Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Vampire Shift

In what's known as 'The Vampire Shift' at my hospital, I dialyse late at night three times a week. Apart from the fact that vampires only come out at night (or so I've heard) the other reason that the shift is named after our sharp toothed friends is that in simple terms the function of a dialysis machine is to whip out my blood (slowly, mind) through a small tube in my chest (one of the bains of my life, the other being a certain Playstation 2 game) and put it through a fluid called dialysate which helps remove all the nasty stuff from my blood which my un-cooperative kidneys cannot do. It also helps get my electrolytes and minerals to their proper levels in my body. 

I weigh myself when I get to the hospital so my nurse (Dilsha - who never fails to tire me with her great stories) can program the dialysis machine and tell it how much fluid to take off me. This is usually fool proof, but occasionally I will be wearing a particularly heavy pair of jeans which can throw the whole system and leave me departing the hospital feeling very faint and weak...cue downing loads of water to replace lost fluids. 

I can usually while away the hours watching a good film, frustrating myself by playing a near impossible game on my Nintendo DS or chatting to a certain someone which definitely makes time go faster. Sleeping is usually out of the question due to the amount of dramas and noise going on around me but I try to drop off when I can. When the machine gets agitated or I lean on my line it plays a series of alarms to call a nurse over to sort it out (one weirdly sounds like the first few bars of Happy Birthday as my boyfriend likes to point out) and then when the three and half hours are up and I am feeling a great deal thinner it plays a little happy tune and I can be taken off the machine and allowed home. 

There are only two other people who dialysis at the same time as me. A wonderfully eccentric French lady who is very entertaining with her flamboyant singing and her huge crush on one of the male nurses, and a taxi driver who is much quieter and spends the whole session watching loud action films. Both are in their late 40s and sadly have been waiting for a kidney for a lot longer than I have.

I have been on coming to the hospital for these late night vampire sessions (as my boss now fondly calls them) for just over a year now. And before that I spent just under 3 years on a type of dialysis called Peritoneal Dialysis which I did at home, but that is as they say, a whole different story...

A picture of my view for 11 hours a week! 


Tinypoppet said...

hey missy, welcome to the world of blogging! I look forward to learning more...


scroub and daz said...

hope you get a transplant soon, my boyf had his in on november the 5th, and then june 1992 the one before that, so we know just how you feel! we have a blog all about the wait to having the transplant and the what goes on afterwards, keep happy and strong, one day it will be your turn x x