Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One Week Down . . .

So my first week on dialysis has passed.  I guess that's a milestone worth mentioning.  It's still kind of difficult to believe this is my life now.

I did well for my first "weekend" off.  Apparently many people put on a lot of fluid weight over the weekend (the two-day break from dialysis).  Of course, I still pee, so it's probably easier for me than for people who can't.  I only gained half of a kilogram.  One of the nurses told me that a lot of people put on around five kilograms.  I saw the effects of it, too.  Some of the people around me were having a difficult time getting the fluid pulled off -- nausea, cramping, etc.  It was great incentive to watch my sodium to decrease my fluid retention.

I also learned that, tomorrow, I'm going to be receiving bigger needles!  Bigger needles?!?!?!  I didn't know they made bigger ones!  The reasoning behind it is that with the bigger needles they can pull more blood and pull it at a faster rate.  I also learned the reason for that.  Yesterday, I "clotted off" the machine.  About ten  minutes before I was supposed to come off the machine, my blood clotted up the works.  Yeah.  It was kind of weird.  It shut down the system and what blood of mine that was in the machine did not come back to me.  (I'm already a quart low.)  The nurse told me that it could be for one of two reasons or a combination of both.  They might not be using enough Heparin (blood thinner) with me while I'm on the machine, and/or because they are using the "small" needles, they are running me at a slower rate than normal.  So, here's to bigger needles!

It's been a week since the infiltration of my fistula at the hospital, and it still hurts.  I have a huge knot and bruise on the upper part of my arm.  This just happens to be where they put the tourniquet when they are putting in the needles.  I didn't even feel the needles yesterday, because the tourniquet hurt so much.

Yesterday was also the first time I "held" my fistula to stop the bleeding after the needles were taken out.  Well, it was my first attempt.  While I was holding pressure on the first one, my hand (the one doing the holding) got a severe cramp.  I was able to hold until the bleeding stopped, but a nurse had to do the second one.  I was told that holding the fistula by hand is better for it than using the clamps.  It's a little strange to know that I'm stopping the bleeding from this "power vein" just by holding pressure on it.  Our bodies are pretty interesting when you think about the ways we heal ourselves.

Unfortunately, kidneys don't heal themselves, so off to dialysis again tomorrow.

Before I go, I wanted to mention some positive things from the weekend.  Boyfriend and I bought a new grill!  His died a few months ago, and we've both been missing it.  With our new way of eating, it's an essential part of our kitchen.  It's a Stok Quattro, which has these cool grill inserts for cooking veggies, etc.  He's already using it, and liking it a lot.

We've also learned that "Mrs. Dash" has come a long way from her original blend.  I don't like the "original" flavor, but she has come out with a bunch of new ones, along with sodium-free marinades.  The ones we've tried have been very good -- Mesquite Grill and Garlic Herb marinades, and Fiesta Lime, "Table" and Lemon Pepper blends.  Watching sodium, potassium and phosphorus levels is a challenge, but these things help so much.

There's also a place where we can go out to eat -- Ted's Montana Grill.  They cook everything fresh, and the meat is fresh so you can get it without added sodium.  You have to ask them not to put the burger seasoning in the meat (beef or bison -- I got bison).  You also have to get a kaiser roll for the bun -- the lowest sodium choice of four different buns.  I even got Swiss cheese on it -- it's lower in phosphorus and sodium than most cheeses.  For my side, I got a house salad, didn't eat the croutons or the tomatoes, and used oil and vinegar as my dressing.  I was quite satisfied, and the burger was really good.  I also got a bottle of IBC root beer, so I wouldn't get refills, to limit my fluids.

I did not receive any compensation from the above mentioned companies.  :)  I just want to share the benefits of my research and the good experiences you can still have while being on dialysis.  I read and hear so many negative things, and I understand.  It's easy to dwell on the negatives.  I'm trying to stay positive.  I'm sure I'll have my days, and then maybe I'll re-read this, too.  :)

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