This is the monster bandage I have to wear for 2-4 hours after each dialysis treatment. The needles leave a decent sized puncture so it’s important to wear a pressurized bandage of sorts to keep a little pressure on the punctures while they clot up and heal. Since they give me anti-clotting fluid before each treatment, it’s still in me for awhile afterward so it’s best to keep a tight bandage on it for awhile.
Since my treatments are from 4-9pm typically, I have a pretty late dinner on those nights. Granted, I do bring a few healthy snacks to munch on during treatment (protein bar, peanut butter, celery, fruit).. By the time it’s over I’m very ready for dinner. I’m supposed to eat a lot of protien each day so I usually make a beeline to a restaurant to chow down after 9pm.
Since it’s still Summer I wear short sleeve shirts – so when I’m out at a restaurant my giant bandage is in full view. I’m usually eating alone so I don’t really have to explain it too much – however it’s very noticeable to servers or a random person you sit by at a bar.
The first few weeks I was very weary of having it in sight – I didn’t know if people would be comfortable hearing what the bandage is for if they asked… But I know it’s human nature to ask “what happened to you?” when you see a big bandage like that – as it looks like it could be a hefty laceration from an unknowing eye.
So, I’d try to eat and drink with my right hand only, keeping my left arm to my side or lap. It’s not a big deal to me, I don’t mind if people know what it’s from. However there’s always that shock factor when you tell someone “oh I just got out of dialysis treatment – I have bad kidneys”. Then come the obligatory “I’m sorrys” and uncomfortable sympathies from the asking person. I have no problem with that – I do appreciate the well wishes – but I was just afraid it would become a regular thing after awhile, so I just tried to keep it under wraps as best I could while eating.
Well tonight I popped into Bourbon St Distillery, an outstanding Cajun/BBQ place downtown. I sat at the bar and wasn’t really thinking about my bandage – when the bartender asked me if I was in an accident 🙂 ahhh.. I forgot to hide my arm. No big deal, I just told her I just left dialysis – I got the expected look of shock and sympathy, the I’m sorry for asking, etc.. I told her it’s not a big deal and I’ll be a transplant recipient at some point and that the treatments make me feel 100% normal – and it’s a good thing. That made her feel better.
There was a guy next to me who overheard the convo – he chimed in saying he knew someone with kidney disease and admitted that he had no idea how vital a role your kidneys play in your body until his friend got sick. He said meeting people with that condition are very eye opening.
Anyway it was a short conversation with both of them, but pleasant and actually kind of liberating – it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be. So from here on out I won’t be so hesitant to keep my bandage in view. Granted I won’t be flaunting it around by any means, but I don’t think I have to spend too much energy on hiding it anymore when I’m out somewhere right after a treatment.