Hello world!

Hi there and welcome to the Big D and Me – a blog about overcoming the challenges of being on dialysis.

In my case, that’s Haemodialysis – pronounced “he-mo-dialysis”, though strangely enough, there are as many women as men dialysing (lame joke). Actually haemo- or hemo- comes from the Greek haima meaning ‘blood’ and dialysis is a chemistry term meaning the transfer of dissolved solids across a membrane. So, haemodialysis removes waste products from blood, acting as an artificial kidney.

It does this by sucking a stream of blood from a needle in a vein/artery (fistula) in my arm, circulating it through one side of a membrane while special dialysis fluid is circulated on the other side. Waste products (such as urea and creatinine that I used to pee away) diffuse through the membrane into the dialysis fluid and are discarded, and my now nice clean blood is pumped back into me via a second needle, near the first one.

Sounds complex, but so was staying in touch until the telephone arrived. Now, with the dialysis machine it’s pretty simple, at least once the blood leaves your body. However there are some human challenges:

  • Getting the needles in
  • Coming to terms with needing dialysis at all
  • The time it takes for a clean (I look at it as a pee that takes a few hours)
  • Eating and drinking
  • Avoiding complications (jiggly legs, feeling washed out, cramps, etc)
  • Keeping you brain up to par
  • And a few others…

I have been on Big D for 14 years, off and on, and I’ve learned that regardless of changes in technologies or practices there are some fundamental actions that anyone can take to win back their life.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll share these things with you. But this blog is a conversation, not a monologue. I want your comments and experience, so we normal people whose kidneys have let us down can make the Big D what it should be:  a restful interlude that punctuates our normal healthy life.

4 thoughts on “Hello world!

  1. I am Greg’s wife of 35 years and he really has such a positive attitude and that is why he leads a pretty normal life even though he is on dialysis. One time I will write about my experience of giving a kidney.

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  2. Greg, you are inspirational and I’m sure that all those who need or are going through the Big D can use what you have written to draw some comfort from your experiences. I now have a better appreciation and understanding of dialysis. Thanks for sharing your life with the Big D and for making it so easy to understand and enjoyable.

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  3. Greg…I believe the one thing you have never let dialysis do, is define you…it’s central to your life in the sense it lets you live the life you set out to enjoy…so I guess its finding the balance….I can’t help but think about the many Aboriginal people who are using the Big D and knowing how busy you are I still want to ask is there a way to convey this to many of those who can’t read or write or don’t have english as their first language. Maybe an adult picture book a bit like the graphic novel concept..Marg

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    • Thanks Margaret. I like the idea of getting Big D information to the Aboriginal community. Adult picture books (the non-R rated type!) can be quite expensive to produce…

      Anyone have any ideas how this could be done?

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