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Treats during dialysis

Posted Jun 11 2013 9:05pm
(Please do not try what is mentioned below without checking with your nephrologist first!) 

Most of us on dialysis have some fairly stringent diet and fluid restrictions imposed on us. When I was put on dialysis in July 1997, I was told by my nephrologist that I could indulge, just a little bit, during the first half an hour of dialysis. For example, he allowed me to drink 100 ml of my favorite drink during that first half an hour.

I was at Medwin Hospital at that time. I would have 100 ml of Fanta sometimes, 100 ml of mixed fruit juice sometimes. It was a great treat. I would take in sip by sip swish in my mouth for a few seconds and then take it in. The logic was that since I was on dialysis, the excess fluid and whatever toxins I was ingesting would be cleaned up by the machine. This is applicable of course, only if you are on thrice weekly, four hours each time dialysis and are strictly following your diet and fluid restrictions. If you come in with a 5 kg fluid weight gain, then, obviously you cannot drink some more fluid during dialysis since 5 kg itself is too much fluid to remove in 4 hours!

But, let us say, if you are a compliant patient and come in with weight gains of 1 kg or 2 kg, then you can afford to add another 100 ml of fluid and it can easily be pulled off. The nurse or technician starting your treatment must be told about this so that the 100 ml can be added to the Ultrafiltration goal.

When I was in Kamineni Hospital, I would have a plate of Idli with coconut chutney as well! Coconut is high in Potassium so it is generally forbidden for those on dialysis. Since I was compliant most of the time, I could afford to indulge in Idli with a little coconut chutney during the first half an hour of dialysis! I also would have a small bowl of watermelon.

My watermelon bowl became so famous that on one occasion, when Dr. J. C. M. Shastry, the Chief Nephrologist there saw the bowl of watermelon in the hand of a relative of mine while bringing it in, he exclaimed, "Oh! Kamal came today for dialysis?!"

For us on dialysis, the diet and fluid restrictions sometimes become a mental obsession. We start craving for things we are not allowed to have. I find that totally cutting off anything would make things even worse. We might even become depressed thinking about those things. If we are allowed to have even a small quantity of these things during the first half an hour of dialysis, our craving is satiated and the entire mental factor is neutralized.

Nephrologists and dietitians must realize that patients are only human after all. Yes, you may think we are super-humans dealing with such a horrible disease! But don't over-estimate our will power. :-) Allow us such liberties. These are not going to harm us. These will help us by reducing our desperate cravings and make us more cheerful and that can't be bad!


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