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Showing posts from June, 2013

The nights are closing in

The final step of my home dialysis journey (bleugh, journey...sounds like I'm on The X Factor) begins on the 22nd July when Nurse Carla will arrive with a sleeping bag and, presumably, some strong coffee, and sit on my sofa all night whilst I perform my first nocturnal session. It is the dialysis equivalent of hiring a wet nurse.

During a regular daytime session, nothing should go wrong unless I have lined the machine carelessly with one eye on Only Connect and consequently forgotten to connect/un-clamp/tighten something pivotal. Dermot should behave, stay quiet and not do any of his ghastly alarm-yelping. At night, however, the chances of rolling over onto the tubes and occluding the blood flow, or the needles falling out and slowly bleeding to death, are much higher, what with all the concurrent sleeping I'll be doing; when this happens Dermot senses DANGER and screams at me. Undoubtedly, my first session with Carla will be seamless; I know from experience that it is only w…

Card Bored

Nobody mentioned the cardboard.

What with all the excitement of starting home dialysis, and all the ominous warnings about machine spanner alarms "that will happen once in a blue moon" (and went off four times within the first month), nobody thought to tell me that within a matter of weeks I would have enough empty cardboard boxes to open my own Parcel Force franchise and that they would transform my front room into a Calcutter rubbish tip. With home dialysis, you see, first comes the plumbing, then comes the machine and once  you sort of know what you're doing and are desperate to get going, finally you get the stuff, and it all comes in fucking enormous cardboard boxes.

The stuff IN the boxes is crucial. There's packets of plastic tubing; dialysis filters; bicarbonate stacks; put-on packs; take-off packs; saline; needles; syringes; gauze...and every item plays it's part in the harmonious symphony that is a dialysis session. I tear through this shit: doing five…

The doctor will see you now

I saw my Consultant yesterday for the first time in...well, never. I have never seen my home dialysis Consultant. This is more to do with scheduling than dastardly NHS cut-backs or wanton neglect, although we can put it down to both if you feel like it. Shit, let's sue.

I have met Dr. C before, briefly, although I wouldn't imagine he remembers as it was over five years ago and he was standing at my bedside telling me my kidney had failed and I was fucked...he may have used different words. He probably tells a dozen people a day that their kidney is on the blink, so there's no reason for him to have committed our encounter to memory, but the thing about Consultants is that by default they are educated and successful; they are powerful, replete with knowledge, and frequently male, ergo they are Alpha, charismatic and whether I know them well or not, I usually fancy them a little bit.

Seeing my Consultant is a sport: it is a game of wit and verbal dexterity in which the Cons…

The happy returns

I don't know how this has happened but somehow my birthday has arrived. I am 27 tomorrow. Not a traditional milestone, granted, but I shall be celebrating more than just my twenty seven years on this earth when the clock strikes midnight.

The last twelve months have been momentous. I was not in a good place this time last year; my 26th was noting more than an untimely reminder that I was still tethered to the hospital and with no end in sight. A month later, having been silently sending up prayers for a new kidney, my phone rang; for a few hours it seemed like the moment for which I had been so steadfastly waiting for three and a half years might finally have arrived. It wasn't to be, but I left the hospital in the early hours of that Friday morning more optimistic than I had felt in months.

Hope is a strange phenomena: you rely on it most when you feel it the least. After the exhilaration of the Transplant That Never Was came the despair of finding out my chances of ever get…