The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Had A Bad Day

We had an "incident" on dialysis last night.  It's the first time anything like this has happened with our NxStage machine, but it can happen to anyone.

Apparently, there was a small tear or break in one of the lines on the cartridge for the machine.   I didn't notice it, but about an hour into treatment, I took note that I felt "weird".  Just off - I can't fully explain, but I felt more tired and off.... like I'd been punched by an angry man in a rubber room for an hour.  I looked over at the machine, and everything looked normal - but I noticed one of the readouts on the computer screen was really low.  The machine tracks the pressures in my venous, arterial and effluent (waste) lines.  My effluent line's pressure was really oddly low, and I told Jordan.  We scrambled to find the problem, and we noticed the tray underneath the machine was filled with fluid.... it had been leaking dialysate.  Jordan immediately took me off the machine, but I was feeling wonky..... and my arms and legs were cramping like you wouldn't believe.  I couldn't even operate my fingers on my right hand, they were just frozen in this rictus of pain.   When I stood, I got really dizzy and lightheaded.... AND I had to use the bathroom.

We found a small leak in the cartridge later, and called my doctor.  It turns out that the machine had taken off almost 5 kg in one hour.  Normally, I take of 1.6 kg an hour.  I lost over 10 pounds of water weight in an hour.  It'll do you in.  My doctor told me to rest, and if I felt any worse or crashed to go to the ER.  I had several glasses of water, and laid down to sleep.  Eventually, I fell asleep, and so did poor Jordan, who was more keyed up than I was.  She was worried about all that COULD have gone worse in the situation.

It was a hard reminder to us that dialysis is some serious shit.

We do it so often, and so effortlessly,  sometimes I forget that it's an involved medical procedure and it always has the potential to turn sour quickly.  The NxStage machine has as many safety features as you can get, but sometimes it'll still get away from you.  You have to be vigilant every time you use it.  Dialysis isn't some simple procedure you just do - like taking a pill or getting a shot.  It's deadly serious business.

So, hopefully today's treatment fares better.   I've got a trip to Florida to get ready for!



  1. Was it a leak in one of the "balance chambers", those little pouches in the middle of the cartridge that fill up with dialysate and effluent? We used to have trouble with them back in 2007-mid 08. I was hoping they fixed that.

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