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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dialysis begins at Barnes Jewish

So, the day I had been dreading finally came. Plasmapheresis treatments were not working, only making me sicker, blood pressure was through the roof somewhere in the 200's over 140's, I was swollen with so much fluid I was approaching the 200lb mark, creatinine was rising, all of my labs were bad pointing in the dialysis direction, migraines were unbearable, vomiting was a constant, constipation was a constant, I was no longer urinating......so yea, it was time to start dialysis.

By this time in my Barnes Jewish stay, we are around week 2 so Susie had gone back to Blytheville and Chris went back to work. So my mom was there with me for the next week. The one good thing about this whole ordeal is that I was NEVER alone! God Bless my family.

So, dialysis treatment number 1. I was conscious and very aware of where I was going. The Barnes transporters came to my room to wheel me and my bed to the dialysis unit. I failed to mention earlier I had gotten so big and was so sick I could no longer walk. And my job by trade is an occupational therapist and no PT in that hospital could will me out of bed. Plus I was pissed that I am a THERAPIST and I help others......not the other way around. Pride is a powerful thing!
Anyway, I have a headache out of this world. We get to the dialysis unit and all I remember is beep, beep, beep, alarm, alarm, loud, bright, beep, beep, alarm, louder, brighter, and on and on and on and on for 4 hours. I never once opened my eyes. So I didn't actually "see" my first treatment only heard it. At some point the nurse gave me a really strong pain killer because a dialysis unit by nature is loud. The machines constantly beep and alarm and you are only one of about 20 others getting dialysis, so their machines are beeping and alarming too. It really was what I had imagined hell could be like only freezing cold. The nurses are running constantly checking on patients and machines, so they get hot. Meanwhile, dialysis patients are laying there with their blood being drained feeling like they are in a frozen hell. I did have a great nurse that night. I never looked at her because my eyes were shut but she had a strong northern accent and talked to my mom throughout the 4 hour treatment. I don't remember theie conversation though.
I can't at this point describe the actual dialysis machine because I haven't seen it yet, but I will describe that remarkable life supporting machinery in later posts.

4 hours later I was wheeled back to my room....still in my bed.....and it would all start over the next day.

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