Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Shh...Things Are Going Pretty Well. Keep It Under Your Hat.
Rick getting ready to hook up to the cycler
Summer finally arrived in the Northwest a few weeks ago, bringing with it a lightening of attitude with the lightening of the skies, at least around here.
Rick has made the successful change over to peritoneal dialysis, and is even using the overnight cycler machine, which for months seemed like the unattainable holy grail of dialysis. We didn't think it was ever going to happen for a while there, and now it is happening.
So far he is not experiencing the edema he had the last time he was on PD, which is good. He's still a "high transporter" - absorbing the dialysate across the peritoneal membrane into his body instead of the dialysate absorbing toxins across the membrane and then carrying them out of his body. That happens, it's working, but there is a problem with his one manual exchange a day not draining enough when he goes to bed at night.
Soooo...today he goes in to start training with a new dialysate fluid which is resistant to being absorbed by the body. This may mean he won't have to do any exchanges during the day at all.
And that may mean that he can finally, at last, TA DA, try going back to work!
But we won't know for a while. Making a success of peritoneal dialysis seems to require a process of tinkering and tweaking, to get all the procedures, supplies, and machines working as well as possible. It takes time.
Hooking up to the machine at night is a lengthy process which Rick follows step-by-step each night. I stay out of his way so as not to break his concentration. This machine is keeping him alive, and it must be difficult to plug himself in to it, do the protocol for getting started, and then lie down and go to sleep, trusting that the machine will do its job over night and he will wake up in the morning dialyzed and ready to go.
There are hiccups. A couple of nights he forgot to remove the plug from the end of the drain that empties into the bath tub, causing a blow back spray that ended up on the bathroom floor. Our grand daughter noticed one night, and our younger son noticed the next. I can see how this detail could get lost in the process, and once Rick is hooked up to the machine he ain't going nowhere for nine hours when all its cycles are completed, so if that plug isn't removed by then, someone else will have to do it.
Rick's being attached to the machine has led to a little yelling: "OH MARY! OH MARY! Would you do me a favor? Would you...?" whatever it is. Which I am happy to fetch, fix, add, take away, or whatever is required. One night he called my cell phone from his cell phone, which is one way to get a person's attention from 25 feet away without raising your voice.
Once he's on the machine, he has to stay on for nine hours. This is longer than he is accustomed to being in bed and can be tedious for him, but he's working on it.
PD seems to be working, and once he is free from the mid-day manual exchanges, he's going to try to go back to work in some capacity. We've talked about it. He feels like he has to try it. He's not ready to give up and say he can't do it without even trying. I understand this now. It has taken a while for me to "get it," how important work is to him, to most men. Part of the motivation is that we need MORE money, which is always true, no matter how much we have, so I'm not too worried about that. If it works out and he can do it, work part time for the water system, well, hotcha, that will be lovely for him, but his kidneys will come first at all times. They don't call it "end stage renal disease" for nothing.
So we have come through a rather rough patch of feeling PD wasn't going to work, being sued, and my having surgery, and things are finally starting to calm down a little. Knock wood.