Dialysis went well on Tuesday. I saw the nephrologist, and he wanted to take a look at my fistula. Now, the nephrologist comes by about once a week, and sees all thirty patients in about thirty minutes. I know that this doesn’t seem like long enough for him to actually say anything to you or actually do anything, but I think he must have taken lessons from Santa Claus. He delivers himself to all of the good little dialysis patients.
Sorry for the tangent. The doctor asked me if I was using a catheter in my chest because they had infiltrated my fistula and were waiting on it to heal. I had my fistula revision surgery on November 28 (which was five weeks and one day before Tuesday). I reminded the doctor that I had, in fact, had a fistula revision (at his request) in order to get a better dialysis treatment. He felt all over my arm, like a prospector looking for gold, and announced that I need to go ahead and start using my fistula again. So, even though the surgeon (who put in the fistula and did the revision) said that I should wait until January 19 to begin using the fistula, my nephrologist wants me to start up again on January 5 (which is today). I have warily accepted my fate. I think I would prefer to get the best possible dialysis treatment, but I have enjoyed not being stuck with harpoons three times a week.
So, I head to dialysis tonight, ready to have my arm stuck again. I shaved a ton of hair off of my arm, in preparation for the hair-removing tape that they seem to be fond of at the clinic. I am also considering asking the nephrologist (next week) if he can write me a prescription for the lidocaine cream that one of the other dialysis patients recommended. He said that all you have to do is to rub it on the needle sites before your treatment, and they will temporarily numb them so that the needles won’t hurt as much. He said that it is way cheaper than having the lidocaine shots, and it can’t hurt as much (since there are no needles involved). The guy that recommended them said that a one-month supply usually lasts him five or six months, so the cost shouldn’t be too bad.
I will still have to change into my button-down flannel shirt at dialysis for a while. They will still have to have access to my chest catheter to flush the lines and clean the site where the tubes go in. I imagine that if my fistula is working after a week or two, then they will probably have the catheter removed. Then, it will be back to enjoying showers the way everyone else does (ah, the good old days).
I am thankful that my dialysis does not treat me badly. There is a woman that sits near me at the clinic that has been having problem. I cannot tell if she is REALLY bad off, or if she just likes attention. She had some serious problems with her catheter last week, to the point where they were using her catheter and fistula both just to treat her. She was freezing cold most of her treatment, which seemed terrible. I’m just glad that I’m normally not that bad off during the treatment, though I started to cramp just a little bit on Tuesday. If I cramp badly, then it will be time to up my dry weight again.