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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thankful for hemodialysis

Hello, once again. Guess what? I now have a working AV fistula for my dialysis.

Last Friday, one end of the tube was attached to my AV fistula and the other to my IJ access. But on Monday, the two ends where now using the AV fistula. Yehey! In time, the left IJ catheter will be removed and my fear of having another catheter-related infection will be gone for good. Yes! And I look forward to the day when bathing will not be as difficult as it is when I have this IJ catheter on.

But wait! For two days a week  -- Monday and Thursday, I will have two big needles to contend with. Waaaah! Having needles sticking on your skin is quite painful especially that I am not using any anesthetic cream like EMLA. But I guess, that's really life. No pain. No gain. Sort of. Anyway, the pain everytime will be just at the time when the needle pierces the skin so I just have to bear it.

My AV fistula is on my dominant arm, the right arm. An attempt was made on the left side months ago but the blood vessels were just too small to make a fistula. Having the fistula on the right has its disadvantages. I can't lift heavy objects using my right hand and I can't turn on my right side when I sleep for fear of having my right arm bear my weight. During dialysis, I can't use the fingers of my right hand to text or navigate a touchscreen smartphone for four hours.

As I spend more days in the dialysis facility, I am now slowly getting new friends. "Classmates", that's what we call our "dialysismates". As dialysis patients, the dialysis nurses become our friends too. God bless them (dialysis nurses). They really now our part of the dialysis patients' lives. They have become part of my life too.

Dialysis nurses of Asia Renal Care 1 (photo courtesy of Frances Adrienne Quijada)

So now here is more or less my routine during dialysis:
  • Have my weigh in
  • Pray that the dialysis will go smoothly
  • Interact with dialysis nurses
  • Meet Mr. and Mrs. Needles
  • Short nap
  • Chat with classmates at times
  • Check my smartphone once in a while using my left hand.
  • Update the status of my Facebook account or upload an Instagram photo. (Count number of likes).
  • Watch a movie on the TV screen (cable TV)
  • Say goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Needles
  • Thank God for another shot at life
  • Go to weighing scale and observe the weight loss
  • Thank you to dialysis nurses
  • Go home excited to see my wife and pet dog

During dialysis, there may be uncomfortable moments. The 4 hours duration just staying on your chair. The needles. The fixed position of your "dialysis arm". If you just concentrate on these, then dialysis will indeed become unpleasant. But dialysis is also an opportunity to savor a new life as your blood is cleansed from toxins. It is also an opportunity to make new friends and to thank God for the blessing of life and love.

Thank God for hemodialysis.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why I should not envy others despite my sufferings

blogger while on Hemodialysis in Cebu
Me with my IJ access while hooked to the dialysis machine
Ever since I started my journey to a kidney transplant and having hemodialysis here in Cebu, there is no month that I have not suffered something -- it could either be an infection manifested by fever and chills and now frequent clotting of my IJ access which prompted multiple declogging of the catheter. I've gone through the pain of the different procedures, having stitches in both sides of my neck and both arms. Then there's my CMV result --- negative, which is uncommon.

The past few months, it was summer when people enjoy trips to various destinations showing their pictures on Facebook. While they do that, I was hooked to a dialysis machine. I miss going to the beach. I am sad that I cannot bring my wife anymore to new places that are nice to explore. I have skipped events I used to attend as a blogger. It really appears that all I experienced since my kidney failed are just sufferings because other dialysed patients seem to have no problems with their dialysis as they had gone smoothly.

And at one point I was envious of the good fortune of others. Minalas lang talaga yata ako.

I never lost faith in God although I started to request from Him a short break from the trials I am experiencing recently. Just a brief timeout because it has really been a difficult journey.

But I read this blog post of Valen Keefer, a PKD patient like me, and it made me realize that I have no reason to envy others. I have no reason to complain because all the while as I suffer, I have been provided the opportunity to enjoy something special which is far greater than going to Boracay or Hongkong, or owning the latest gadget.

I look around me. I have a wife who has never left my side who cares for me. I have former students asking me how I am. I have people Cebuanos and non-Cebuanos whom I don't know supporting me through the transplant fund. I have batchmates who expressed their all out support sharing their blessings and giving me medicines. I have teachers, former classmates and a family who check up on me and lend their support even if they are oceans away. I have dialysis nurses who genuinely care for me like any other dialysis patient. I have surgeons who never get tired helping me asking nothing in return. I have colleagues who share their expertise selflessly in managing my case. I have facebook friends who are also real friends who are there to lift my spirits when I'm down with their every comment, like, advice and messages. I have blogger friends who are very supportive. Even my dog Bacter and adopted dog Mushu cheer me up with their presence.
My number 1 cheerleaders, Bacter and my wife
Everyday, I am given the opportunity to experience love and I can really feel the LOVE. What more can you ask for?

Valen is right. Like her, I too am rich in love.

Thanks Valen for making me realize that.


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