Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dialysis At Home

Sorry for the delay in writing a new blog post. (And apologies for this one being so long.)

Don and I have been a little busy, to say the least. We started home dialysis training on Feb. 2 at the Fresenius East center in Tucson. Training included his dialysis session as well as our training on the use of the NxStage system. Each session was 5-6 hours (3+ of actual dialysis), 4 days each week. It was almost like working a real job again! But the center was only 4 miles away from our site at Davis-Monthan AFB FamCamp, and only 10-15 minutes even if traffic was heavy. So our commute time was minimal.

We had an excellent team of trainers with Lucy (RN) and Erika (Tech) doing our training, with Sue (RN) as backup. They patiently taught us how to use the dialysis equipment (both Don and me), how to cannulate (me sticking needles in Don’s fistula in his arm), how to remove needles (me) and end treatment (both), and how to prepare dialysate for the next session (both), as well as how to use bags of prepared dialysate to use when we start traveling again. We learned so much and have helped each other to remember all the details.

On Feb. 29 we had our last training session, which ended early afternoon. We returned to D-M to pack up our motorhome, hitch up the truck, and depart for Benson. Don was really looking forward to driving the motorhome again, as he hasn’t had many opportunities lately. To avoid any distractions from Gigi, I took her with me in our car Carrie. We made the trip without incident, even through the I-10 construction which has caused long delays on some of our other trips.


Speaking of other trips, the days in between the 4 days/week for training during Feb. were filled with doctor appointments, outpatient surgery to revise Don’s fistula when the venous connection failed, going to Benson to clear out our shed/casita and make room for the dialysis equipment, and occasionally meeting friends for lunch or dinner. It was a very busy time!

Now that we are back in Benson, we are doing home dialysis. The equipment and special chair provided by Fresenius fit well into our little shed/casita, now that we got rid of our sofa bed and several other items. (Notice I still have my comfy leather Euro chair, though.)


We bought a second storage box for some of the items we cleared out of the bookcase and cupboard to make room for dialysis supplies.


Here are some of the supplies we use.


Don requested one of the chairs with heat and massage, and his wish was granted.


The bottom shelf and very top of the bookcase are still used for other stuff, but the main shelves are for supplies.


Today was our first day to perform the entire procedure without observation by one of our trainers. Things went pretty well, and Don and I feel our teamwork will carry us through.

Meanwhile, during the past several weeks we’ve enjoyed visits and companionship from friends who came to Tucson. Karen Faulkner and hubby Roger Smith both love Gigi, and I think the feeling is mutual.



But Gigi still gives Mom and Dad equal lap time.


We had a brief visit from Madeline and Jerry Stephens.


Gigi loved them, too.


Gloria and Frank King joined us at the FamCamp and Gigi was enamored by the extra attention, especially from Gloria.


Sophie decided my lap needed to be occupied when there was no room in her own Mom’s.


We enjoyed a Valentine’s Day party for residents of the FamCamp, held on Feb. 11.


It was Karen’s birthday, and we were happy to share it with her.


A few days later (the 19th I think) we shared Roger’s birthday. His birthday candles kept re-igniting, but he finally managed to blow them all out.


Now that we’re back in Benson, we’re happy to welcome Gloria and Frank to the neighborhood. They recently bought a lot in the Snowbird Hill area of Cochise Terrace, not far from our Roadrunner Ridge area. They are planning to add a shed/casita to their lot, and are already enjoying great views off to the northeast over desert washes and through the valley to the mountains beyond.


Mary and Gary Olson came to visit and took us to lunch. We had missed seeing them in both Quartzsite and Tucson, so it was nice of them to make a day trip to see us.


Sunsets were gorgeous in Tucson, but we look forward to seeing great ones from our place in Benson now.