There’s a big part of me that thinks I should be doing something worthwhile with the time I am held captive at the hospital for my dialysis. I have 11 hours and 15 minutes per week, every week, where I am forced to sit connected to a machine in order to live an almost normal life, and as much as I like the idea of using those long, boring minutes learning a language or reading the entire works of Shakespeare, the fact is that I just need to sleep. Not for the whole time I’m there, but just for a while.
Sleep seems to act as a kind of reset button for my body. If I don’t manage to shut my eyes at some point during treatment then I tend to feel pretty rough for the rest of the day afterwards. If I do sleep, however, then I usually feel fine once I’m finished – or as close to ‘fine’ as I or any other dialysis patient feels. Fatigue is a common side effect for haemodialysis patients, and the longer treatment goes on for then the worse the tiredness becomes. At the moment it’s OK, and being a father to two young boys, it’s nothing I’m not already accustomed to.
Saturday’s (May 5th) treatment was a sleepless affair. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t drop off, and I knew the effect it would have on the rest of my day. The fact that my right arm was housing two rather large needles and has to stay as still as possible didn’t help matters, but usually during dialysis my eyes will gradually get heavier, and the next thing I know, I’m waking up. But Saturday was different, and for the rest of the day I was playing catchup.
Further developments in a potential future transplant have arisen, with both disappointing and promising news. My brother, Justin, does not have a blood type that is compatible with mine, which unfortunately rules him out of donating. But on a more positive note, I have received confirmation from my brother-in-law that his blood group does match mine and he is very keen to press ahead with the process. It’s still very early days, but so far I haven’t been able to put him off, which is encouraging. I’ll keep you updated.
The longer I spend on dialysis, the more certain I am that transplantation is the way forward. I’ve made Hollie promise me than when I do have another transplant – whenever that may be – that she will always remind me of how rubbish and limiting it is being on dialysis. I’ve always tried to put a positive spin on everything in the past, but there is little to think positively about being a renal patient.
At least the weather is nice ..