Prepping for dialysis

Today was interesting – I had to have a follow up procedure done on my left arm. Back in April, I had my fistula set up (fusing a vein and artery together to create a “super flow” of blood rushing up my arm). Think of it as kinking a water hose – how it makes water rush through faster. Anyway this extra force is needed to push blood to the dialysis machine.

Anyway, re routing this blood creates the faster blood flow, which in turn widens the artery and thickens the artery wall over time. This is good for repeated needle sticks in dialysis. But sometimes the artery remains narrow here and there, slowing the blood flow a bit. So, they have to go in with a balloon and widen the artery out in the narrow spots. This creates a consistent wide flow of blood through the whole arm.  Anyway that’s what I had done this morning.

Talk about pain – wowser. They didn’t sedate me, I handled it ok but I really felt it lol. They gave me local aisthetic for the entry point, but with the guide wire and ballon inside me I could really feel that.  The wire didn’t hurt – it just felt like something bumping inside my arm here and there – but when he inflated the balloon to widen the artery in a few spots – holy crap – talk about pressure! Felt like my arm was gonna explode from the inside. I dealt with it though and got used to it. He’d keep it inflated for 30 seconds or so at a time then back it off. 

No fret though – because when I think of “balloon in artery” I instantly think “to clear blockage”… But I have no blockage… This was just to widen my artery  a bit more for extra fast consistent blood flow for dialysis.  It’s pretty routine and he does this with a lot of his patients. 

We did part of it today – he said it was a huge success. Next week I’m going back in to take care of another area that needs widened – then I’m all set.

I start my first dialysis session on Monday August 10.  I’ll do 3 days in a row of short 2 hour sessions. This will slowly get my body used to being cleansed. After that I’ll start my 3 times per week (4 hours each) routine. 

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