What do you do if you damage your dialysis arm?

Not a question I have thought about in-depth. At least not until I tripped on a hole in the pavement and fell like a sack of potatoes. Sadly I have no judo or ninja-style automatics, where I could roll forward without thinking in a single movement and end up back on my feet (which is strange really, I did nothing else as a kid at school).

Anyway, in addition the immediate embarrassment of offers from help from little old ladies, and studied indifference from all in viewing area, I have also broken my wrist. My dialysis arm wrist. I refused to believe that I could firstly fall over and secondly break something, so in denial I drove back to work. I then felt rather dizzy, sore and sorry and drove home, where I stayed until I was due at the BigD.

I drove there and had a rather painful session, needling around a large new and very tender bump on my wrist. After the session, Julie (my ever patient wife) and I went to the Austin Hospital for some expert help. A couple of hours and an X-ray later, I had what is called a slab, which is a half plaster on the top half of my wrist and arm, held in place with a crepe bandage. It must be removable for each BigD session, so I have access to my fistula.

Yesterday I went to the orthopaedics clinic to replace the slab with a fibreglass clam (two strips of fibreglass joined at the hand). The function is the same. I unwind the crepe bandage and remove the clam, wash and debug my arm, insert the needles (button holes), tape them in place, then replace and bind the clam for the session. Like this.

Dialysing with a broken wrist

Dialysing with a broken wrist

I need to keep the broken bone immobilized for about 4 weeks for it to heal.

By the end of the month, I will be an expert on dialysing via a broken arm. Not that I want to be…

2 thoughts on “What do you do if you damage your dialysis arm?

  1. Hi Greg-do strong painkillers (that floating feeling for high-level pain) affect the blood and dialysing, -e.g morphine or lesser evils/angels like P-Forte? Thought I’d ask. Celeste

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  2. The good news is – it’s all manageable…but not at all welcome…still at least we all know now how to go to the Big d with a Big removable slab..luv M

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