Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nothing like a slap of reality to keep you on your toes....

Friday night I spent a pleasant dinner with my sister, dad and my Aunt Susan who came to visit us for the week from Boise, Idaho. When I got home in the evening it was pretty late and I went to hook up to the cycler (dialysis machine) for the evening. When I walked into the room, my husband had set up the machine for me and it was all ready to go. Right as I was about to start the hook up process (this includes proper hand washing procedures, putting on a mask, using hand sanitizer, etc) I noticed that one of my cats was sitting by the drain cord coming from the machine. Issue number one... the cats can NOT be in the room when I am doing dialysis due to the risk of infection if they decided to bite a cord. I stood there staring at the cat because I just had this odd feeling. Right then Jeremy came into the room to throw the cat out and I decided to check the cord that had been near the cat... sure enough, he had bit the cord. We removed the cat from the room (after I gave him a big talking to... yes, the cat) and my loving husband had to throw out the two bags of fluid and all the cords and set the machine up all over again (the set up process takes about 20 minutes).

I must admit I thanked God for the angels watching out for me... that was really a scary moment because I knew how serious it would have been if I had NOT seen the cat before I started the machine or if I had not checked the cord. For those that might not be aware, dialysis is a very tricky process and there is a high risk of infection. Dialysis patients can die from the infections if they aren't caught in time and/or it can cause scarring on the inside and the patient has to switch to doing hemodialysis (there are a lot of reasons why having to switch to hemo would be bad).
Once the machine was set up, I hooked up and went through the initial drain process (this is where the machine drains all fluid that is inside). After the drain, the first fill is supposed to start, but insteads an alarm went off on the machine that said "check heater line". The next 30 minutes were spent trying to figure out what on earth was wrong with the heater line. Jeremy checked every inch of cord on the machine and we couldn't find any problems. So finally I realized I had to call Baxter, which is the company that manufactures the machine. Lucky for us they have 24 hour staff to answer and troubleshoot any problems. The gentleman on the phone was very friendly and walked me through the process of checking the cords and trying several different things. Finally he determined that we needed to.. start all over... again. So for the third time that night, my sweet, loving husband set up the machine for me. It wasn't until midnight that I was finally able to crawl into bed and sleep.

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