As the ongoing beeping of the dialysis machine goes off. In which I must say is the relief to every dialysis patient. It’s the sound of freedom. The chains of the bloodlines are cut free. The three to four hours from sitting in the most uncomfortable, cold , hard chair known to man for so long, seemingly double that time’s eternity and infinity combined, is near its end. AW, has survived her first treatment of Hemodialysis. She was lucky today. Most renal( kidney) patients aren’t so lucky. In my experience as a Hemodialysis Technician , I have witnessed some good , and some not so good first treatments for renal patients to experience. For example, I can remember having a patient whose graft was clotted, a patient’s fistula infiltrated due to lack of maturity . I mean this fistula I cannulated one time , was so delicate, I felt like if I looked at it wrong it would blow. I had a patient with a left inter jugular placement that was so positional , I swear we had this patient posing in the chair like an art exhibit. Their head was turned to the side away from the television. They were freezing cold and blood pressure was low. And every time they took a deep breath , the machine would alarm. The blood pump would stop. Oh, and did I mention that the blood flow on the machine was at a max 250. In reality , that’s not good enough clearance for her blood to be cleaned during this treatment due to her only running a short period of time. Granted , running at a blood flow rate that low would require her to stay longer on the machine. Sort of like as if they were to dialyze overnight for about eight to ten hours. In some states some facilities have that option in which it is called nocturnal. Anyway , I hope you’re getting what I’m saying. AW, was blessed not to really experience that on her first day. It’s unfortunate how some patients have it harder than others. There are times I wish I had the power to heal them all. You know, like,restore their kidney function. This way they won’t have to come to dialysis anymore. Some would even argue,” If people wouldn’t need dialysis , then I wouldn’t have a job!”…….I’m guilty of even thinking that at one point earlier in my career until I realized that it’s much more grand and rewarding to have the ability to sustain life to an individual with the notion of giving them a second chance on life and to live. It’s the difference between living and just existing. From my perspective, I see some patient’s just sitting here in the clinic looking dazed. I would see some that are depressed. I would see some patients who come in mad at the world. I would see some patient’s attitudes change for the worse as soon as they came into the treatment floor. Like it was a death sentence on repeat. They say hell is repetitious. However, hell is what you go through , and heaven is what you make of it. A patient told me that years ago. I will never forget that.
“ Dwelyn, where are they taking Cadence?”…”Will she be okay?”…. As I’m putting on my PPE( Personal Protective Equipment) and documenting AW’s last vital signs along with my data from the machine which included her blood pressure, temperature, UF goal, blood clearance, arterial pressure, venous pressure, Kt/v( kinetic time over volume), and making sure I rinse her blood back as clear as I can. This is done due to the fact that all Hemodialysis patients who are having treatments three times a week, lose certain amounts of blood each time. This explains why their hemoglobin will decrease, they feel sort of weak, and possibility of becoming anemic….” AW, I think they are taking her to the hospital near the downtown area. That’s where she normally goes. I’m sure she will be okay . She seemed semi alert when they carried her out.”……AW replies,” That’s scary!” As she started to tear up….” This is too much!”.” I don’t know if I should come back here. What if that happens to me”…” AW, we here will try our best to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone.” …. I continue to say to her….” This is why we have to closely monitor our patients every second as much as we can. “…. As I gave AW a box of tissue once I disconnected her lines, she wiped her tears and said…” Well, Dwelyn I guess I survived this treatment and if I want to live and get better, I have to keep trucking along.”….” When they carried Cadence out of here, she looked at me as if she was speaking to me through her soul. It’s like I have seen that look before.“…” I can’t really explain it.”
I replied.” Hmmm, maybe it was a sign I guess!”….” AW, now it’s time for me to pull those needles and send you on your way!”….AW replies,” Dwelyn , I AM READY!!!!”””””…… I placed a glove over her right-hand, so I can explain to her that she has to hold one site at a time while applying slight pressure, so she can allow her arterial site to clot first, her eyes are huge without a blink. “ Ok AW , here’s the first one I’m going to pull. I’m going to slide this guard up near the wings of the needle , pull the needle out gently half way, then as I slide the guard closer to the wings and tip of the needle ( bevel) , take your pointer finger with this gauze folded, and I want you to press firmly.” ….AW replies,” Oohhhhh Boy!”, “ Man you might have to do this. Show me, so I can see!”…. As I chuckled,” No problem.”.” Here we go.”……….” Yeeeeeeoooowwwww!”
To Be Continued………