Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time for Dialysis

All I could remember about the trip from my hospital room to the dialysis unit was seeing all the ceiling lights go by and hearing random sounds of peoples' voices that filled the corridors I crossed.

Though the trip to the dialysis unit wasn't memorable, everything else that happened that day remains embedded in my mind. From my body shivering because the airconditioning in the unit made me feel cold, to the point where I was trying to sneak a peek to see what in the world were they inserting in me.

I could feel everything they were doing but couldn't see it as they covered it with those hospital sheets. The whole process wasn't painful at all, though a bit strange if not frightening at that point, not knowing what was happening.

At the end of about half an hour or so of slicing, tugging, inserting, the doctors presented me with some sort of plastic opening that looked like the plastic component of a beach ball where you blow air into in order to inflate it. They called it a catheter, and this one protruded from my lower abdomen.

For the next few days, the catheter would serve as the access by which the dialysis machine would take the place of my kidneys.

Being where it was situated, the catheter was a bit annoying. Though, later on, I realized that doctors had probably done me a favor by placing it where they did. In many other hospitals, I had noticed that the catheter was placed in the neck area.

Being a young then, I'm sure that the presence of a tube sticking out of my neck would've helped my self-esteem any.

They called it an “I.C.”, apparently it stood for intravenous catheter, which was what the plastic-like thing inserted into my abdomen called.

Here are a few things I was reminded of regarding my catheter.

1. Be careful of infection. The catheter is a direct opening to our blood circulation system, and like any opening there is risk of infection.

2. Keep it well covered. At times, the taping over the catheter may come lose, make sure to have it retaped properly in order to keep germ and bacteria out.

3. Don't tug on it, pull it or have it hit hard. In short be careful with it. You don't want to dislodge the cathether or move it from where it is connected. Doing so may cause a number of problems like bleeding and bruising. And being located in where it is, connected to large veins, complications may arise from little issues.

image: davita.com

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