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There are many routes to go concerning dialysis and the one that is right for
you will be decided between you and your dialysis team. That will include you,
your nephrologist, a nurse educator, a nutritionist and a social services
person. At least all these folks should be included in the meetings.
Probably the most important individuals involved in this discussion will be
They will be instrumental in the type of dialysis that will be available for
you. Some patients families were willing to drive them to dialysis, but do not
show them a needle....we would have two patients then, one in the dialysis
chair and the other flat on the floor in a faint.
Some are willing and able to assist with the peritoneal type of dialysis where
you change out solutions at home.
Some, believe it or not are involved and willing to train to do machine
dialysis at home for their loved one. Yea, what a commitment. I was amazed at
one man's wife. Tiny little thing, about 55 years old and she learned how to
wheel that big machine around and all the tubes like a pro.
There is also the ability of your body to tolerate dialysis. Some folks take
to it like a duck to water. Except for it being an interruption to their life
three times a week and a "dry" (very little fluid) diet, they go fine. Some
folks' bodies just do not ever respond well and need to be treated at a
hospital based unit where the nurse to patient ratio is low and emergency
treatment is close at hand always.
There are dialysis units that are not hospital based in the community and most
dialysis patients who need trained nurses and technicians to perform the
dialysis go there.
As to complications, every type of dialysis has its' own quirks. Picking the
right dialysis for you and your family is the first step to minimizing those
problems. Some require more teaching and more a more complicated learning
curve. But, there is a whole team ready to assist in the teaching if you chose
to go for an at home treatment.
As for dust bunnies, don't worry, you will be taught everything you need to
know about keeping an area appropriate for at home treatments.
Dialysis is frightening and very difficult emotionally to handle, especially
at first. Use the teams of people there to help you. A person does not work in
a dialysis unit if they do not care about patients as individuals. We become
attached to you and your family and want to know how you are not only as a
dialysis patient but as a person and your daily life. I actually saw more of
my dialysis folks each week than my husband when I was there. So, utilize them
to help you deal with this new treatment.
Pam, mom to Sara
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