Monday, October 18, 2010

Air Rescue

Looking around the A&E, I contemplated whether I was the only female in there as a direct result of an abusive relationship.

A Saturday evening. Women everywhere united in an insane need to watch that awful, awful show, the X Factor, and women in this waiting room united by their suffering at the hands of the man in their life.

My man, of course, is Brendan.

The pain that began as soon as I started dialysis on Friday night became increasingly unbearable until the decision had to be made to wreck the weekend with a visit to the grimmest outpost of the Irish health service.

One of the perks of arriving at an Emergency Department already in the throes of a chronic illness is that you are fast-tracked through the trolley system – no hospital wants you to die on their watch.

There was speculation first that the tube had shifted inside me, that it may have somehow hooked itself on to my omentum (the internal layer of tissue that covers the peritoneum).

The agony was being felt in my shoulder - one of the hilarious little quirks of the body. Anybody on APD will know that the first few rounds of dialysis grant you a jolt of pain in the shoulder area when the machine is draining your tummy of fluid.

This was much more than a quick jolt. It felt more like a heart attack, but at that moment, a heart attack actually seemed preferable to the idea of having surgery to return to the tube to its correct position in my pelvis.

Those doctors can be such Daily Mail-like scare mongers however. X-rays revealed that my tube was behaving itself perfectly well, that it had not strayed or gotten involved with any tissue. Their diagnosis was thus downgraded from a Code Red and they told me the pain was being caused by...air.

Fucking air????

Apparently if any air bubbles leak into your peritoneum cavity through the tube, they lie there, ‘tickling’ the diaphragm and causing unmerciful pain to shoot through your shoulders.

Brendan did this to me on purpose. As I mentioned some weeks ago, I have started using extension lines to keep him as far away from me as possible. Those other abused women may banish their man to the couch, but I only moved Brendan to the hallway, and still he had to punish me.

He is now back in my room. Extension lines abandoned, sleeping again side by side.

I swear he is louder than ever now. Or perhaps that is just his form of an evil cackle, mocking me.


  1. And you just keep going back to him.

  2. Holemaster - What can I say? He provides my elixir for living. I'm snookered.

  3. That so happened to me when I was on manual CAPD before I got my cycler two weeks ago. I neglected to run out enough fluid to clear the lines of air and ended up with great pain in the shoulders for two days. I didn't end up in emerg because I had been warned that could happen and I was too embarrassed to call the PD nurse on call. I road it out with Tylenol and great gritting of teeth and curses at myself.
    I hate the sound the cyclers make at night. Although it is only a little over two weeks I have not had a good nights sleep with the gurgling and the pumping and the hissing. I explain to my friends it is like sleeping in the same room with Darth Vader.

    J Harper
    Regina, SK

  4. J Harper - How weird that you live in a place called Regina and my name is Regina. I'd like to be able to tell you that you'll get used to the noise, but 16 months in, I still can't sleep with it. That said, there are ear plugs and iPods. And the hope of transplant. That pain was horrendous. I wish someone had warned me it can happen. Will know for next time. Keep in touch

  5. Hi
    Regina the city is a hard g, long i so I suspect the pronunciation is different.
    I have followed your blog since your article in the Irish Times, I had been living with CKD for some time and was just about to embark on the dialysis journey (and what a strange 6 months it has been).
    Today was a busy kidney day. First at 8:15 to the Kidney Health Centre for Adequacy Testing and to get the transfer set changed. As you know there is no better way to start the day than lugging in a bag with 12 litres of effluent and the 24 hr urine container. Then on to the lab to have blood drawn (only a 40 minute wait), then over to my GPs office because the lab told me he isn't practicing anymore as is dead or retired or something. I went in to see who had my records and who was in charge of me now. Apparently my doc is alive, is practicing, is seeing patients today, and do I need to get in? Having cleared up my doctor, a quick bite to eat (fasting for the tests before) then off to the Pasqua Hospital (the one I don't have a parking pass for) to get an IV infusion of iron. Then into to work to ensure that they haven't forgotten me and there is still work once I have the dialysis thing working properly. Then home to clean up the boxes area as Baxter is coming sometime tomorrow. Later I may talk to some friends who know NOT to say, It must be nice to be on temporary disability and to have nothing to do! How do your days go?

    J Harper
    Regina, Sk, Can

  6. J Harper - You're at the worst point now, just after starting on the machine. I remember those days. You get so sick of them poking and prodding at you and asking you questions that made you blush initially, before you lost all sense of modesty and let go of the dignity you once attached to your bodily functions.
    I rarely think about dialysis at this stage. I come off the machine in the morning and it doesn't cross my mind again until I start moaning about having to 'set up' in the evening. I work as much as the combined whammy of the global recession and chronic illness allows. I only see my consultant about every three months. I basically try not to think about it much in between. Denial is a wonderful haven! I get depressed when I think that christmas will be upon us again in no time and despite wishing on a star and having prayers said for me and candles lit for me, I will see another new year in while being kept alive by a machine. Oh, and I hate, hate, hate those stupid boxes!
    PS I'm sure there's a way to enable email messages on a blog, so that we wouldn't have to bore other readers with our correspondence. Must check that out!