Six months ago today, I started dialysis. What I once thought about with dread has turned out to be a really simple ordinary routine that I go through three mornings a week. No fuss. No muss. I simply go to MY chair and sit and relax and leave the driving to the other guy. I watch TV. Read books. Nap (a lot). And generally I actually enjoy my little spa-like rest. I leave rejuvenated and, as I am doing now, I do something that has nothing whatsoever to do with dialysis. I’m doing the laundry and have access to my laptop. Here I go!
I can check my email. I can eat munchies – yes – there are some munchies that are not on the “Forbidden Fruits”. (Yeah, fruit is on that list – strawberries, melons, cantaloupe. Heavy sigh)
Next up for me is to make a decision for a permanent access site for dialysis. I am hoping that this will go like starting dialysis did – piece of cake. Hopefully.
I have two choices. One is to have a fistula surgically made in my arm that “cures” for six months (so I have to decide this pretty darn quick because my temporary site could poop out on me, although so far it’s working great!). This procedure enables the techs to insert very, very large needles in your arm, one for the blood to go out into the dialysis machine and get cleaned and filtered and fluffed, the other needle is for the polished blood to return to your body. (I have watched it leave my body, go through all the hoops and loops and return in about 60 seconds!!). I’m not really keen on needles, especially 14 gauge ones.
The other choice is to do peritoneal dialysis (called PD). This involves a surgically inserted tube in my stomach, into the peritoneum cavity. The membrane is porous and works great as a filter and does the same thing hemodialysis does (hemo meaning blood). But a lot more gentle and at my own schedule. The downside is that it is every day, four times a day (20 minutes). I can travel, go on car trips, go garage sailing to the hinterlands, and bring a bag or two of dialycate with me.
The other downside is that I have to give myself epogyn shots (for anemia) about once a week. Ok, all my brave, strong diabetic friends do this without batting an eye, every day, sometimes twice. So I can’t snivel and whine here. But at least it is a ‘fine” needle – not some dagger like they use at the dialysis center. I can see those suckers from 20 feet away. No Thank You.
So, anyway, I wanted to keep you posted. I am so healthy it’s absolutely silly!!! It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling. Happy Blood Letting to Me!! Here’s to another 60 6-month anniversaries. (I’ll be 90)