I'm back . . .
Tuesday morning, Mom, Boyfriend and I went to the hospital together. After I was admitted, I was sent directly to dialysis. Mom and BF couldn't go with me. They had to sit in a little waiting room. I was really nervous, but the nurse who worked with me talked me through everything really well. I couldn't look at the needles before she stuck me, but they felt pretty big. She didn't lie; she said it would be a "big stick". I'm not a big fan of needles -- I don't know of anyone who really is -- but, wow! I'm not lying either -- It hurt! Once the initial pain subsided, though, the actual dialysis treatment wasn't bad. I was definitely uncomfortable. Once the needles were in, I was no longer supposed to bend my arm. I watched some TV and talked with the nurses and staff. Removing the needles was a little painful, too, but not too bad. I think the relief of being taken off of it outweighs the pain. The best thing about dialysis was that I lost five pounds! :)
Oh, and they waited until after I was hooked to the machine to tell me that I could be staying in the hospital as long as Friday if the dialysis center wasn't able to get me in a chair on Thursday. And they waited to tell me that I would be getting another dialysis treatment the next day.
After dialysis, we were taken to my room. I had a private room, thankfully. Both Mom and BF were staying with me, so Mom got the hard-as-a-rock "recliner" and BF got the couch made for little people. It was a long night. Every time I fell asleep, someone woke me up to poke or prod me. No one slept much.
The next morning, I was taken to dialysis for my second treatment. I had a different nurse, but the one from the day before was there. They also put me in a different bed. These don't seem like significant things when I type them, but they were at the time. I guess when something is so new and scary anything different just adds to it. This time, things didn't go as well. After the nurse stuck the needles in my arm (again, ouch!), before I was hooked to the machine, the fistula in my arm started to spasm and hurt. The needle infiltrated my fistula, and my arm began to swell up with blood. The worst part was that she had to stick me again in a different part of my fistula!
Once all of that was taken care of, the treatment started going well. After a while on the machine, I all of a sudden got a cramp in my leg and felt like I needed to vomit. The treatment was a stronger level this time and took more fluid off of me than the day before. That caused a drop in my blood pressure, which caused those other things to happen. The nurse added some saline fluid back to me and that resolved the situation. My arm is still sore and swollen from the infiltration, though.
The good news from this day was that I could go home. The dialysis center had an open spot for me on Thursday (today) at 6:30 AM. For those of you who know me well, you know that 6:30 AM is not my best time. :) I was originally told I had an 11:30 AM spot, but I guess that changed.
While I was in dialysis, Mom and BF went shopping. :) They both bought me some neat things to help cheer me up. BF bought me a "mood" bracelet, so he could have a warning system. I am fortunate to have both of them in my life. They are both very generous and loving, and they are both very protective of me.
Mom, BF and I came home Wednesday afternoon, exhausted, and looking forward to getting up this morning to go to dialysis again! Normally, dialysis will only be three days a week. They started me out with three days in a row to get me used to it. Ugh.
So, I had my first dialysis in the center this morning. It went pretty well. No infiltration. No sickness. I felt a little nauseated afterward, but nothing like the day before. I was hooked to the machine for four hours, though. That was a test of endurance. They did this one low and slow to keep me from getting sick again. This was the day that one of the doctors made rounds. He was very positive and friendly. He changed some of my meds based on my labs and asked me about transplant. I'm interested in transplant, but to date, I have been told that I'm currently too overweight to be a candidate. He said that there is a new transplant center in the Daytona Beach area that takes overweight people. He is going to refer me there for an evaluation, and at least, get that process started.
I think Mom and BF felt a little better about my dialysis today. They were able to come back into the clinic and see me hooked to the machine and ask the nurse any questions they had. Everyone we've come in contact with at the clinic has been genuinely nice and helpful. They do their best to make an unpleasant thing as pleasant as it can be.
Another good thing I can take away from the last few days is that I don't have a strict fluid restriction yet. Basically as long as I can still pee, I can still drink. I have to watch what I drink, and I'm becoming more aware of how much I drink, because one day, I will have to start restrictions. I also have a lot of dietary restrictions, some of which I've been used to monitoring. I have to limit the amount of sodium, potassium and phosphorus in my diet. We've been given lists upon lists of foods and nutritional information. I've been studying it for a while, and it's still overwhelming. My incredible boyfriend is helping, though. The past two nights he has cooked two wonderful meals for me, all within my restrictions. He's very pro-active, and is really helping me do this. He likes to cook, and does a large percentage of the cooking anyway. He's taking this opportunity to be creative and figure out how to keep this diet interesting and livable. He is awesome! [The diet is difficult to stick with as evidenced by my fellow dialysis patients who were eating McDonald's breakfast around me this morning.]
So, life with dialysis has begun. I'm still overwhelmed by it. Having to go back and get stuck again is something I dread, although the nurses have all told me it will get easier. I don't always believe them. :)