I’ve had a really good couple of weeks, dialysis-wise. I think I must be settling down with the treatment now, at last. My body seems to be getting used to the four-hour ordeal of blood cleansing that I put it through three times a week. Without doubt the worst part of the haemodialysis is the feeling of being wiped out for the few hours after, and fortunately for the past few sessions that feeling has been minimal. It makes such a huge difference to my life away from the hospital when I can spend the rest of the day following dialysis at work feeling OK or at home playing with the boys and not having to sit quietly while I try and shift the after effects. It’s like I can completely forget that the whole thing exists – apart from the never-ending calculations about how much fluid I’ve taken on and how much I’m going to allow myself for the rest of the day. But that’s not so bad, I’ve learnt that thirst is mostly just a state of mind.
Since my last blog there have been some developments in both of my goals for ending hospital dialysis – home treatment and transplantation – with cause for optimism. I had a brief discussion at the Jack Pryor Unit with the nurse who oversees all the home-dialysis patients, and she told me that I am a good candidate to have a machine installed at home. Good access for dialysis is imperative, and as my fistula is in great shape I’ve ticked that box already. Somebody to keep an eye on me while I’m dialysing is important too, just incase I start flaking out while I’m on there, and fortunately I have a lovely wife to do that for me. Tick. Space at home is also taken into account, not just the space the machine will take up, but room to store all of the accompanying bits and pieces needed to dialyse myself; needles, tubing, acid, medications etc – it all needs to go somewhere. I have an idea of which room I’d ideally like to use for the home haemodialysis, but when we have a visit for the house to be assessed, that might change. There is some significant plumbing work that will need to be carried out on the house before things get set up, and although we won’t have to pay for it, it’s still going to be quite an upheaval. Lots of things to consider but the benefits of dialysing more often at home greatly outweigh the drawbacks.
I have a meeting with the Transplant Co-Ordinator on Wednesday 23rd May, along with Alex, my brother-in-law who I have previously mentioned is keen to donate a kidney. I think it’s going to be an informal chat about what kind of tests they’ll need to undertake to test our compatibility and the process of donating an organ, but the scheduling of the meeting alone is a great start. Although I’m starting to feel fine after treatment at the moment, I can’t help thinking about how much I’m going to enjoy not having dialysis again. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but when the day finally comes that I don’t have to dialyse anymore, I’ve promised myself, and my family, not to take anything for granted.