Getting ready for dialysis

Tomorrow we have the appointment with the surgeon who is going to put in the dialysis catheter. We’re not really sure what to expect, but Laura is pretty nervous about it. My guess is that they will schedule the surgery soon.

A couple of weeks ago, our nephrologist, Dr. O,  started weening Laura off some medications. Dr. O said this needed to be done to get Laura ready for dialysis. Laura is completely off of the cyclosporine now and is only taking half the dose of Myfortic that she was on. In another week, she will be completely off of it too. Unfortunately, this is also going to make her kidneys fail faster and we can already see that starting to happen.

On Sunday, Laura woke up with swollen feet and it hasn’t gotten better all week despite taking 100mg of torsemide. If you or I would take this much torsemide, we’d be peeing like a horse all day long, but it barely has any effect on her. She’s also been getting more tired and fatigued more often. Dr. O had told us that this is would be one of the first symptoms of needing dialysis. Further symptoms include loss of appetite and nausea, but luckily she hasn’t experienced those yet.

As I’ve said before, we’ve decided to do peritoneal dialysis, which is dialysis through a tube in her abdomen instead of the more common hemo-dialysis; which is where blood is taken out, cleaned through a machine, and pumped back in. For us, this seems to be the lesser of all evils. Instead of taking 3-4 hours three times a week to go to a dialysis center, it should allow her to continue doing most of her daily routines. I’m sure we’ll still need to make some adjustments to accommodate this new lifestyle.

We’ve read that people generally feel a lot better once they start dialysis and that this is a good thing. However, we’ve got mixed feelings about it. Sure, you can tell us that it will help with the symptoms and that she will feel better, but that also means that we have to face the fact that her kidneys can no longer keep up on their own. I guess we just have to try to think of the glass as half full right?

Please wish us luck. I’ll try to post an update tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “Getting ready for dialysis”

  1. The doctor said Laura is a good candidate for peritoneal dialysis (PD). My workplace is changing insurance companies on July 1st so he told us that they would get the surgery scheduled before that so we don’t have to worry about dealing with the new insurance (at least for this one). He said that it takes about 3-4 weeks for the wound to heal and as soon as it does then they can begin using it for dialysis.

    During that 3-4 week time frame, they are going to assign a PD nurse to us so she can teach us everything there is to know about PD and how to care for the wound. The doctor also said that there is a machine that Laura has to hook up to every night that infuses the solution into the catheter and then drains it. He is just the surgeon so couldn’t really answer the questions about how to use it or costs or anything.

    He said we should get a call tomorrow from his staff with a surgery date.

  2. Well, Dr. O cancelled everything yesterday. She called Laura and told her that she didn’t want to start her on dialysis yet. Dr. O said that she just wanted to get the surgeons opinion to see if Laura was a good candidate for PD.

    So I guess we’re playing the waiting game again.

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