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The daily rigours of being a dialysis patient

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Dialysis is a process for removing excess water and waste from the blood. It is used as an artificial replacement for people with little to no kidney function. This process requires being attached to a machine for hours at a time, multiple times a week. Without this treatment, a person cannot live.

I am a Home hemodialysis patient, which means that I do hemodialysis in my home instead of at the hospital.

Right now, I am writing this from the Home hemodialysis unit at Seven Oaks Hospital. I am hooked to a dialysis machine and getting a four-hour treatment done here instead of ‘dializing’ at home.

In order to do dialysis treatments you have to have a way to access the blood to "clean" it. This is done by having a skinny plastic long tube inserted in to your neck area, in to the vein that leads directly your heart. This is called a central line/catheter and it is the ‘access site’ for dialysis. This process is one of the many horrors of needing dialysis.

On Friday night, just after I hooked up to my machine, there was a problem. I unhooked as fast as I could and headed to the hospital.

The problem turned out to be that my central line had started to come apart. I needed a new central line put in and would have to wait until the next morning to have the procedure.
I was nervous. It is an invasive and scary procedure.

The procedure took over an hour.  My old catheter had to be taken out and a new one slid in to the vein. I was awake for the whole thing. They use freezing so it was a couple of needle pokes, pressure and tugging, stitches and a lot of bandages. I was so relieved when it was all done.

That night, I needed to do treatment, which is a little scary with new lines. Will they work? Will there be pain? Fortunately, they did work for just over three hours anyway. Then they started giving me problems. I was tired, hot and now not feeling well. It was definitely time to end my treatment.

So that is why I am here at the unit, dializing where I could be helped if I had any more problems. Everything is going well. Just another day of being on dialysis.

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