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). (more…)

Dialysis and the Best Laid Plans

Firstly I want to mention a comment from Simon on the Dialysis, Fistulas and Fatal Haemorrhages post.  Read his comment, it is both dramatic and worthwhile.

But also it underlines the increased level of infection risk when you are starting to buttonhole. Why? Because it’s new to everyone, but especially to you. I think a key buttonhole training element should be a practical session on washing your fistula before use.  Before I used the technique, I know I had become a little careless about the BigD pre-wash.  Luckily the nurse training me watched my preparation and for a week or so, would not start until I had washed my fistula to her satisfaction.   (more…)

Dialysis and a week in the kidney ward

I know that all of this will be drearily familiar to many members of the BigD club.  As usual, the trip in hospital switches from boring to unpleasant, to satisfying, to tedious and back again, but the outcome is good.

I started to feel quite unwell last Thursday.  My heart had switched back into Atrial Fibrillation and blood tests at BigD showed raised infection markers.  My nephrologist ordered more tests and blood cultures.  Unfortunately the culture showed some kind of Staph, so he told me to go to the Emergency Department at the Austin, my usual kidney hospital, and he would arrange for me to be booked in.  (more…)

Dialysis, summer, cool drinks and my wedding ring

Its hot today: 32 °C (90 °F), which is normal, because summer started here just over a week ago.  Melbourne has a temperate climate, mostly a comfy 22° (68°F), with the occasional dip and blip as the seasons dictate.  Until yesterday we had delightful spring temperatures of 17°C to 22°C (63°F to 68°F); so it has been a big and a quick change.  But no problem!  I will be acclimatised within a couple of weeks and this will be the new norm.

Things were different before I went onto the BigD. I would have begun complaining about now that it was too hot, and not stopped until autumn arrived with some blessed low temperatures. (more…)

Dialysis: surviving the long break

Some days if really look forward to the BigD.  Usually after a long break (for me, from 0645 Saturday morning until 0645 Monday morning).  By the time Monday morning comes around, I am very ready to get those needles in.

The build up is slow and sometimes subtle.  Immediately after the Saturday BigD I am at my dry weight, and I must limit myself to around 1.5 to 2 kg until Monday. (more…)

What is the big deal about Dry Weight in Dialysis?

My friend Max often says to me, “You should write about dry weight. It’s a great way to track your dialysis and your health.” I used to think that it was a bit more complex than that, but over the last month or so I have come around.

Dry weight is the weight you should be if you had normal kidneys and you just had your morning pee. So in dialysis, it’s the weight you aim to be just after you come off the machine. (more…)

How much fluid do you take off during Dialysis?

This is simple question that carries a truckload of baggage.

The question is really: How much fluid do you need to take off during dialysis? I try to arrange things so that I don’t need to take off more than about 2.5 – 2.6 litres in 3 hours (or about 0.8 Litres an hour). That’s about the limit my body can take without acting up later (making me feel weak or nauseous while my body redistributes the fluid evenly). (more…)