Tips for new (and old) dialysis patients…

A collection of things I have noticed from my years as a dialysis tech.

  • When you first start at a outpatient clinic get a ride to and from dialysis for the first few weeks, so you can stabalize and see if driving is an option. 
  • Until you know what your body does on dialysis don’t bring a big meal, some crackers or a small snack should be okay.  Big meals can cause big problems while on treatment, all the blood rushes to your gut to help digest food, which could lead to nausea, dizziness and a crash in blood pressure.  So ease into the big meals to see if you can handle it.
  • Come in at least 20 minutes before your scheduled “on-time”, the staff appreciate it and it’s not as rushed as when you come in late.  You can schedule many impromptu things in those twenty minutes, a private talk with the RN, social worker or dietician.
  • Know and remember the seven signs of grief.  Consider this a loss, a big loss.  Treat it as one and mourn, there is nothing wrong with doing that, it is expected and healthy.
  • Remember that more in likely this will be a long term condition, at least a few years before a transplant can become available.  Make choices that will help you in the long run.
  • Family members have to grieve too, anger may be a big one.  As things start stabalizing for you remember that there are times you won’t be able to do what you used to do, so take your time, take time to rest, stress to them how tired it makes you.
  • Use our resources.  Money can be tight with all the meds and the lack of work some dialysis patients experience.  So USE our resources, we have them.  In our community we have a Kidney Crisis fund that is run by dialysis staff and patients.  We give an allotted amount to every dialysis patient in our county based upon need.  Water heater breaks in the middle of winter, who do you call?  KCF!!!  It’s all voluntary and we get our money from fund-raising.  So use us.
  • Communicate with the Nurses and techs at the clinic.  If you fall, bleed after dialysis, have dizziness or cramps at home, let us know.  We can help you!
  • Take your binders.  I can not stress this enough, take them!!!
  • Frustrated by those Doctor drive-bys while in the chair, call their offices and request an appointment.  Your insurance is paying for it in full every month, Doctor’s have to see you every month.  Get your monies worth!
  • I am a firm believer in Home Dialysis, whether it be Hemo or PD, it doesn’t really matter to me, find what’s best for you.  Talk to the nurses and techs, even if your dialysis center doesn’t have a home dialysis program you can usually find one in your area.
  • Travel.  Yes you can travel.  Many dialysis patients are scared to travel.  They don’t want to visit other clinics, don’t want other people sticking them, but yet miss going on a cruise or just enjoying a few days away from home.  Social workers can plan for vacations, always ask you never know what you will get.

~ by Kim on July 12, 2008.

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