We started home dialysis training on Monday, and completed the fourth session this afternoon. We have the 3-day weekend off, and back to daily training on Monday.
During each treatment, 60-70 liters of blood are filtered. Because John's renal function has been poor for many months now, there is an extensive build-up of toxins in his blood. Once they are partially cleared from his blood, some of the toxins residing in organs moved into his blood, making him feel worse than before he started. This 'healing crisis' should subside by the end of next week.
Today was a bumpy run on dialysis with cramping and a sudden drop in blood pressure. These are both common occurrences during treatment, so we got some tips on how to handle those situations.
The training is at DaVita, with a fantastic dialysis nurse named Justina. She is a strong teacher and experienced nurse. And she doesn't stand for John not completing his homework. She has made us both feel confident that we can handle treatments at home. I have not fainted yet, and feel vaguely accustomed to the idea of removing blood, filtering it, and putting it back in.
While doing the HHD, John will still check in at the clinic for bloodwork and other monitoring. We have a 5-page printout of bloodwork results from this week. Potassium dropped low again, hoping to correct it without hospitalization.
In liver news: our appointment in Boston went well. John has two diseases that affect his liver: hemochromatosis and Hep C. His liver is moderately damaged from this diseases and all of the anti-rejection drugs for his kidney transplants. The doc feels that the damage can be reversed, and that John does NOT need a liver transplant. That is some good news.
The hemochromatosis is controlled by removing units of blood. This is almost under control, and as soon as he is stabilized on dialysis, we will begin treatment for HepC. He contracted HepC on dialysis in 1989 before there was a test for it. The hygiene standards have changed dramatically since then. The treatment is new, not yet FDA approved, and never been tried with a patient in renal failure. Yet, it is our best option--so we plan to move forward with it and wipe out the HepC so that a kidney transplant can be the focus. Overall, a good week.
Much love to you all--