more of a problem. She poked around, but it seemed that all she was able to find was a sticky mess of clotted blood. So, she thought she would try a third location. This was not altogether pleasant, but I wanted to have dialysis, so I let her continue to look for a spot to stick my fistula. Sadly, by the time this needle was properly placed (and only barely at that), the first needle had become clotted. By this time, it was about 5:30. I told them that I would just prefer to go home and come back to try again tomorrow. They charge nurse scheduled me for a 4:30 appointment on Friday afternoon and I went home to ice my arm. It did not bruise, though it still is sore today (Monday).

So, I had 3 needles on Thursday, but they just didn’t work. I went in on Friday, and had a different technician. She tried an entirely new area of my fistula and was able to get the needle to flash right away. Since the area was new, there was not any fear of coming up with clots. She is still using the same place on the lower half of the fistula, so it is at least a little more scarred over (which makes the needle stick slightly less noticeable). The treatment ran Friday night at about 250 ml/min to start, and then up to 300 ml/min for the rest of the treatment (I think).

I came back for dialysis again on Saturday (even though I had only gained about 1.5 kilos). The same technician from Thursday was there again, so she stuck me again. She put the needles in about the same places as she had used on Friday night, and they both stuck. The upper needle gave her a little trouble, and she had to move it around inside the fistula a little bit to get it right down the middle of the lane. The treatment on Saturday ran at 300 ml/min for the entire time, which is better. The best treatment that they give at our clinic runs at 400 ml/min using the 15-gauge needles. So, I just have to let my fistula grow its way up to 400 ml/min, and I should be okay. That, and I need the fistula to start accepting needles better.

Here are some prayer requests for this week, if you don’t mind:
  • Pray for my friend Josh. He has volunteered to have his kidney tested as a possible donor. He has also told me that he’d be willing to go in for an experimental treatment. You can read about that here: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Health/story?id=2243837&page=1

  • Pray for the technicians at dialysis. Please pray that they will be able to find two good spots on my fistula to stick in the needles.

  • Pray that in addition to the good sticking, that we will be able to run the machine at 400 ml/min for an optimal treatment.

I’m hoping for two good weeks worth of treatments in a row. Thank you for coming by to read today. If you look over the ABC news article, don’t panic. I have not talked to any doctors about this, and I do not even know if they are testing it in the Dallas area. If they are, I will talk to the transplant team and see if they would recommend something like that for me. I know I would enjoy the possibility of no drugs (and keeping the kidney longer).
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