Hospitals are pretty accepting of patients carrying mobile phones. At some point in the hospital stays, I made a pact with my friends and family to send out daily texts with updates, even if it said only “More tests. Results in 2-3 days. Resting.” That way I could respond on my own time and turn off the notifications. People could call, but they also could rely on texts to let me know they were concerned and praying without disturbing me like the old hospital phones did. (Do you remember that gosh-awful ring that the deaf people could have heard?)
In the next few days, I had a catheter placed looped inside my left shoulder blade that lead directly to my heart. The catheter imposed limitations for about four months.Because you can’t get the incision and bandage wet, showers are not permitted. Of course, swimming and perspiring also are to be avoided.
Dialysis began the day after the catheter placement, although the incision was fresh and tender. Beginning with two-to-three hour treatments, I was attached to a machine in a hospital dialysis unit with several other patients and beeping alarms. The high pitched frenetic beeps all sounded the same to me, but each distinct pattern meant that someone’s session had ended, that their blood pressure was high–or low, or that tests of the machine were complete. Sleep was a welcome solace during that first dialysis treatment while l recovered from the nausea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and bloating of the preceding three weeks. Over the next few days in the hospital, my blood pressure fell to a more normal range, and my vision was no longer blurry from the hypertension.
If you or someone you care about is facing dialysis, share your experiences and concerns. This is a forum for learning and inspiration where we can share stories and questions. What were your experiences and challenges with dialysis?