Dialysis when you feel 5 out of 10

Over the last few months I’ve caught any bug that happens to be in the same street, much less the same room. I’ve gone from 5 k runs and gym three times a week to slow morning walks around the bed. Then within a week, back to half speed runs. All very tedious and a not little frustrating.

This morning, I feel around 6 out of 10. Just enough spark to write this week’s blog (only a day or so late).

This is not a normal dialysis problem. It is accentuated by me continuing to take anti-rejection drugs that suppress my immune system. My non-functioning kidney transplant is still inside me. I am pushing for it to go, and hopefully it will be removed this side of Christmas.

So in the interim, how to deal with feeling only 5 out of 10.

Firstly, accept that you are not up to your usual day’s activities. Sometimes this is difficult. Knowing you usually get up at 6am to run the block or pump iron doesn’t mean you should. Listen to your body. Shout yourself a sleep in, then go straight to your shower, etc, dress for the day, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and when you are good and ready, start your day.

Second, keep an eye on your fluid intake. On easy days, since you don’t spend 30-60 minutes sweating before the day begins, you can’t gulp down fluids to replace the sweat. Try to stick to drinking about a litre through the day, so you don’t arrive at the BigD bloated and even less well. If I’m still thirsty after I’ve had my quota, I really like sucking ice blocks (though I can give them up any time!).

Thirdly, while you should watch your diet, don’t make your life an even greater misery. If you feel like it, give yourself a small treat through the day: have a cup of real expresso coffee and maybe even a small cream cake. Life below 5 out of 10 is miserable enough without living like a monk as well.

Fourthly, take extra care on the BigD. Unfortunately, you can’t call in sick. You may feel like crap, but you have to dialyse no matter what. Make sure you do everything right, it’s easy to let something slip if you are not concentrating: wash first, use plenty of antiseptic, measure your weight correctly, make sure the needles are placed just right, and that you get the full benefit of your run.

Fifth, remember that nothing lasts forever. Storms and miseries pass. Put your head down and keep going. Before you know it, you’ll be back to normal – 8 or 9 out 10 – not only healthy but fit enough to babysit your grandson!

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