My day of dialysis

3 times per week I am having dialysis, on sunday, tuesday and thursday.
During the morning I arange my things for the dialysis session:
– What DVD do I want to watch during the dialysis?
– Is my mobile charged?
I open my company’s laptop to check my e-mail, contact my manager if necessary and make me a sandwich.
I check my laundry, do I have to run my laundry?

Around one o’clock in the afternoon I put my shoes on because around a quarter to two in the afternoon the taxi calls to take me to my dialysis center in Amsterdam Zuid Oost.
The taxi arrives,the driver rings my doorbell downstairs and I tell him I am coming. I put on my coat, pick up my bag, I close the door behind me and lock the door. I walk down the steps, through the door to the street where my taxi is waiting. Most often a fellow patient is also picked up by the taxi. The taxidriver takes us in about 20 minutes to the dialysis center.

I walk through the hall, gather my blanket and things and walk to the dialysis hall. In the hall are 24 dialysis machines and I walk to the machine that I am normally connected with. The tubing, the artificial kidney are already available for me to build up de dilaysis machine. Before I can be connected to the machine, the tubing has to be inserted, connected, and the artifial kidney has to be attached. This I have learned to do myself. When that is completed and the tubing is filled with water (during that time I have made up my chair and the blanket, I have arranged my mobile and my dvd) I get seated on the chair. The nurse, let me call him/her a dilaysis technician, comes to help me.
For more than a year now I have a shunt in my right arm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimino_shunt) and has been used for dialysis for a year now. The dialysis technician inserts two needles (these needles are quite wide) in my shunt (one to the machine, arterial, and one from the machine, venous), she/he checks the machine and controls the settings for my dialysis as mentioned on my dialysis sheet, checks my birthday (is this the right Henk van den Berg?). When all is done and I am connected she/he starts the pump for the dialysis machine to clean/purify my blood from all the stuff that cannot be broken down in my own kidnes anymore. The next few hours I am busy having dialysis. During that time I am watching my dvd, checking my mobile, reading my book or newspaper.

And then the time has come, I can be disconnected. At first the line to the machine is disconnected. Because there is still an amount of blood in the machine, this amount has to be given back to my system. When that is fulfilled the line from the machine (that gives the blood back) is disconnected. The nurse can take out both the needles making sure no blood is lost while removing each needle. To seal the holes over the needlewounds gauze is applied and I must press 10 minutes on the gauze on the wounds so that the wounds close again. It takes me about 10 minutes for the needleholes to close. Both the needleholes are covered with a plaster. Then I am ready to go home.

I fold up my blanket or put it in the bin for the laundry. In the entrance hall most often the taxi driver is already waiting for me, the nurse has arranged for the time for the taxi to come and take me home. I feel a bit tired but that goes away soon (during the taxi ride).