85 days and counting.
Tomorrow I will be 23 weeks along. Theoretically I will have 17 more weeks to be full-term. That means 85 more days of dialysis before the baby's due date. Since I've only done this for 25 days, I guess that means I still have a ways to go. But, realistically I will deliver before that.
Starting next week I will be on a monitor every dialysis day. A neonatal nurse will sit with me for all four hours. (I'm not really looking forward to that. I'm the type that prefers the hair dresser not talk to me while I'm getting my hair cut...and that doesn't take four hours.) I'm told that babies start to feel stress from dialysis at 32 weeks. But if there is any sign of stress before that they will have me deliver early. Most people think that I will have a C-section, but the doctors prefer I do it vaginally. That way I won't have to recover from one surgery before having the transplant. If the delivery goes anything like it did with Alli then I'd rather do it vaginally. It was a piece of cake. And Alli was nearly 8 pounds...this one won't be!
Stop the beeping!
Jason made a comment early on that once a nurse or tech gets his patients hooked up then their job is easy. Just waiting around for 3 1/2 or 4 hours till it's time to take them off. That's not really the case. Every machine has a ton of different alarms that go off all of the time. The BEEPING! There are ways to save off one of them. For example, when they hook me up they "reverse my lines." My catheter has a "push" line and a "pull" line (one that pulls the blood out of my body and one that pushes it back in). But they switch the lines to make the "push" into the "pull" and that helps the machine not beep as much.
The nurses also administer medicine pretty much the whole time. I get a drug called Epogen three times a week. I also get iron. Both of these are to treat anemia or lower than normal red blood counts. Anemia is common in people with kidney failure. I had a couple of blood transfusions when I was still in-patient to get my blood counts up, but since then they've looked good. If you are looking for some way to help, consider donating blood. I only used three units, and you won't be able to donate directly to me, but you'll help replenish what I used. You never think you'll need blood, but I don't know what would have happened to me if it wasn't there when I needed it.
Then there are the non-medical things that the nurses have to do. It's really cold on the dialysis floor, so they are constantly getting blankets for people. It's kind of funny to see they way some patients are wrapped up. I've learned to keep my computer running and sitting on my lap and it keeps me warm. Other patients are nuts for the ice they serve here. If you know the kind of ice they serve at Frisch's then you know the ice I'm talking about. So, the nurses are running to and from the freezer throughout the treatments.
The nurses are also constantly talking to patients and calming them down. If you've read this blog before you know how often "Martha" moans and groans. There are others who are not happy to be here and are pretty vocal about it. With "Martha" the best way to handle the situation is to ignore her, but others just need someone to talk to. The nurses never really have a chance to relax.