Firstly, many thanks to our intrepid BigD-ers, especially Carl, Cath, Henning, Debra and Adam for their needling stories, advice and suggestions.
This Briefing is a How To for putting in your own hemodialysis needles. It covers five parts: Theory, Practice and Visualization, to help you understand the mechanics of needling, Know Your Fistula, so that you know and understand the lay of your particular territory; and eventually, charged with the skill and insight you need, it will be time for The Real Thing.
More power to your arm!
See how it’s done
Adam is one of the few people in my unit who put their own sharp needles (there are quite a few buttonholers) and he generously agreed to let me video how he does it. As you will see, he has the smooth and well-practiced technique of someone who has been needling himself for many years. Also note that his fistula is sufficiently well developed for him to put the needles in at a much flatter angle than is possible in a younger fistula.
The final word should go to Henning from Denmark (check out Henning ‘s post: Dialyzing at Home Without a Partner on the Home Dialyzors website):
Hi Greg, I don’t think I have so much to add when it comes to the technical aspect of doing your own needles. But as a trained psychologist I have thought a little about the mental aspects and I truly believe that is where the most difficulties arise when people are considering doing it themselves. My best piece of advice may seem a little silly, but I do believe it is the best thing I can say to people when it comes to the mental side of cannulating:
Doing your own needles is like brushing your teeth; once you have learned it you will never have others do it for you again.
I am sure you can understand the comparison. Experiencing both sides of the treatment makes all the difference in the world.
All the best, Henning