Transplant Athlete
Saturday, October 25, 2008

I don't know how people "do" dialysis. I've only been doing this for a couple of months, but the routine is getting old. It's kinda like detention or maybe incarceration might be a better word. Hi DAD, I'm in JAIL. Say hello to MOM!

I know very little about the dialysis process, but the tech's ask me questions like, "Is 250 fine?"

If you're going to give me 250 dollars sure; otherwise, I have no idea what you're talking about. (props to my Mother-In-Law for that joke). Finally, someone explained what they meant by that number (I think). It's the "flow rate" of the machine...I have no idea what units its in, I have no idea what a good flow rate is...They tell me that with the small needles they're using, 250 is probably the maximum. If they drop the flow below 250, I won't be adequately dialyzed.

I like to know what's going on and be involved, especially if they're going to ask me questions about how I like my treatments, but when they second guess my answers, that ticks me off. Last night, my weight was 71.6 kilos (157 pounds for the metrically challenged) that's about what I should normally weigh.

They set a target weight of 67 kilos (147) for me about a month ago. So, the tech wanted to pull off 10 pounds of fluid to get me to that target weight. Unt uh, ain't gonna happen sister. Did I mention dialysis was more voodoo than science? They arrive at the target weight by trial and error...mostly error. At each session, they lower my weight a little bit more until I start cramping. When I'm cramping up, I've hit my target weight. 67 kilos was all well and good when it was summer and I was wearing shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops, but I think they need to add a little weight for the jeans, belt, and shoes...So I tell the tech my weight and she asks how much she should pull off. I say, "3 kilos" instead of 5 and she kind of backs away and goes to the nurse. I can see them across the room, they're talking in hushed tones, occasionally glancing over at me...Then the nurse comes over a) You're gaining to much weight between sessions b) if we leave too much fluid in you it would not be good. ("tell him about the twinkie"). We argue for about 15 minutes I say, "I know my body" they say, "not as well as the machines do". Finally I say what they want to hear so that they'll raise my target weight, "I cramp at home." Which is true, but in my mind irrelevant to the argument. They asked me a question, I answered, they argued with me until they got the answer they wanted.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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