Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kidney failure, dialysis and transplantation

I have seen some sites talking about renal dialysis, kidney failure and kidney transplants.  I wanted to go a bit more into the specifics of my experience.  They really were just at the beginning of the in home dialysis machines so that was nothing i experienced.  They did do a bit of Dual Dialyzer testing at my unit and it seemed to have some positives when used serially but that actually added to run time.  I was not part of the test but one of the people I knew was.  It seemed to be best for big folks , my friend on the study was a big black guy, not really heavy but very tall and muscular.

My wife was really terrified when she started researching dialysis and it is not as bad as they say.  Most of the number you are going to see are because people doing dialysis are older often very old.  Many others are diabetic for some reason it kills off the kidneys.  I have the same disease Gary Coleman had and like him had kidney failure early in life.  If you are also having kidney failure early in life you probably have a good prognosis.  I went to two units one was Fresenius  Dialysis and I try to forget the other one.  I saw a lot of people die in my eight month on dialysis but many were people late in life that had kidney failure due to other long standing medical problems. Dialysis for me was like walking hand in hand with Death and when I said can you help me out he says no.

Fistula turned to expose incision
One of the questions i have seen coming up is what is a dialysis fistula?  Please be careful searching this as there are obstetric fistulas which are not a pretty picture.  What we are talking about in hemodialysis is the AV fistula.  I have the ideal which is the non catheter brescia fistula, catheters can get infected so are not the best.  When you get one you are sort of at the mercy of your vascular surgeon as some like to do them at the wrist and other at the upper arm.  I have the lowers wrist version.  I will show you a couple of pictures.

Fistula shaved to show full scaring for dialysis treatments
The line on the bulging area directly above my thumb is the incision site. That is where the doctor actually merged the artery and vein.  There are a couple of other types of dialysis accesses but I only really saw my wrist fistula the upper arm style and direct in chest catheters.  The chest ones are actually sort of nice as there is no pain and you are not constantly having open wounds.  I am including a picture of my now healed tracks but while actually on dialysis i had two to three pairs of healing needle wounds at any time.

transplant pill box
Now that i am post kidney transplant i am doing a lot better.  I will let you know i am hugely fat and added 20% extra weight after the transplant due to the steroid medication.  I also need to take a mood enhancer to combat the roid rage that was apart of that.  Here is a picture of my pill box, yes its a small tool box and that is a pad lock.  I like it as its easy to keep everything together and no one will steal my medication.  It's not the kind that will get you high but more the kind you will have a lowered immune system and die of pneumonia instead.

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