Dialysis is Like Life, Only More So

The BigD is the original moving feast. One month life is sweet: my brain functions Ok; puncturing is easy, with both buttonholes working; I feel fit and well; my blood pressure is like an athlete’s; my blood work is mostly within the zone; I am sleeping well; I can get out of bed, jog and exercise like I did way back when. On these days I think: “This dialysis is a soda – can I handle it or what?”

Then the next month arrives. Suddenly I can’t find one of my buttonholes – my fistula has moved or grown under the skin, and the holes are no longer in alignment. So I start another hole, with a sharp needle. It is always messy and not quite as comfortable. I forget to take a phosphate binder on the day I decide to go crazy and have a pizza, so I get a little itchy and restless; my brain is fuzzy; it becomes a little more difficult to sleep; I’m tired and find it hard to leap out of bed for a run or the gym; I’m a less masterful needler, which raises my blood pressure and stress levels. On these days, I think: “This dialysis is a drag, will I ever feel good again?”

Then, slowly my new buttonhole is formed and works a treat. My meds are all back on line and I start feeling a little more capable; I sleep better and can exercise. The dark days become grey, then bright and sunny.

I have noticed this more than ever since I returned to the BigD about a year ago. I used to think: “This month it things settle down to a steady state I can live with.” But I have finally realised that life on the BigD is actually a cycle –  just like life – only a little more so:  small things can easily go amiss and have a disproportionate impact. Accepting this makes it easier to deal with.

As usual, it’s all about expectations: enjoy the highs and know that the lows don’t last.

Anyway, enough of this. I feel pretty good right now, but I’m off to the doctor to get my Swine Flu vaccination. Could be another cycle coming on…

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