Delayed treatments always a risk

SURVIVAL TIP: Plan to keep your fluid below goal every day in case you can’t get to treatment.

Snowy RoadMany of us in the United States were affected by storms that blew across the country during early January. I was lucky to be in a zone that got more rain than snow, but we still had icy streets. Others in our area got considerably more snow than we get most years. 

Adjusted schedules can prevent missed treatments
Either way, we were fortunate to have dialysis with schedules that took weather forecasts into consideration. Some ran late shifts early. Others began early shifts later. But most everyone was accommodated. Although these changes interfere with schedules, the change lets us dialyze and keeps us healthier than missing a day of treatment.

We all know from the weekends that one delayed treatment affects our health and how we feel. When a storm comes, we know we might have shorter treatments, or if the roads are hazardous, we might miss at least one treatment. Even if you feel capable of traveling into the unit, a taxi driver, ambulance driver, other patients, or staff might not feel safe. Then the question becomes whether we are safer to travel in inclement weather or to wait another day to dialyze.

Feeling better is worth the inconvenience
Having been on dialysis for a few years, I know making the decision to cancel or reschedule shifts can be difficult because the weather forecast is not always accurate. One year, I was really ugly about the short run time, and they permitted me to stay longer. My bad attitude got me though. I felt sick and had to come off early anyway. So be patient with the staff. They must deal with difficult people like me.

Did YOU KNOW that a liter weighs about the same as a kilogram? So every liter you drink (or consume as soup, gelatin or sauce) adds about a kilogram to your weight? The daily intake of 32 fluid ounces equals about 2 pounds.

Unanticipated interruptions can delay treatment
Wet FloorAn Alabama clinic ran three shifts¬†after a semi truck ran into the building! Those accidents don’t happen every day, but we never know when an unforeseen circumstance will occur.

Other times we might not anticipate a missed treatment because of heavy rains or problems with the clinic building or water. A few units that I know have delayed treatment because water had run onto the floor and had to be cleaned up.

Or you might be delayed in travel or have to go take care of family issues out of town and miss a treatment. When my mother died, my family was able to accommodate my schedule, but if she lived a long way from me, arrangements might not have been so easy with another clinic.

Some patients rely on rides from friends or family or public transportation. So sometimes they don’t get to treatments. These patients have no choice but to delay treatment, even if they can get in the next day.

Hazardous winter weather and hurricane season remind us to be prepared, but we have reasons every day to limit our intake just in case treatment is delayed or interrupted. Every dialysis patient must adapt to diet and liquid restrictions, so knowing how others succeed is helpful. Let us know your secrets in the comments below!

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 ask questions and be honest with others in the same situation. What are your experiences and challenges with dialysis?


If you would like Beth, the Dialysis Gal, to speak to your group, reach out via e-mail or the comments.


About dialysisgal

When I joined the 450,000 Americans on dialysis, I wondered what "normal" would be. Would people stare at my access and ask what was wrong? In this blog, I hope to save other patients and their families from the difficulties I have faced. I want to share my experiences, what I learned, had to ask and was shocked to find. I am not a medical professional, but I hope we can have a conversation to help you better understand what you or someone you love with chronic kidney disease (CKD) might expect while living with dialysis.
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