My week thus far…

Friday I received a call from my new Nephrologist. He had spoken to my Transplant team and it was decided that dialysis was needed immediately, despite the fact that the fistula I had recently had installed was not mature yet. He had made arrangements for me to report to a local hospital on Monday morning at 10 to have a temporary “port” installed. It was also scheduled that I would have my first dialysis treatment the next day. They clearly weren’t playing around.

I spent the weekend in a bit of a funk. Despite knowing that dialysis was inevitable, I still dreaded it. Despite all accounts that it would make me feel better, I had this horrible picture in my head of what it would be like. I was also dreading the surgery.

I reported at 9:45 to registration and was immediately led by the charming and matronly Alicia to the surgical prep area. I dutifully removed my clothes and signed all of the paperwork that I commonly refer to as the “I will not sue your ass if you fuck me up on the table” forms. Alicia was great, very comforting as she explained the process to me. It sounded rather unpleasant but hell, I would be knocked out, right?
“So, who is driving you home?” Alicia asked me.
“Ummmm….I am.”
“Oh dear.” Alicia replied.
“Oh dear, what?” I asked incredulously.
“If you drive yourself home after anesthesia you will be driving under the influence of a narcotic. Your surgery will have to be done with a local only.”
“When I talked to Doc on Friday he gave me the choice of driving myself or getting a ride. Not to be a bother I didn’t ask my mother. The info you just gave me would have been helpful.”
“Sorry, hun.”

I was wheeled into the Surgical room. I was injected with a local and a numbing agent. A tent was put over my face and I was told to lean my head as far to the left as possible. I was then told to relax. Yeah, right. My surgeon then, with the assistance of a radiologist, snaked a tube through my neck, into a major vein stemming from my heart and then pulled it back out my chest. A tube was then attached to my chest. It’s there until my fistula is ready. I felt everything. I can only describe it as having a giant fish hook inserted into my neck and pulled through my chest. My head was screaming, my neck was killing me and the entry point at my neck was excruciating.

Then I was told that it was all over.

“Good job.” I said to the surgeon.
“I should say the same to you.” She replied. “I’ve never done this surgery without full anasthesia. You did great. I’d want to be knocked out until Christmas to do what you just did.”
“Thanks. But remember that there is a fine difference between brave and stupid.”

I was sent home with no painkillers but Tylenol. I was up all night in excruciating pain.

The next morning I arrived at Dialysis. When I pulled into the parking lot part of me wanted to put it in reverse and explore other options. Then I went in anyways.

A sign at the door said ring bell for assistance. As soon as I did a tiny nurse wrapped in scrubs and a mask opened the door and greeted me by name. She was expecting me. To break the ice I said “Hi, I’m here for my oil and filter change.” My tiny nurse laughed.

I went inside. My first reaction was that everyone looked so sick. Yes, I know that I am sick but I really don’t look it. That’s no accident. The patients in this room were fragile, thin, asleep. Not one person was anywhere close to my age. The gentleman next to me looked just like my father…a month before he died.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad. I have painted a terrible picture of dialysis when in fact I did feel a little better when I left. In a 2 1/2 hour session I lost 3 lbs of fluid. That’s a good thing. I’m easily carrying 20 lbs of fluid that is doing nothing but putting a strain on my heart. The only thing I don’t like is I’ve never sat in a chair for 4 hours before. By Saturday I will be up to 4 hour sessions. But I’ll manage. I had a TV, headphones. a blanket and a fucking great book written by a fellow blogger that I am almost done with.

I can do this.

Now if I can only get used to this turkey baster sticking out of my shirt and the constant bleeding at the surgical site I will be just fine.

Everyone has been treating me like I’m going somewhere. Allow me to take this opportunity to tell you that I’m not. I still have a lot of shit to do.

28 thoughts on “My week thus far…”

  1. Thanks for the update, Billy! You are an amazing dude and you have my undying admiration.

    You have a lot of people pulling for you. You are a hero to so many of us. I think you know that.

    But that you can go through what you’re going through with an outstanding sense of humor … well … my hat’s off to you, Brother.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Those are definitely words to live by! I try not to let the normal little annoyances and pitfalls of life get me down, but I think it human nature to complain about anything and everything. I try not to … but it is difficult sometimes.


  2. When I was getting the monthly plasma transfers and chemo infusion I was routinely sitting for five to six hours in that chair. Fortunately I don’t have a hard time napping, and the trusty I Pad Was always nearby, but those were long, boring days. Fortunately, I only have to do that twice a year now instead of monthly.

    A fish hook huh? Would have been nice if they explained things to you

    Liked by 3 people

  3. First the joke: what no lube?

    Now…you are made of stronger stuff than most anyone I know. That bodes well, and I am blown away by your ability to bring it here for us. The way you kept your humor. Amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I don’t believe a word of this; how did she pierce your invulnerable skin? 😉

    Bill, I really appreciate you keeping us updated on this. As someone here said, it is your humor, your strength, your personality, and your will that keeps you going. You ain’t going anywhere; you’re here for the long haul. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I worked in a dialysis center for a few years while going to Uni. It made me so aware of the fragility of life. The ones that did the best, that had the least amount of long term issues where those who were able to joke around about themselves and their medical situation. Nurses LOVE to hear a joker…they know he has a MUCH better chance of good health in his future than one who bumms themselves out or complains. Good for you!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I’m glad it made you feel a little better–hopefully you’ll get used to it all quickly. My brother-in-law had to have dialysis and eventually was able to do home dialysis, so maybe that might be an option for you down the road?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You are going somewhere Billy!… You have lots of adventures still to have and stories to tell. I’m glad you had your oil and filter changed, and that you are feeling a little better. I know that it’s not very comforting to hear, but remember when you are down and thinking “why me”, the answer is simple… Because you can handle it. You are very strong, don’t ever forget that, or lose your sense of humor. Hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

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