Dialysis and Taking Notice

The New Look

I’ve been fiddling around with my blog design.  Until last week it had been the same format since 2009.  The new look is called Little Story and has a people-sized, community feel about it that seems just right for the BigD club.  We are all part of the same community, working through some fairly common ups and downs.

Gary commented that the font was too light, and he was right. So after a fairly steep learning curve, I changed it to black, and I am much happier with it.  Actually I am still fiddling with all the colours.  The trouble is they look different on different screens, so after chasing my tail for a while, I’ve decided that if it looks OK on an iPad, then that will do.  Either way, I’ve had a great time!

I hope you like it.  Any comments most welcome.

Taking Notice

Its winter here in Melbourne, and all the BigD-ers have put on their winter fur – or at least their cords and sweaters.  Corduroy and woolly jumpers are lovely and warm on a cold wet day, or while you spend hours sitting, at a computer or plugged in to the machine.

The trouble is, extra clothing tends to show when you step on the scale.  And if you aren’t careful, you can be fooled into thinking you have suddenly gained extra fluid that you can’t remember enjoying.  I think my winter weight goes up about a kilo (a couple of pounds).If I don’t make an allowance for it, I usually end up taking too much off, my blood pressure drops to around 100/70 and I need to take things easy until I have topped up again.

In spite of dialysing for years and knowing about the winter switcheroo, I still get caught.  This year it took me about a week to adjust.  I’m back to normal now, on and off the machine (now, if I can just remember the summer switcheroo!).

Another example: a month ago, my blood pressure was low and my pulse was up, even before I started dialysis.  But my weight said that I needed to lose 1.5 kg.  (I use my blood pressure as an indicator of how much fluid I have on board: if it’s 130/85 or there abouts, then my weight is about right.) Extra weight and low BP said something had gone wrong.  In this case, it was that I had gone into AF (Atrial Fibrillation): my pulse had become erratic, so my heart was not beating strongly, so my BP was low in spite of the extra fluid.  This happens now and then.

Other AF indicators I have noticed are that my pulse goes up to 70+ BPM and I get tired easily. I’m back in the regular beat now, thanks to the Amiodarone my heart doctor prescribed.

Of course, I’m not the only one.  Peter, who I have mentioned before, is having real trouble with his weight.  He swears black and blue he has drunk little, but come in 3-4 kilos overweight.  After dialysis his voice becomes a little higher and raspy, and his BP is so low he has to go home and rest in bed for a few hours before getting on with his day.  This has gone on for a couple of weeks and he is starting to wonder if this is the new normal.  But actually it is because he has become healthier.   He has been exercising and has put on weight.  Having now discussed it with his dialysis nurse, she will gradually put up his base weight until these symptoms disappear.

This constant change just reinforces the fact that we really need to notice how we feel after each session.  Most of the time, all is well and we just get up and go.  But sometimes we don’t feel right, and we have to think about why that is.

For us BigD-ers, every day is different, with new surprises, good and bad.  For those new to the BigD, it takes a while, firstly to recognise symptoms and then to know what to do about them.  But no one knows your body like you do, and noticing how it feels big part of staying healthy.

6 thoughts on “Dialysis and Taking Notice

  1. Dear Greg, I have been on D for the past two months. I am a socio-political blogger from Malaysia. Your blog is such a help to us newbie. i intend to open up a blog as a support group. I will seek inspiration from your blog. You are already on my blogroll. Cheers, Bernard.

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  2. I always wear similar clothing when weighing myself before dialysis, jeans, sneakers, short sleeve shirt. Now that winter is here, I also wear a tee shirt as well, but allow for the 200grams that it weighs. During summer, I spent a short while weighing myself with different types of clothes so that I know the difference and make allowance for this.

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  3. Dialysis unit is often cold, so have learned to wear layers. Take off as many of the layers as possible before I weigh in.

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  4. Hi Greg, thank you so much for this site. The range of information and the generous sharing of your personal experience has been tremendously valuable in my first seven months as a ‘club member’.

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