Dialysis, viruses and bugs – an unhappy combo

Well, that was quite a break!  After six weeks, two hospitals and too many tests, I’m home, and it’s a great place to be.

The problem began with a particularly aggressive Flu caught while Julie and I were on mini-holiday in Surfers Paradise in Queensland.  The sunshine and beaches were excellent, but the local dialysis unit was full of sickies: staff and patients.  I knew I was in for it as soon as I arrived, and saw all the red faces, coughing and wheezing.  Like all BigD members with compromised immune systems, bugs of any description find me a welcoming host, and settled right in.

By the time I got home, I was really unwell with Julie, Chris and my doctor saying I should go to hospital.  I don’t like hospitals.  Non-BigD-ers don’t understand how stressful it is.  It’s not just being sick.  All of a sudden easy, regular dialysis where your routine keeps you feeling well becomes uncertain, irregular and lumpy.  You just don’t get dialysis when you need it (like when we have overpowering metallic halitosis from just living or from the contrast injected into us for a CT Scan, or the gradual flow of extra fluid settling in from the ankles up).

Sometime the kidney ward is full, so you go to bones or hearts or bums.  Joining a four bed ward where the other patients have bowel problems and I share the toilet makes me want to go home, no matter how sick I am.  And in non-kidney wards, staff don’t know kidney stuff:  like the need to get phosphate binders with meals, or how we manage fluid restrictions: I was once confined to bed and the nurse was told I was on fluid restrictions, so she gave me exactly nil.  After begging and cursing, she relented to let me wet my mouth by sucking on a sponge.  I will never forget how dry I was… never.

And hospitals give you as many bugs as they remove.  I could go on, but you get my drift.

Anyway, I had two visits to two different hospitals.  The Flu is a virus and doesn’t respond to antibiotics, but viruses can open the door to other kinds of bacteria that do respond to antibiotics.  So, after some hefty pre-emptive doses aimed at a range of possible bugs at each hospital, I have now recovered and am thankfully, back home.

The bug I had was by no means limited to me.  When I returned to my unit, I found the many of the staff and patients were also sick with a local variant.  But here it was treated with the respect it deserved. Sickies were separated from the healthy.  All staff wore extra anti infection gowns (a very fetching yellow) and full face shields.  If you saw the photos of the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) staff fighting Ebola in West Africa, you will get the picture.

Anyhow, thankfully, much of that drama has passed, as it usually does.

On with the show.

3 thoughts on “Dialysis, viruses and bugs – an unhappy combo

  1. Welcome back to home,big D routine you recognise and not being around sick people where there is no protection! It’s good to read the blog again 🙂 Educating dialysis units to the importance of bug control? I thought it would be a no brainer but ….

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  2. Welcome back! So sorry you went thru such an ordeal! You are right about hospitals…once went in for surgery that was suppose to make me feel better but not before getting an infection. Oh the joy of having a fever. Sort of like going on a trip without actually leaving. Your home-sweet-home now, soak it in and enjoy (and please get back to writing more!)

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